Even in the darkest of times, she never gave up hope
Staffordshire, 1911. Ginnie Jones’s childhood is spent in the shadow of the famous Potteries, living with her mother, father and older sister Mabel. But with Father’s eyesight failing, money is in short supply, and too often the family find their bellies aching with hunger. With no hope in sight, Ginnie is sent to Haddon Workhouse.
Separated from everything she has known, Ginnie has to grow up fast, earning her keep by looking after the other children with no families of their own. When she meets Clara and Sam, she hopes that she has made friends for life… until tragedy strikes, snatching away her newfound happiness.
Leaving Haddon three years later, Ginnie finds work as a mouldrunner at the Potteries, but never stops thinking about her friends in the workhouse – especially Sam, now a caring, handsome young man. When Sam and Ginnie are reunited, their bond is as strong as ever – until Sam is sent to fight in WW1.Faced with uncertainty, can Ginnie find the joy that she’s never had? Or will her heart be broken once again?
An emotional, uplifting and nostalgic family saga that will make you smile, while tugging on your heart-strings. Fans of Sheila Newbury, Kitty Neale and Sheila Riley will love this beautiful read.
The Girl From The Workhouse is available in ebook now for £1.99. You can purchase your copy using the link below.
The Girl From The Workhouse is an emotional, captivating read which is perfect for anyone who loves a good saga!
Firstly I have always been fascinated by books set in the Workhouse as the idea is so very different to how things are now, so the blurb instantly appealed to me. I enjoyed learning about Ginny’s time in the Workhouse which was very emotional to read about at times. The friendships that she makes there were wonderful to read about and I loved how her friends became like her family.
Ginny is a fantastic main character who I absolutely fell in love with. Her amazing strength and determination to make the best of things made me quickly warm to her. Her friendship with Sam was incredibly heartwarming and helped ensure the story wasn’t too sad.
The author has obviously done a lot research into the period and I enjoyed learning more about an often overlooked period of life before the first world war. I found it especially interesting to see how the war effected everyone left at home as I don’t remember reading many books about this before.
Overall I thought this was a fantastic read that quickly drew me into the story and kept my interest throughout with its fabulous plot. This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I’d definitely like to read more from her in the future.
Huge thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Hera Books for my copy of this book via Netgalley.
About The Author:
Lynn Johnson was born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent. She went to school in Burslem, the setting for her first novel and left with no qualifications. Like Ginnie she had ambitions and, in her own time, obtained a BA Hons and a Diploma in Management Studies. She began to research her family tree and it inspired her to write short stories, one of which became the basis for her first novel.
Although Lynn still has a close affinity to The Potteries, she now lives in Orkney with her husband and six beautiful cats.
A wonderfully original, emotionally complex novel that delves into why Cassandra burned a treasure trove of letters written by her sister, Jane Austen – an act of destruction that has troubled academics for centuries.
1840: twenty three years after the death of her famous sister Jane, Cassandra Austen returns to the village of Kintbury, and the home of her family’s friends, the Fowles.
She knows that, in some dusty corner of the sprawling vicarage, there is a cache of family letters which hold secrets she is desperate should not be revealed.
As Cassandra recalls her youth and her relationship with her brilliant yet complex sister, she pieces together buried truths about Jane’s history, and her own. And she faces a stark choice: should she act to protect Jane’s reputation? Or leave the contents of the letters to go unguarded into posterity …
Based on a literary mystery that has long puzzled biographers and academics, Miss Austen is a wonderfully original and emotionally complex novel about the loves and lives of Cassandra and Jane Austen.
Miss Austen is available in ebook and hardback now. You can purchase your copy using the link below.
I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen’s books but didn’t know much about her life so I found it utterly fascinating to discover more about her. This book is actually based on a real life mystery which I found very interesting especially as the author suggests a possible solution in this book.
Firstly I absolutely adored Cassandra who was such a character and often made me laugh with her antics. I loved the way she played on being old when it suited her but was actually very switched on which was a huge advantage when it comes to her investigations. It was so lovely to read about her obvious love for her sister, Jane and to read about some of their memories together.
