The Silver Moon Blog Tour

 

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“What darkness lies in the past of a little witch, cursed into the shape of a giant? Who will save a magical unicorn, imprisoned for generations in the castle of a tyrant? As the silver moon rises in the sky, an enormous clown and a powerful siren join a humble weaver and other enchanting characters in these haunting tales of illusion, discovery and love.

An exquisitely illustrated bedtime story for the age of #MeToo, The Silver Moon Storybook transforms themes of modern feminism into touching fables full of the magic and shadows of traditional fairy tales.”

 

This stunning collection of feminist fairytales is definitely one of the most gorgeous books I’ve reviewed this year and I’m so happy that Kelly asked me to take part in the blog tour as I love discovering new reads that I might never have found otherwise.

I absolutely love Angela Carter and reading new spins on original tales so I was really excited to see what Elaine Gunn would do here The fairytales are all connected together in myriad ways and I loved the way that they chimed with one another and wove you into their spell as you turned the pages.

As well as being a physically beautiful book, it’s also a beautiful book to read as it’s so thought-provoking and really does make you think back to the tales you loved as a child and see them in a whole new light.  Elaine Gunn is a skilled writer and manages to balance her plots with memorable characters in such a way as to carry you into the story and make you believe – just for a moment – that you have fallen through the pages into their world

As a feminist and a teacher, I was delighted to introduce this book to some of my classes on International Women’s Day last week and I’m pleased to report that it really went down well.  I really believe that a good fairytale should transcend age and the senior students certainly found that to be the case.  We read The Weaver together – and it certainly wove its spell on them!

Although The Silver Moon Storybook is set in worlds that are set apart from everyday life,  it still connects with themes such as individuality, self-determination and freedoms – which many women still face today.  I sometimes think that looking at these issues through the prism of a fairy tale allows us a greater insight into these ideas and it certainly seemed that way last week in class. I will definitely be using this as a text again and hope that I’ve widened their idea about fairytales too, through introducing them to this beautiful and thought-provoking book.

Treat yourself to a copy here

The Silver Moon Storybook

Writer On The Shelf

 

Elaine Gunn

Elaine Gunn has been writing more or less constantly since she first picked up a pencil in primary school. Years of unpublished literary genius languish in handwritten journals, high school English portfolios, corporate banking reports and various awful pitch documents full of impeccably written digital marketing jargon. Her first published work, The Silver Moon Storybook, is a collection of feminist fairy tales, written as an antidote to the passive princess culture that she became horribly aware of when her children started watching telly. Elaine is also a reiki practitioner and Dr. Hauschka esthetician; you can check out her website at http://somethinglovely.scot.

Twitter @Elaine_Gunn

Facebook @somethinglovelydotscot

 

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She Lies in Wait Blog Tour

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Six friends. One killer. Who do you trust?

Six friends go down to the woods.

But one never comes home.

Now, a body has been found.

They thought they’d got away with it.

But now they’re all suspects.

Who do you trust?

“A dark, deep, terrific thriller and a scorching portrait of friendship and its betrayal” Nicci French

On a hot July night in 1983, six school friends go camping in the forest. Bright and brilliant, they are destined for great things, and young Aurora Jackson is dazzled to be allowed to tag along.

Thirty years later, a body is discovered. DCI Sheens is called to the scene, but he already knows what’s waiting for him: Aurora Jackson, found at long last.

But that’s not all. The friends have all maintained their innocence, but the body is found in a hideaway only the six of them knew about.

It seems the killer has always lurked very close to home…

Gytha Lodge is a multi-award-winning playwright, novelist and writer for video games and screen and it shows – you really see this tale unfolding as you read it and I’d love to see it being made into a film one day.  This gripping, fascinating and intriguing read never feels like a  series of characters in search of a story – it keeps you absolutely wrapped up in its narrative and it is definitely one of  Gytha’s strengths as a writer that I couldn’t stop turning the pages until I’d found out exactly what had happened all those years ago.  I’d like to thank Jenny Platt for inviting me onto the tour and introducing me to another fantastic new fictional detective – DCI Jonah Sheens

Having enjoyed the sound of the blurb and feeling intrigued to find out exactly what had happened to Aurora, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of She Lies in Wait as I loved the premise and was just in the mood for a book that would keep me hooked after reading some non -fiction before hand. Let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed and can honestly say that it kept my attention and let my marking pile grow higher and higher as I was so keen to get it finished.

