The Lost Letters by Sarah Mitchell – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Canada, present day

When Martha’s beloved father dies, he leaves her two things: a mysterious stash of letters to an English woman called ‘Catkins’ and directions to a beach hut in the English seaside town of Wells-Next-The-Sea. Martha is at a painful crossroads in her own life, and seizes this chance for a trip to England – to discover more about her family’s past, and the identity of her father’s secret correspondent.

Norfolk, 1940

Sylvia’s husband Howard has gone off to war, and she is struggling to raise her two children alone. Her only solace is her beach hut in Wells, and her friendship with Connie, a woman she meets on the beach. The two women form a bond that will last a lifetime, and Sylvia tells Connie something that no-one else knows: about a secret lover… and a child.

But the tragedy of war brings heartbreaking choices. And a promise made between the two women will echo down the years, and could change everything for Martha…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Lost Letters is a dual time line novel that mainly takes place in 1940s London and Norfolk in the 1940s and modern-day.
Martha has arrived in Norfolk to try to find out more about her recently deceased father. She is a lonely figure, missing her father, divorced with a daughter who is at university in Cambridge and who has no time to talk to her and a sister who she has a slightly strange relationship with.
Sylvie in the 1940s has a different lifestyle in some ways. She has wonderful friends in Connie and Elsie but her marriage is a lonely one at times and a relationship from when she was younger causes problems for her. I loved seeing her friendship with both Connie and Elsie grow into something special.
It is a slightly slow novel to begin with, not a bad thing, these characters take a while to get to know. Usually in a dual time line novel I prefer one to the other but here I liked both equally. The 1940s felt like the author had personal knowledge, from family stories passed down, or had done a lot of research into local history. I felt that one part in particular, from early on in the war was a true event.
I became more intrigued in the modern-day story as the novel progressed and the knowledge about what happened increased. The final quarter of the novel was at times emotional to read. I can’t imagine what families went through, having to say goodbye and not knowing what the future may bring. I knew about children being evacuated but had no idea that they went so far away from home.
A lovely emotional novel from an author I would happily read again.

The Lost Letters - Blog Tour

Cross Your Heart by Kierney Scott – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Blinking her eyes open, she looks around the room, taking in the bed and the wardrobe full of clothes she’s never seen before. This isn’t her bedroom. Those aren’t her clothes. She begins to cry as she wonders if she’ll ever see her own home again.

Three young girls are missing. All of them cold cases. All of them forgotten. But when Detective Jess Bishop identifies a disturbing link between them, she’s determined to find out what happened, and fights to re-open their cases.

At the scene of each abduction the kidnapper left a clue – a small bag of candy – in place of the missing child.

And then a fourth child is taken. Eight-year-old Ava is snatched from her hospital bed and when a bag of candy is found in her room, Jessica knows it’s the same kidnapper.

As the pressure to solve the case pushes Jess and her team to breaking point, Jess takes a personal risk she fears she’ll live to regret. But she has no choice.

Out of hospital, Ava can only get sicker: Jess is running out of time. Can she find Ava before it’s too late?

My Review

Despite not reading book one, I was instantly gripped by this novel and I connected with the characters immediately. Jess suffered a serious injury before this book begins and is desperate to return to work. Her relationship with her previous partner, Jamieson, is also damaged and she has a new partner Chan who is the flirt in the team. He tries to use his charms on every female he talks to. It’s not annoying, it is just a little lightheartedness and shows the differences between the team in the way they react to him. Apart from her injury and new partnership I didn’t notice any spoilers so I am happy to read the previous book soon.
I liked Jess a lot. She had a troubled family history, I hope that more will be revealed about this, either in the earlier book or  in the books to come. She has a slightly dubious way of coping with things that are troubling her. Everybody in the team knows about it, frown upon it but let her get on with it.  I admired her resolve, laughed at her put downs towards Chan and wished that she would let friends help her.
The storyline could be a tough one to read but the author does a brilliant job of making it acceptable rather than gratuitous. Parts of it made me emotional, parts of it made me angry. Parts of the storyline covered events that should never happen but do, repeatedly.
I am looking forward to reading more in this series, I liked the characters and want to see how they develop in future novels. And I want to see how they cope after the events in this book.

Cross Your Heart - Blog Tour

Don’t Tell A Soul by D. K. Hood – Blog Blitz Review.

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About the Book

When a body is found stuffed into a barrel at a garbage dump, covered in long red cuts, Detective Jenna Alton and her new deputy, David Kane, rush to the scene.

Nothing ever happens in the small American town of Black Rock Falls, so Jenna believes the victim must be one of two recent missing persons, and she fears for the life of the other.

Both were strangers to the town, but there’s nothing else to link them. Jenna knows someone must have seen something, but no one’s talking; how well does she really know the people around her?

