Good Taste by Caroline Scott – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

England, 1932, and the country is in the grip of the Great Depression. To lift the spirits of the nation, Stella Douglas is tasked with writing a history of food in England. It’s to be quintessentially English and will remind English housewives of the old ways, and English men of the glory of their country. The only problem is –much of English food is really from, well, elsewhere . . . 

So, Stella sets about unearthing recipes from all corners of the country, in the hope of finding a hidden culinary gem. But what she discovers is rissoles, gravy, stewed prunes and lots of oatcakes. 

Longing for something more thrilling, she heads off to speak to the nation’s housewives. But when her car breaks down and the dashing and charismatic Freddie springs to her rescue, she is led in a very different direction . . . 

Full of wit and vim, Good Taste is a story of discovery, of English nostalgia, change and challenge, and one woman’s desire to make her own way as a modern woman.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Stella is a novelist and loves her work, her first book, although well received, hasn’t brought her much income. She is thrilled and excited when her publisher has an idea for a follow up alongside a very generous advance. This is the third book I have read by Caroline Scott so I knew that I would feel different emotions when reading. There were parts of this novel that made me smile, usually when Stella’s friend Lucien featured but there were also those that made me very emotional. Some of the more emotional moments were from reading the letters that Stella received from those who wanted to share their recipes. At times these revealed family memories but also the hardship experienced by many at the time. I had never heard of the hunger marches or that so many shipyards, collieries and mills had closed. But much more upsetting were reading the pages from her mother’s diary. I felt that Elizabeth was just as strong a character as Stella and that I really got to know her on the pages that she featured. 

I know little about the history of food and what ingredients go into a meal. A few of the foods mentioned in the letters Stella received I had heard of. Both Chorley cakes and Eccles cakes are a local food and I have eaten both without knowing anything about the custom. Many of the foods I had never heard of, and on googling feeling grateful that I had never eaten them whilst also feeling shame because my grandparents families would have lived off food like this for most of their childhood. 

I loved this novel and can’t wait to see what will come next from this author. 

The Reunion by Polly Phillips – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A chance to reconnect. 
A chance to get revenge . . .

Emily Toller has tried to forget her time at university and the events that led to her suddenly leaving under a cloud. She has done everything she can to forget the shame and the trauma – and the people involved. She has tried to focus on the life she has built with her children and husband, Nick.

But events like that can’t just be forgotten. Not without someone answering for what they’ve done. 

When an invitation arrives to a University reunion, everything clicks into place. Emily has a plan.

Because if you can’t forget – why not get revenge?

A fresh, original and strikingly relatable psychological thriller, perfect for fans of ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL. 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The prologue in this novel is one of the most intense and gripping I have read for a long time and it was a struggle to put it down. I needed to find out what had led to the situation in which Emily found herself in.

You know very early on that her Cambridge University experience wasn’t a good one and the career she had planned didn’t materialise. You are also aware that she is now in a position where she can make sure that those who ruined her dreams could now suffer. But with the way this book was written, with each chapter going back and forward in time it takes a while for the reader to discover what happened in Cambridge and what she was planning.

I have to say that this novel features some very unlikeable people, mostly the type who believe that their wealth lets them do whatever they want. It also shows how much hurt that attitude causes to those who are less visible and who are forced to feel that they are insignificant. Even Emily, who hasn’t got the wealth, but is friends with those who have, is guilty of doing this. The only character out of all of them who I really liked was Helen, Emily’s sister. I thought she had integrity, a sense of humour and a lot of love to give. 

It is fascinating to read, extremely character driven and I dread to think that the events described could happen. I have a feeling though that there are those who would behave like some in this novel.