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When we hear that a body has been discovered, it’s intriguing to wonder exactly what happened that night and speculate about who you think was involved and to what extent their actions – or lack of them – might be linked to the murder. It’s no surprise that lots of breadcrumbs are laid by Gytha Lodge in order to try and make sure we are intrigued to find out more about Aurora’s mysterious death and possibly get to the bottom of what exactly everyone is hiding

I hate spoilers, so I don’t want to dwell too long on the plot of She Lies In Wait – suffice to say that the skilful way that Gytha Lodge weaves the two time frames of both the past and present is superbly done and remains convincing throughout. I know at times it can feel like the fictional world is saturated with time shifts showing with two very different perspectives which collide pleasingly and create plenty of room for speculation and questions but this time it’s really well done. The ‘past’ allows you to get to know Aurora as a person, rather than just a victim and added another layer of enjoyment for the reader through this device.

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I loved the way that this novel wove both threads together – a convincing depiction of the friends’ camping trip juxtaposes nicely with the investigation in the present day and allows you to move between them and see both sides of the ‘event’ – and I also enjoyed the way that  we are introduced to  DCI Jonah Sheens and discovering that there is a lot more to him below the surface that we might at first have assumed. I definitely look forward to finding out more about him in subsequent novels and think he is definitely set to be one of my favourite fictional investigators.

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She Lies In Wait is definitely one of those novels that stays with you long after closing its final page and one that I will definitely be recommending to my friends – it packs a powerful punch; keeping you guessing throughout and firmly convinced by the fictional world it pulls you into.

If you enjoy an immersive and well-crafted piece of fiction that will keep you on your toes,  then you will love this book as much as I did.  I can’t wait to see what DCI Jonah Sheens does next and like I said, I’d love to see him on my screen one day. I’m a sucker for a great detective and feel like the characters in this book  feel like they’ve stepped right off the page and you’re following their exploits from inside the story alongside them.

If you feel intrigued and would like to order yourself a copy and find out for yourself what happened that night, click here to order a copy for yourself. 

 

I’ve changed my links to #Hive to support local bookshops

Can I choose which bookshop to support?

Yes. After you’ve bought something from us, you choose a bookshop and we give them a percentage of your money.

Follow the Blog Tour and find out what all these other fab bloggers thought

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Writer On The Shelf

Gytha Lodge is a multi-award-winning playwright, novelist and writer for video games and screen. She is also a single parent who blogs about the ridiculousness of bringing up a mega-nerd small boy.

She has a profound addiction to tea, crosswords and awful puns. When not writing, she heads up a copywriting team at a global translation firm, where she generally tries to keep all the video-game writing to herself.

She studied English at Cambridge, where she became known quite quickly for her brand of twisty, dark yet entertaining drama. She later took the Creative Writing MA at UEA.

She has signed with Penguin Random House worldwide for the first three books in her crime series featuring DCI Jonah Sheens.

She Lies in Wait was released in January 2019.

 

Past Life Blog Tour – What a read!

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Waking up beside the dead girl, she couldn’t remember anything.
Who she was. Who had taken her. How to escape.
Detective Abigail Boone has been missing for four days when she is finally found, confused and broken. Suffering retrograde amnesia, she is a stranger to her despairing husband and bewildered son.
Hopelessly lost in her own life, with no leads on her abduction, Boone’s only instinct is to revisit the case she was investigating when she vanished: the baffling disappearance of a young woman, Sarah Still.
Defying her family and the police, Boone obsessively follows a deadly trail to the darkest edges of human cruelty. But even if she finds Sarah, will Boone ever be the same again?

 

This was the first book I read on my birthday half-term trip to beautiful Budapest, where I used the hashtag #BooksInBudapest to highlight all of the amazing books that I read there. Past Life was definitely a stand-out read for me and I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the blog tour today. Thanks so much to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the Blog tour and introducing me to another fabulous new voice.