Then a disturbing clue makes Jenna suspect a connection with other disappearances in the town’s history. Just when she begins asking the right questions, she realises she’s being followed. Is she next on the killer’s list?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

Don’t Tell A Soul is the first in a new series. It was the second book in a row that I have read that featured adverse weather conditions which coincided with a very cold day locally. So it was a fitting read.
There were two lead characters, both of who work in the police department in a small town. Both of them are hiding from the past and living under assumed identities. Not much is revealed about either, but you are aware that Kane has had a personal loss. I did find his story more intriguing, and his character warmer than Alton’s. I felt both characters will become more likeable when the reader knows more about them. For now, they seemed a little remote.
On the other hand, Rowley was a character that I liked instantly. He was a rookie officer who was determined, honest and eager to please with the addition of a dry sense of humour.
The case which concerned missing people and murder was an interesting one. Both Alton and Kane found it difficult to get any help, this small town in America was full of corruption and superstition. I thought I had worked out who the killer was until fairly near the end when I was proved wrong.
I am interested in seeing how this new series develops, I can guess that it will be a popular one with readers of detective fiction.

Don't Tell a Soul - Blog Tour

The Lost Child by Patricia Gibney – Blog Blitz Review.

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About the Book

An elderly woman is found murdered in her own home, and Detective Lottie Parker and her partner Detective Boyd are called in to investigate. When they discover that the victim’s daughter is missing as well, they start to fear for the safety of the whole family…
Two days later as a nearby house is set on fire and with the body count rising, Lottie and her team begin to unpick a web of secrets and lies, as the murders seem to link back to a case investigated by Lottie’s father before he took his own life.
With little knowledge of what really happened to her father, Lottie knows this is a case that could give her some answers. But how much does she want to know? And how far is Lottie prepared to dig to uncover the truth?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

Wow. It is hard to put into words how I feel about this novel. It is book three in the series and I went into it without knowing anything about any of the characters, any back story or what this new book was about. Whilst this did cause a bit of confusion initially I just decided not to think about what I had missed out on and concentrated on what I was reading. If anybody is worried, you don’t need to be. There are no spoilers, just a bit of personal information and I can easily go back and read the earlier novels without knowing too much detail. I plan on doing this at the earliest possibility.
It’s fast paced Irish fiction. Unusually, for me, I liked every member of the team. Even Lynch, who seemed to bear a grudge for some event in the past. Lottie, is an older detective than the ones that I have ‘met’ before. She is a mother of three, grandmother of one, and a daughter to a woman who she clashes with. There is no mother/ daughter bond at all. Lottie feels anxious a lot of the time, and takes more alcohol and prescribed drugs than she should do. Boyd, aware of all her faults is devoted, even though I did feel at times that she would push him to far.
The case is a devastating one for all, I could feel the pain and despair when they were not quick enough and people suffered. Some of the events are gruesome and I was quite relieved that there wasn’t too much detail. I never had a clue about who was responsible for the crimes. It worked, I was just duped into thinking about who it could be. It’s clever, at times amusing, and full of compassion. I loved it and downloaded book one immediately after finishing it.

The Lost Child - Blog Tour

The Silk Weaver’s Wife by Debbie Rix – Review.

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About the Book

The unforgettable stories of two women cross centuries as past and present weave together in this beautifully moving summer read.
2017: Millie wants more from her relationship and more from her life. So when her boss Max abruptly ends their affair, she takes the opportunity to write a feature in Italy.
Staying in a gorgeous villa, Millie unexpectedly falls in love with the owner, Lorenzo. Together they begin to unravel an incredible story, threaded through generations of silk weavers.
And Millie finds herself compelled to discover the identity of a mysterious woman in a portrait…
1704: Anastasia is desperate to escape her controlling and volatile father and plans to marry in secret. But instead of the life she has dreamed of, she finds herself trapped in Venice, the unwilling wife of a silk weaver.
Despite her circumstances, Anastasia is determined to change her fate…

My Review

I like historical fiction and usually read it when I need a break from the usual crime fiction. Whilst this is definitely a historical novel I would also categorise it as romantic fiction and this is a genre that I don’t usually read.

The two narrators are Anastasia in the 1700s and Millie in modern-day. It was Anastasia whose tale I enjoyed the most. She didn’t have the happiest childhood, her father ruled by tyranny, regularly beating his wife and children. When he loses everything gambling he offers Anastasia as an alternative to his business. It doesn’t take her long to realise that her new life is just as bad as her old. But she is clever and has people who are willing to help.

Millie is a journalist who is in Italy to research a storyline regarding silk. She has recently broken up with her partner and soon gets close to Lorenzo and his daughter Bella. Whilst most of the novel concerns Anastasia, Millie is also important to the storyline, it is her who first becomes aware of Anastasia was.

I thought Anastasia was an amazing character. Very independent, and after what she goes through she is determined to put herself first. But she is also loyal to friends and family and those who helped her when she needed them. I liked Anastasia’s desire to succeed as an artist and use her skill to help her family prosper. Considering the time it is set she must have been strong-willed. A lesser character, Veronica, was also one that I liked. She was somebody who was prepared to lose everything to do the right thing.
I struggled to like Millie as much. I felt I needed to know more about her than her relationship with her ex Max, and her feelings for Lorenzo. I would have liked to see her connect Anastasia to Lorenzo but that is probably due to my interest in genealogy.
The section at the back of the book that listed the characters who were real and who were fictionalised was helpful. I had no idea that some of them were real people. Italy sounds an amazing place, especially Venice. I could picture the grandeur in all areas of the novel.
I always enjoy reading about the past, and even though this book wasn’t entirely how I expected it to be I did enjoy it. It’s rare that I read romance novels but maybe I do need to broaden my choice of reading.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.