The author brilliantly brings the 19th century to life with the author cleverly including some of the attitudes towards woman and older people into the story. I was quite shocked to read about how they were treated and found myself very glad that things were different now. The letters that we get to read alongside Cassandra further brought Jane Austen’s world to life and I so enjoyed reading about what daily life was like for these woman.
Overall I thought this was a very absorbing, fascinating book which I flew through in a couple of days as I was so enjoying it. If you are a fan of Jane Austen’s then you’ll love this book.
Huge thanks to Random House, Century for my copy of this book via Netgalley.
About The Author:
Gill Hornby is the author of the novels The Hive and All Together Now, as well as The Story of Jane Austen, a biography of Austen for young readers. She lives in Kintbury, Berkshire, with her husband and their four children.
It’s a photograph of two little girls, the camera catching the cold whiteness of their legs, the pretty lines of their dresses, the smooth surface of the lake. I know at once it’s my mother and Aunty Barbara, I’ve always known it somehow. But I also know that the camera doesn’t tell the whole story. It can’t.
London, 1943. German bombs rain down on London, but Elaine Parker knows her job transcribing letters from far-away prisoners of war is more important than her own safety. But at home, Elaine’s life isn’t so simple – as the main breadwinner for her struggling family, she doesn’t have much time to consider her own future hopes and dreams.
And then Elaine meets dark-haired and passionate Bobby – a wartime photographer on the dangerous front line – and her world shifts. Will Elaine be forced to choose between her family and her growing passion for Bobby? And how do you let yourself love someone with your whole heart when each moment could be their last?
Present day. Even the kiss of warm sunshine and the musical call of birds at her family’s countryside villa can’t make Jen forget the heartbreak she’s left behind. That is, until her she begins to investigate the origins of a tattered family photograph: two sweet little girls gazing out across a sparkling bay, their eyes clear and hopeful – looking for all the world as if England hadn’t just suffered the most terrible war imaginable. What is the story behind the picture, and could it finally be the key to mending the cracks in Jen’s own past?
A heartbreaking World War Two novel – emotional and unforgettable. Perfect for fans of Orphan Train, Sold on a Monday and Before We Were Yours.
The Forgotten Girls is available in ebook and paperback now. The ebook is currently only 99p. You can purchase your copy using the link below.
Ooh i do love dual timeline books set in WW2, especially if they are written by this author as you always know you’re in for a great read.
The two main characters Elaine and Jen are both strong woman who are instantly likeable and I was instantly on their side. I always enjoy it when a real historical person is bought to life, especially when I haven’t heard of them before, so I found it fascinating to learn more about Elaine and the photographer Robert Hale. They aren’t particularly well known characters which gives the author the freedom to weave facts with fiction to create a great insight into their lives and the events that continued to haunt them for years to come
The author’s vivid descriptions helps brings war time London to life and I really felt transported back to that time. I hadn’t heard of Elaine’s job before so I found it particularly fascinating to learn more about that. Some of the attitudes of the time made my blood boil and I found it hard to read about some of the decisions Elaine was forced to make. It really highlighted the sacrifices woman had to make during the war.
This was a bit of a slow burner for me but I didn’t mind as I was so absorbed in the story and the characters lives. I loved following them both and enjoyed watching the two storylines come together in a very clever way. I can’t wait to read more from this talented author.
Huge thanks to Bookouture for my copy of this book via Netgalley. A must read for fans of dual timeline historical fiction!
About The Author:
Lizzie loves reading ALL the books and has always loved reading the adventures of women in the past so it seemed natural to her to write historical fiction.
She lives with her family by the sea in South East England. And with her dog. She enjoys traveling and lived in Japan for several years. Lizzie has had lots of different jobs from waitressing and teaching to admin and bingo-calling – but being a writer is her absolute favourite.
She’d love to hear what you think of her books – feel free to send her a message on twitter @LizziePagewrite or on FB or leave a review on amazon.