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Past Life definitely was a fantastic read. A stand-out in an increasingly competitive field – Dominic Nolan has crafted a book that you’ll take a long time to forget once you’ve finished it. It certainly had me well and truly hooked and I’ve thought about it a lot since I finished it as it had a really fantastic cast of characters that you won’t forget in a hurry.

One of the most striking things I’ll remember about Past Life – and there are many – is that although I was reading it in gorgeous Budapest – in my head, I was very firmly transported into the world of this book, experiencing all of the twists and turns alongside Abigail Boone in the midst of the trauma and degradation she was exposed to. The beauty of the place I was in served to emphasise the darkness that I was reading about and made the characters even more realistic as I got lost in its pages

 

Abigail’s determined nature really spoke to me and she definitely stepped off the page for me in her determination to get to the truth. Dominic Nolan definitely makes us ask ourselves exactly how far we ourselves would be prepared to get to the truth, despite the cost to ourselves and our family life.

The danger that Abigail finds herself caught in becomes increasingly terrifying – dealing with kidnapping and human trafficking is certainly a predicament that few people even dream of, never mind have to cope with. This was brought to life very vividly, without ever feeling sensationalist or insensitive and I think was one of the things that really made this book stand out for me. I often find that the darker the material, the more unrealistic it can feel – but in Past Life that was thankfully not the case.

I also thought that Roo’s character was incredibly deftly drawn and felt so real to me. Her sense of humour and survivor’s instinct shines through. Dominic Nolan is careful that we do not just see her as a one-dimensional character: as well as her humour, she also sees things more clearly than many of the professionals involved and I have thought about her often since finishing the book. This book is beautifully balanced and does not just cast stereotypical or one-sided characters that can so often appear in thrillers, but has a cast of nuanced and credible characters that definitely drew me in and held me tight.

I was so drawn into this novel that I was delighted to find my husband picking it up and reading it right after me so that we could talk about it together – Past Life is such an evocative read that it was fascinating to see if the visions that I’d been conjuring up in my head were similar to his and we certainly had a fair few heated conversations  about it. If this sparks your curiosity, you should definitely order yourself a copy so that you can see for  yourself

This will definitely appeal to fans of a dark and compelling crime novel and is another fantastic new voice from Headline that will hopefully encourage more people to choose books by debut writers and not just famous voices. It really is well worth your while to cast your net more widely in terms of crime and thrillers right now – there are some absolute crackers about!

I’d like to pass on my thanks to the ever-lovely Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the Blog Tour and sending me a copy of the book. It’s such a gorgeous cover that at least three people asked me what I was reading on the plane and in the hotel and the inside is definitely just as striking. Get your hands on your own copy here

 

Writer On The Shelf

Dominic grew up and still lives in North London. He worked various day jobs, ranging from call centre operator to fraud investigator, before selling his first novel, Past Life – the story of Boone, a detective who suffers a catastrophic loss of her memory and, struggling to reintegrate herself back into her past life with her husband and teenage son, decides to reinvestigate the missing person case that led to her getting hurt in the first place.

Boone will return in a follow-up to Past Life in 2020.
Find Dominic Nolan on Twitter – @NolanDom

 

 

Welcome to the Heady Heights Blogtour

 

Welcome to the Heady Heights …

It’s the year punk rock was born, Concorde entered commercial service and a tiny Romanian gymnast changed the sport forever…

Archie Blunt is a man with big ideas. He just needs a break for them to be realised. In a bizarre brush with the light entertainment business, Archie unwittingly saves the life of the UK’s top showbiz star, Hank ‘Heady’ Hendricks, and immediately seizes the opportunity to aim for the big time. With dreams of becoming a musical impresario, he creates a new singing group called The High Five with five unruly working-class kids from Glasgow’s East End. The plan? Make it to the final of Heady’s Saturday night talent show, where fame and fortune awaits…

A hilarious, poignant nod to the elusiveness of stardom, in an age when ‘making it’ was ‘having it all’, Welcome to the Heady Heights is also a dark, laugh-out-loud comedy, a poignant tribute to a bygone age and a delicious drama about desperate men, connected by secrets and lies, by accidents of time and, most of all, the city they live in.