Deirdre Cossette is the self appointed carer for the elderly on The Avenue and all of her friends have stories to tell. Margery, whose comfortable life was destroyed by a knock on the door. Stan, who made a mistake as a young footballer which cost him his friends and his self-respect. Marina, whose slim and stylish figure hides a terrible secret from the summer of Live Aid. And, Oliver and Archie, who have survived everything from post war homophobia to a family tragedy – and they have done it together. Deirdre believes that everyone should have a choice. If they want to live on a diet of cakes, drink the alcoholic equivalent of a small hydrotherapy pool, or take on a toy boy lover in spite of a dodgy heart, Deirdre believes it is their right to do so. If they remember her in their wills afterwards, that’s not her fault, is it? However, not everyone agrees with her. When disgruntled relatives from the present meet up with disgruntled ghosts from her past, Deirdre discovers the cost of being kind.
Killing Them With Kindness is available in ebook and paperback now. You can purchase your copy using the link below.
Thank you so much for asking me to join you on your blog to talk about my latest novel Killing Them With Kindness. It is the story of a woman called Deirdre Cossette who believes that everyone has the right to live, and die, in the manner of their own choosing. She has several friends who she ‘helps’. At this point in the novel one of those friends, Marina, has become distressed after Deirdre and herself walk into the aftermath of an accident as they are walking down The Avenue. After she has helped her inside, Deirdre encourages her to tell her story.
A young man stood on the door step. He was a couple of years older than Frankie, maybe sixteen or seventeen. He had a good-looking face, but it looked stretched and unattractive at this moment in time. Pinched and pale as it was. He looked scared to death. Unable to look Marina in the face, he launched into an indecipherable stream of words. By the time he had finished, she’d only gleaned two pieces of information that she fully understood. His name was Clive, and he was responsible for Frankie’s death. For a moment Marina was confused, Frankie had been killed when he lost control of his bicycle while travelling too fast down a steep hill. He had hit a wall at the road end, head first. For one bizarre moment Marina thought Clive must have been the man who built the wall, and yet he looked far too young to be a brickie. Perhaps encouraged by the calm, serene self that Marina was portraying – Clive began again. It had been nearing the end of the school year, his first in sixth form, and all the exams were finished. He and his friends had too much time on their hands and were challenging each other to do stupid things. His mate Billy had been dared to go into the chemist and ask for a packet of condoms. He then had to open them and declare loudly that they were too large – it was an outrage they didn’t stock jonnies in super-skinny size for small-dicked losers like himself. Another friend, Dave, had been challenged to go into the ladies’ department in Debenhams, take a set of bra and panties from the counter, go to the changing rooms, and try them on. He then had to reappear, wearing only the ladies’ lingerie which was far too skimpy to hide all his embarrassment, and ask his friends if his bum looked big. Clive’s dare had been to visit three different phone boxes in ten minutes. On each occasion he had to ring the emergency services, and with his friends sniggering in the back ground, he was challenged to use a different voice to describe a different accident, and complete the task without laughing. This had occurred on Monday 15 July. When he had finished talking, he stood on the doorstep and seemed to be waiting for Marina to scream at him, swear at him, slap him. She did none of those things. She invited him into the house for a glass of orange squash. Once she’d poured him the drink and he’d sat at the breakfast bar sipping it, just like Frankie used to do, he continued his story. Dave, Billy and he had been invited into the headmaster’s office the day afterwards and there had been a stern looking policeman with him. Clive had no idea how they’d been identified as the culprits, but when the head had challenged them about their behaviour of the day before, none of them even tried to deny it. The policeman had lectured them all about the stupidity of wasting the time of the emergency services. He told them it was a criminal offence, and that they may well face charges against them. He told them that a boy had died because the ambulances had been busy chasing their fake emergencies, which meant they’d arrived too late on the scene of a genuine tragedy. Five minutes could have made all the difference. Clive felt as if a hoover had been turned on and pushed into his mouth, sucking out the entire contents of his body. He felt empty and sick – and so bloody guilty. For the last few weeks, he had barely left the house. He couldn’t bear to be with his friends, who had seemed to take the whole situation too casually for Clive’s guilty brain to handle. Basically, their only worry was the fact they might face criminal charges. Yesterday, the stern policeman had visited again and told him, on this occasion, they’d decided not to take the matter any further. It would be noted on record and if he stepped out of line again, no matter how small and inconsequential the crime, he would know about it. His card had definitely been marked. After his parents had added their own threats and disappointment, they’d left him alone. He should have felt relieved that he hadn’t screwed up his whole future, and the horrible episode was over. But he didn’t. He felt guiltier than ever. He had known the lad who had died. He hadn’t been friends with him, he was in a different year group and their paths had never crossed socially. However, he had seen him playing tennis matches for the school and knew all too well the talent he had been responsible for snuffing out. He had asked around, found out Frankie’s home address, and decided that if nothing else he needed to visit the family and apologise. Marina hadn’t really commented. She hadn’t raged and she hadn’t forgiven. She simply changed the subject and they started talking about different topics entirely. They talked about his studies, the family trip to Cornwall, his interests and dreams for the future. Before he left, Marina said that his visit had made her feel better than at any time since Frankie had died. Would he visit her again, please? Clive had been so relieved, he nearly cried. He should have been all cried out after the last few weeks, but to see this lady behaving with such poise and style at a time when her world had crumbled in front of her made the tears well up once again. He accepted without thinking, and they arranged for him to come to dinner the following Wednesday. As she closed the door on his good-looking, relieved face, Marina knew exactly what she’d just set in motion. She intended to murder him.
About The Author:
Andy Paulcroft grew up in Weston-super-Mare, and his love of books started when he borrowed his sister’s copy of Five Run Away Together and exaggerated a minor illness in order to finish reading it. He has since worked as a chef in France, Switzerland, Corsica and the North Highlands of Scotland before settling as a catering manager at a boarding school in Dorset. After many years of writing two to three chapters of a book before discarding it, he finally published his first novel Postcards From Another Life – in December 2017. The wonderful feeling of completing a novel was only surpassed by receiving a positive reaction from people who had read it. He retired from catering and recently published his second novel Killing Them With Kindness. He is now working on his third book.
When Alice Hale leaves a career to become a writer and follows her husband to the New York suburbs, she is unaccustomed to filling her days alone in a big, empty house. But when she finds a vintage cookbook buried in the basement, she becomes captivated by its previous owner: 1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way through the past, she realizes that within the pages Nellie left clues about her life.
Soon Alice learns that while a Baked Alaska may seem harmless, Nellie’s secrets may have been anything but. When Alice uncovers a more sinister, even dangerous, side to Nellie’s marriage, and has become increasingly dissatisfied with her own relationship, she begins to take control of her life and protect herself with a few secrets of her own.
Recipe For A Perfect Wife is available in ebook and paperback now. You can purchase your copy using the link below.
I absolutely loved this fun, captivating read which was surprisingly thought provoking.
The story is told from the point of view of Alice in 2008 and Nellie in 1955. I warmed to each woman immediately and loved getting to know them better. Both woman are strong and very resilient, especially Nellie who also have societal norms to fight against. Her story is particularly emotional and I often wished I could jump into the story and help her out. The house seemed to be almost alive at times and reacting to everything that’s happening or being discovered. It seemed to become less creepy as the story developed and Alice starts unraveling Nellie’s past which I found very interesting.
Although the woman are fifty years apart both have surprisingly a lot in common as they attempt to fight against what society expects of them. I found this very interesting, especially as I came to realise that not much has really changed in that regard. The start of each chapter features a quote from old fashioned books about house work and how to be a wife which were amusing to read but also quite unbelievable that people used to actually think that way. There are also some recipes included, though I’m not sure I’ll be trying them anytime soon as some of the ingredients were interesting to say the least.
This story piqued my attention from the start, with the fabulous two main woman and the clever plot ensuring that this book was hard to put down. I found myself often trying to hide away from the kids or bribing them with something so I could read a tiny bit more. I was very sad to finish the book and leave Nellie and Alice behind.