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Even if I hadn’t read and absolutely adored the #DiscoDays trilogy, I would have loved this book. I was so excited to be invited onto the #Blogtour and I’m delighted to be sharing my response just before the Edinburgh leg of the Orenda Roadshow – which I’m so excited to be attending

Attending this fabulous book event on Monday was a ‘must’ for me as this is a really unique event allowing me to see not just David, but a whole host of other Orenda favourites too!

It will also give me another chance to meet the legendary Karen from Orenda Books and get to hear lots of my favourite Orenda writers read from their newest books #Heaven right?

It is always a pleasure to hear writers read from their own works and even though David has made it clear in the past that this is not a favourite part of a book launch for him, it will be fantastic to hear a rendition of #WelcomeToTheHeadyHeights in his own voice and hear the crowd’s response to this fantastic read. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get my copy signed too, like my #DiscoDays books

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The dark humour in these books paints a truthful and perceptive portrait of Scotland that is unsurpassable, giving us Scots of a certain age so many ‘That’s exactly right!’ moments and the blend of humour and truthfulness hits just the right balance to make you think as well as making you crease up laughing. This portrait of Big Jamesie Campbell will definitely take its place in Scottish Book characters Hall of Fame as we’ve all met one in our time and he is such a fabulously drawn character, you’ll swear he rises up off the page and starts talking to you as you read.

Mr OnTheShelf is an Ayrshireman and I always pass David Ross books onto him after I’m done He came away evangelical about this one, because of all the memories it triggered. As an ex-copper himself, he loved the portrait of Barbara Sherman – aka – The Tank – which he says took him right back to 1984 and some of the police characters he encountered in his heyday.  The fact that he enjoyed the book so much has meant that we’ve talked non-stop about The Heady Heights as a TV Concept, and what ‘turns’ we’d like to see appearing on it

 

David has been compared endlessly with Irvine Welsh and John Niven and if you enjoy these writers then you will definitely enjoy this book, but I think his books all contain something wholly their own that sets them apart from their contemporaries. If you enjoy your humour dark and your tales memorable – then what are you waiting for – Buy this book!

 

I can’t wait to see where David F Ross goes next in his fiction writing – once you’ve read his profile, you’ll be amazed he finds the time. He is definitely one of the most exciting  Scottish writers that I read at the moment and I look forward to more news after hearing the hints that we could be seeing the #DiscoDays books on stage and screen in the near future, which is sure to bring him the wider audience he deserves.

Thanks to Karen and Anne for getting me a copy to review – you can buy yourself your own copy here – it’s an absolute must-read.

 

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Writer On The Shelf

David F. Ross was born in Glasgow in 1964 and has lived in Kilmarnock for over thirty years. He is a graduate of the Mackintosh School of Architecture at Glasgow School of Art, an architect by day, and a hilarious social media commentator, author and enabler by night.

His most prized possession is a signed Joe Strummer LP. Since the publication of his debut novel The Last Days of Disco, he’s become something of a media celebrity in Scotland, with a  signed copy of his book going for £500 at auction, and the German edition has not left the bestseller list since it was published.

Here is a collage that I made after his last book launch; really looking forward to making another one after Monday’s Roadshow extravaganza

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The Mausoleum Blog Tour LoveBooksGroup

 

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I absolutely love reviewing Scottish books or books that are set in Scotland, so I was delighted to be invited on the Blog tour for #Mausoluem from David Mark. If you like books that are full of the unexpected, with a historical twist, you’ll be sure to enjoy this novel.

I’m excited to share this piece from David Mark himself, explaining what it’s like to be a writer whilst having a hectic family life to contend with at the same time!

1967. In a quiet village in the wild lands of the Scottish borders, disgraced academic Cordelia Hemlock is trying to put her life back together. Grieving the loss of her son, she seeks out the company of the dead, taking comfort amid the ancient headstones and crypts of the local churchyard. When lightning strikes a tumbledown tomb, she glimpses a corpse that doesn’t belong among the crumbling bones. But when the storm passes and the body vanishes, the authorities refuse to believe the claims of a hysterical ‘outsider’. 

Teaming up with a reluctant witness, local woman Felicity Goose, Cordelia’s enquiries all lead back to a former POW camp that was set up in the village during the Second World War. But not all Gilsland’s residents welcome the two young women’s interference. There are those who believe the village’s secrets should remain buried … whatever the cost.  