Huge thanks to Lucy Chamberlain from Legend Press for inviting me onto the blog tour and for my copy of this book via Netgalley. I’m definitely going to be recommending this book to everyone!
About The Author:
Karma is the bestselling author of four novels and is a National Magazine Award winning journalist. Karma lives just outside Toronto, Canada with her husband, daughter, and a labradoodle named Fred. @KarmaKBrown
The tenth book in the Sunday Times-bestselling Inspector McLean series, from one of Scotland’s most celebrated crime writers
When a member of the Police Scotland team fails to clock-in for work, concern for her whereabouts is immediate… and the discovery of her burnt-out car in remote woodland to the south of Edinburgh sets off a desperate search for the missing woman.
Meanwhile, DCI Tony McLean and the team are preparing for a major anti-corruption operation – one which may raise the ire of more than a few powerful people in the city. Is Anya Renfrew’s disappearance a co-incidence or related to the case?
McLean’s investigations suggest that perhaps that Anya isn’t the first woman to have mysteriously vanished in these ancient hills. Once again, McLean can’t shake the feeling that there is a far greater evil at work here…
Bury Them Deep is available in ebook and hardback now. You can purchase your copy using the link below.
I’m a huge fan of this author, and this series, so I was incredibly excited to be sent an early copy of this book. Once again the author has written an intriguing, gripping and unique book which I really enjoyed.
It was fantastic to be back with the newly promoted DCI McLean and his team who I always love following on their investigations. McLean has to be one of my favourite fictional detectives as he seems so down to earth and a bit of a rebel as he continually breaks the rules. His team follow what I call old fashioned policing as they don’t just reply on forensics which is a nice change from other crime books. The author makes the investigation seem more real as he leaves in all the dead ends the team encounter and their frustrations with these.
As with most of this series the case involves a touch of the supernatural which gives the story a deliciously creepy, unpredictable feel. I wasn’t at all sure which way the story was going to go at times and this helped add to the tension in the book as well as my overall enjoyment. This part of the story is based on a Scottish Folk Take but if recommend not looking it up as you might figure out what’s going on!
This book drew me in from the start and the intriguing storyline kept my interest until the end. There are a few lines of investigation running alongside each other and I found it very interesting to see them all develop- some to dead ends. The ending was the fantastic, explosive kind that I’ve grown used to in this series and I found myself very satisfied with how everything finished.
Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Jenni Leech for my copy of this book.
About The Author:
James Oswald is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Inspector McLean series of detective mysteries, as well as the new DC Constance Fairchild series. James’s first two books, NATURAL CAUSES and THE BOOK OF SOULS, were both short-listed for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award. BURY THEM DEEP is the tenth book in the Inspector Mclean Series.
James farms Highland cows and Romney sheep by day, writes disturbing fiction by night.
A gripping, twisty murder mystery thriller from the No.1 bestselling author of The Hunting Party.
‘Lucy Foley is really very clever’ Anthony Horowitz ‘Thrilling’ The Times ‘A classic whodunnit’ Kate Mosse ‘Sharp and atmospheric and addictive’ Louise Candlish ‘A furiously twisty thriller’ Clare Mackintosh ‘Secrets and lies at every turn’ Sarah Pinborough
On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.
Old friends. Past grudges.
Happy families. Hidden jealousies.
Thirteen guests. One body.
The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.
All have a secret. All have a motive. One guest won’t leave this wedding alive . . .
The Guest List is available in ebook and hardback now. You can purchase your copy using the link below.
I absolutely loved this engrossing murder mystery which was an incredibly gripping and thoroughly enjoyable read. I was such a huge fan of this author’s first book so approached this one with a little bit of trepidation as it couldn’t possibly be as good,could it? Turns out yes it could!