 

Best-selling author DAVID MARK is one of the lucky few who makes a living as a full-time novelist. But with four children, two cats and a lot of chaos under one roof, finding the perfect place to get creative is proving to be a 24/7 job.

 

I woke this morning to the news that a large nail was sticking out of the headboard of our bed. According to wife 3, it was only a matter of time until child 5 rolled over and kebabbed herself. Did I want that? A baby with an eyepatch? Did I?

This news was broken simultaneously with some other choice snippets. Child 3 had put 18 sweeteners in my tea, cat 1 had eaten a nappy and was having an asthma attack, child 4 had managed to tangle her left pigtail into the cardboard star she had spent the previous evening spray-painting gold in a poorly ventilated room (producing a night of dreams involving a giant hedgehog, a wheel of cheese and a tin of pineapple chunks), and by the way, did I have some cash to put in the charity tin at school …

Children 1 and 2 were mysteriously absent from the dawn gathering – a situation that is considerably more unnerving than their actual presence. Child one is 15, and male, which means that our relationship has been reduced to me asking where all the cereal has gone, followed by him mooching down from his room carrying half a dozen bowls – hardened Shreddies stuck to the side like mosaic tiles.

Child 2? Ah well, child two has done well this week. She won a writing competition at school and when she was given the chance to pick her own prize, she opted to go for a three-course meal with ‘Just Daddy’. This is at once thrilling and unsettling. She’s 14 and I fear she is priming me from some big announcement. I can see it now, midway between the dessert and the cheese course, glibly alerting me to the fact that she’s been expelled from school for stirring pencil shavings into the Angel Delight (and this is based on experience) using a cheese slice as a bookmark in the school library.

I’m not moaning, I hasten to add. I’ve discovered in the few weeks since baby came along that my gender precludes me from indicating that I may be tired, stressed, overworked or run ragged. I’ve learned this the hard way. I’ll be in the queue for a takeaway coffee, phone between chin and shoulder, explaining to school that child 3 was joking when she said that she’d had Vienetta for breakfast, holding a squawking baby in one hand, and generally looking like a waxwork left too close to an electric fire. I’ll have cereal in my beard, eyes like blue brie and there will be so many baby-spew stains on my jacket that it would pass for some kind of haute couture camouflage garment. I won’t be moaning, but somebody will ask me, unbidden, how things are going. “Great, great,” I’ll say. “Bit knackered but I’m getting there ….,”

It’s a red rag to a bull.

“You’re tired! Ha! What about Mum? She’s the one that does the hard work. You on babysitting duty, are you? Does she need a break? Bet you can’t wait to hand her back. Honestly, my husband didn’t so much as change a nappy. Men, honestly, you’re good at pontificating but if you want something done, you have to ask a woman to do it. Bet you thought it would be easy, didn’t you? Oh, I don’t envy you. All those sleepless nights. Bet your poor wife is exhausted, isn’t she? Is she sleeping through? Our youngest didn’t sleep more than 15 minutes between birth and the age of  17. Would only eat runner beans and Mars bars. At one point I was so tired that my hips dislocated themselves in protest. I just got on with it. Couple of Paracetamol and I was right as rain. Then my fella would come in and ask why the roast potatoes weren’t cut at a right angle. Honestly, men ….,”

I’m not quite sure what the correct response is. I’m tempted to point out that the last time I found an uninterrupted hour to write a book (the novels that actually pay the bills), I was sitting outside a broken toilet cubicle on a train to London, having my feet run over by the snack trolley and wondering why, at nearly a hundred quid for a return to London, I had presumed that I would be entitled to a seat.

But I’m not moaning. I’m just saying. I’m a bit sensitive about this, you see. I’m determined not to be one of those dads who think they’ve helped around the house when they’ve closed the cutlery drawer. I do school runs and homework and answer difficult questions like ‘do you know what happened to my shoe after we finished using it as a boat?’. The only thing I don’t do is breastfeed and by goodness, I’ve given that a go. There’s no feeling quite like looking down into the adoring eyes of your newborn daughter and having to say ‘leave it, you’re embarrassing yourself’ she roots for my nipple through a thick covering of chest hair.