Firstly I loved the wonderful descriptions of the beautiful rugged island where the wedding was held. It sounded like such a beautiful place that I found myself googling it to see if it was a real place and spent ages starting at the beautiful pictures I found. The island isolation also helps create some of the atmosphere and tension in the book as the guests are trapped with each other on the island when the storm hits. Initially this doesn’t seem to be a problem as everyone seems civil towards each other but as the story goes on more is revealed about past relationships and connections which make things very interesting indeed.
The characters were all wonderful creations and I loved how the author had managed to create so many different ones, giving them all their own voice and background. Not all of them were very likeable and some I loved to hate, hoping that they’d be the ones that came to a sticky end. My favourite was definitely Hannah as I felt she seemed the most normal and kind amongst the group, which was echoed in some of the characters thoughts. She seemed like a very warm person and someone I might actually be friends with.
The author’s writing style just drew me into the story, with the alternative points of view and short chapters keeping me thoroughly absorbed in the story. This seemed a bit more of a confident, mature book from the author which was lovely to see. The tension slowly builds as we learn more about the characters and what happened on the wedding day until I found myself unable to put the book down. I stayed up way too late trying to finish the book, much to my husband’s dismay as he’s used to having the sitting room to himself for a few hours! The ending was very surprising and clever, not at all how I expected it to end.
Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Jen Harlow for my copy of this book.
About The Author:
Lucy Foley is the No.1 Sunday Times and Irish Times bestselling author of The Hunting Party and three other novels. A trip to Connemara, from where half of Lucy’s family hail, on the west coast of Ireland sparked the idea for her latest book. Struck by the wild, rugged beauty of the islands off its shores – the perfect setting for a wedding, yet dangerously cut-off – Lucy began to plot a new murder mystery. An island with no escape, old friends and family reuniting, emotions running high. What could possibly go wrong? And so The Guest List came to life.
Previously a fiction editor in the publishing industry, Lucy now writes full time. Her novels have been translated into nineteen languages and her journalism has appeared in publications such as Sunday Times Style, Grazia, ES Magazine, Vogue US, Elle, Tatler and Marie Claire.
Callie, a lonely small-town waitress, is still reeling from the discovery that she’s adopted when she arrives in Montevino, Italy in search of answers – the keys to the stunning hillside villa she has just inherited clutched tightly in her hand. Inside the rusted gates, and through a large wooden front door dripping with sun-kissed flowers, Callie can’t decide if she’s more astonished by her new home or her first encounter with the mysterious young groundskeeper, Tommaso.
Wandering the villa barefoot at night, Callie finds a diary belonging to a woman named Elisa, wrapped in faded blue ribbon and hidden in her birthmother’s antique wardrobe. Page by page, Callie is swept away by its story of love, passion, heartbreak and betrayal as she reads how Elisa married her childhood sweetheart in secret before fleeing to the woods to join the resistance. They vowed to find each other again when the war was over, but history had other plans.
Callie is certain that her and Elisa’s lives are somehow connected, and that the truth about her family is hidden somewhere within the diary’s crinkled yellow pages. It gives her the courage to start asking questions around the close-knit village until, at long last, she feels her closed-off heart begin to open. Perhaps even enough to let someone in…
But when a devastating betrayal in the final pages of the diary unlocks a heart-breaking secret about who Callie’s mother really is, the chance for a new life shatters in front of her. Can she persuade the locals to forgive her past and accept the truth about her identity?
This unforgettable story of love, loss and secrets by the author of million-copy Amazon No 1. bestseller, Watch Over Me, is perfect for anyone who loves Fiona Valpy, Lily Graham, or The Letter by Kathryn Hughes.
The Italian Villa is available in ebook and paperback now. The ebook is currently only £1.99. You can purchase your copy using the link below.
I’m a huge fan of this authors Seal Island books so I was very intrigued to read her first standalone historical fiction book too. I pleased to say that I absolutely loved this book and thought it was a brilliant read full of atmosphere and mystery.
Firstly the setting of this novel is incredibly vivid with the descriptions of the mountain town allowing me to feel like I was actually there too. I felt completely drawn into the story with all lovely feeling of community that the author has captured and all the little rituals of the town which made me feel further included in their lives.
The two main characters are wonderful creations and I loved following them throughout the book. I found I liked both timelines equally, which meant I flew through the book as I wanted to find out what was happening next. There is lots of intrigue and secrets being revealed which I wasn’t expecting and kept me fully absorbed in the story. It’s definitely an emotional story and the village’s haunting history was a bit of shock when you contrasted with the wonderful community spirit that is there in the present day. I felt incredibly sad to leave the village and the characters behind at the end which is always a sign of an amazing read.
Huge thanks to Kim Nash for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Bookouture for my copy of this book via Netgalley.
About The Author:
Daniela Sacerdoti is a phenomenon. Over one million copies of her novels have been sold in eBook, her debut novel Watch Over Me was the eighth bestselling Kindle book of all time in 2015 and she was also ranked as the eleventh top-selling Kindle author.
Daniela writes beautiful, haunting and bestselling fiction for adults (the Glen Avich series), young adults (the Sarah Midnight trilogy) and children. Her novels have been translated in twelve languages.
Daniela was born and raised in Italy. She studied Classics, then lived in Scotland for fourteen years, where she married and taught in a primary school. Daniela’s children’s book Really WeirdRemovals.Com was shortlisted for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards. She has also written for the BBC.
Daniela, her husband and their two sons make their home in a tiny village in the Alps. To discover more about Daniela and her world, visit http://www.danielasacerdoti.com.
Nick and Lesley Albert yearn to leave the noise, stress and pollution of modern Britain and move to the countryside, where the living is good, the air sweet, with space for their dogs to run free. Suddenly out of work and soon to be homeless, they set off in search of a new life in Ireland, a country they had never visited. As their adventure began to unfold, not everything went according to plan. If finding their dream house was difficult, buying it seemed almost impossible. How would they cope with banks that didn’t want customers, builders who didn’t need work, or the complex issue of where to buy some chickens?
Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds is available in ebook and paperback now. You can purchase your copy using the link below.
This scene occurred a few days after we moved to our new home in Ireland.
A few days later we spotted someone walking along the lane at the rear of our house. I called out a greeting and he stopped to have a chat. Jim is a local farmer who lives around five miles away. He is a delightful man, with a ready smile, twinkling blue eyes and a tendency to call everyone ‘sir’. Today, he was wearing boots, jeans, and a mud-smeared jacket that may once have been green. A faded baseball cap partially covered his tousled dark hair and like an eight-year-old boy, his pockets overflowed with bits of twine, pocket-knives, apples and cattle feed. Next to him was an actual eight-year-old boy. He was immaculately dressed, standing politely to attention and shyly watching us from under the brim of his Munster rugby cap. After introducing ourselves, Jim welcomed us to the area and explained he was in the habit of grazing his cows on the pasture attached to our property. Apparently his relatives once owned much of the land in the area, and his great uncle used to live in our house. I promised to take great care of the property and asked his opinion of what it would be like to live here. “Well, sir,” he declared. “You will find it’s grand – apart from the midgets.” “Midgets?” I queried, thinking of the dwarf we had seen twice, driving a tractor while standing up. “What about them?” “I fecking hate them. They’re BASTARDS, sir!” he replied. I knew some people had a prejudice against those they considered outside of the norm, and while I understood everybody is entitled to their own opinion, I felt very uncomfortable with Jim’s venom. However, I was conscious this man was my distant neighbour and I didn’t want to get off on the wrong foot. “Really? That seems a little harsh,” I offered in pacification. “Harsh?” He seemed genuinely shocked. “Harsh is it, sir? Them little bastards cum up here in their ‘undreds. They’s after me cows they is. Well, you ask my opinion, they should feck off to Scotland, where they cum from.” He turned his head and spat. I looked out over the hills and pictured a missing scene from the movie Braveheart, with hundreds of kilted dwarfs, belonging to some secret cattle rustling clan, charging across the moor like slightly taller versions of Mel Gibson. It seemed a little far-fetched, but I was new to the area. “Well, I’ll have to try and keep out of their way, I suppose,” I offered. “You can try, sir, but it won’t work. The girl midgets are the worst. When it’s time for them to breed, they can smell you out for miles. So I’ve heard.” “Good gracious – how extraordinary! You learn something new every day.” I was now picturing a miniature version of an Essex girl’s hen night. “Perhaps they’re attracted to the smell of Guinness.” “Oy don’t know about that,” he proclaimed. Suddenly, he changed tack like a drunken sailor. “Can I still graze me cows on yer field, sir?” he asked. “Yes, Jim, I don’t see why not.” Jim’s hatred of little people remained a perplexing mystery until the first muggy day in late April. I was trying to wash the mud from my car, when I became aware of tiny hot pinpricks of pain on my neck and face. I noticed several small lumps were already growing on the backs of my hands. In the sunlight I could see a cloud of dancing dust that seemed to follow my every move. “Oh! MIDGES!” I gasped slapping my forehead, physically and figuratively. I quickly made my escape indoors in search of the antihistamine cream, and told Lesley the puzzle of the midgets was now solved.
About The Author:
Nick Albert was born and raised in England. After a hectic career as a training consultant and sports coach, Nick, and his wife, Lesley, decided it was time to leave the stress of city life behind. In 2004 they made the sudden decision to begin a new life in rural Ireland – a country they had never before visited. There they bought a dilapidated farmhouse, and with the aid of a second-hand do-it-yourself manual, began renovations on their new home. When the refurbishments to the property and their lives were complete, Nick began writing full-time.
Newly-weds Dan and Bea decide to escape London. Driving through France in their beaten-up car they anticipate a long lazy summer, worlds away from their ordinary lives.
But their idyll cannot last. Stopping off to see Bea’s brother at his crumbling hotel, the trio are joined unexpectedly by Bea’s ultra-wealthy parents. Dan has never understood Bea’s deep discomfort around them but living together in such close proximity he begins to sense something is very wrong.
Just as tensions reach breaking point, brutal tragedy strikes, exposing decades of secrets and silence that threaten to destroy them all.
‘A twisty delight of a novel, a cracking page-turner that has much to say about modern life and our attempts to find a way to navigate it, no matter where we come from’ Cathy Rentzenbrink
The Snakes is available in hardback and ebook now. It will be published in paperback on the 20th February 2020. You can purchase or pre-order your copy using the link below.
The Snakes is a powerful read which was quite dark and disturbing in places. It’s definitely a book that has stayed with me and I have kept thinking about.
Interestingly this book deals with a number of themes which I thought were cleverly weaved into the story. These are almost mentioned in passing though as none of them become a major issue but they do help contribute to the tension in the story. The main subject discussed is money and the problems it can cause by the power it holds which I found very interesting to think about. It made me question what I would do in a similar situation to Bea and Dan.
The descriptions in the book are very vivid and really help make the story come to life for me as I felt I could envisioned what was going on clearly. None of the characters were partially likeable but they were still interesting to follow and get to know, though I found I couldn’t feel any sympathy for them.
The chilling atmosphere slowly increases until the rather shocking ending which I wasn’t expecting. It would make a great book club read as there would be lots to discuss, including some deeper meanings which I have seen other reviewers comment on but I fear have gone over my head.
Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Georgina from Midas publicity for my copy of this book.
About The Author:
Sadie Jones is a novelist and screenwriter. Her first novel, The Outcast (‘Devastatingly good’, Daily Mail) won the Costa First Novel Award in 2008 and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. It was also a Richard and Judy Summer Reads number one bestseller and adapted for BBC Television. Her second novel, Small Wars (‘Outstanding’, The Times; ‘One of the best books about the English at war ever’, Joel Morris), was published in 2009, and longlisted for the Orange Prize. Her third, in 2012, was The Uninvited Guests (‘A shimmering comedy of manners and disturbing commentary on class… a brilliant novel’, Ann Patchett) followed by Fallout in 2014 (‘Intoxicating and immersive’, The Sunday Times).