At this exact moment, I’m sitting in the kitchen, typing with one hand while rocking the baby in the child seat on the kitchen table with the other. At some point, I have to go and focus intently on some editing required asap by my American publisher. I’m halfway through writing a book which is due with my UK publisher in four weeks and I have half a dozen different blogs and interviews to get out of the way before I begin the serious business of helping child 2 with her drama monologue. Then there’s the nail to be hammered back in, using my patented technique of putting a hardback book over the head and punching it, hard. Then I have to pick up child 4 from school, where she is dressed as a star, having been given the opportunity to dress as ‘something from space’.

I’m not moaning. No. Not at all. But in the event that you hear of me going insane in a Starbucks and force-feeding a stale pain-au-chocolate to some well-intentioned grandmother, don’t judge too harshly.

Because, y’know. Men, eh?

 

If you loved this insight into David’s busy life and feel intrigued to find out more about the uncanny events in Gilsland, you can buy yourself a copy here

Writer On The Shelf

 

David Mark spent seven years as crime reporter for the Yorkshire Post and now writes full-time. A former Richard & Judy pick and Sunday Times bestseller, he is the author of nine police procedurals in the DS Aector McAvoy series and one historical novel. He lives in Northumberland with his family.

Twitter Info:

–        @davidmarkwriter

Author website:

http://www.davidmarkwriter.co.uk

Release Dates:

–        UK and Australia, 28 Feb 2019

–        US and Canada, 1 May 2019

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The Secretary Blog Tour

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From her first day as Personal Assistant to the celebrated Mina Appleton, Christine Butcher understands what is expected of her.
Absolute loyalty. Absolute discretion. For twenty years, Christine has been a most devoted servant, a silent witness to everything in Mina’s life. So quiet, you would hardly know she is there.
Day after day, year after year, Christine has been there, invisible—watching, listening, absorbing all the secrets floating around her. Keeping them safe.
Christine is trusted. But those years of loyalty and discretion come with a high price. And eventually Christina will pay.
Yet, it would be a mistake to underestimate such a steadfast woman. Because as everyone is about to discover, there’s a dangerous line between obedience and obsession.
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Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me on the Blog Tour for #TheSecretary – I really loved Disclaimer so I was absolutely delighted to be given the opportunity to read this new release by Renee Knight. I was intrigued by the premise and couldn’t wait to be pulled into another slice of psychological drama and twisty narrative.

The premise of this novel is as twisty and skilful as any you’ve read this year. I guarantee that you’ll need to free up some time once you’ve started this book as you’ll want to find out what happens with the minimum of disruption – so get ready for an unforgettable read.

If you love an unforgettable narrator who will really get under your skin and whose voice will stay with you for a long time after you’ve closed the final page – then look no further.

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Christine is the kind of character that really comes alive for you as you read. In her years of discretion and service to Mina Appleton, she has always sought to blend in and be the perfect employee. She has done her very damnedest to be indispensable. Whatever Mina needed, Christine obliged. She ensured that her every wish was anticipated and every task done to perfection – but this level of service comes with a price…

The fact that we hear this tale unfold through Christine’s eyes, seeing the indomitable Mina and her methods of working through Christine’s eyes makes for a great read. We can see things beginning to unravel around her and yet we are only drip-fed information which means the subtle atmosphere of menace just builds and builds as we read. It was definitely a dark and tantalising read and will keep you turning the pages, wanting to find out exactly what is going on behind the efficient smiles and glossy brochures.

Mina’s realisation that Christine knows way too much and the decisions that unfold as a result make for a gripping read and this is just the start as there’s never a dull moment in this book! Mina is a fantastic character, she’s totally lacking moral scruples but all the better a character for it! I loved the contrast between these two women – both pretty unlikable but both equally compelling in their own way.

This juxtaposition means that the plot zips along at a cracking pace and the darkness here makes you – if not quite admire Mina or Christine– certainly be impressed at their determination as each one of them seeks a way to make sure that she gets what she wants! But the moral of the story has to be that – just like Mina – we should never underestimate the quiet ones in the corner as who really knows WHAT they are capable of when the chips are down…

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I’m no fan of books being painted as ‘The next…’ and we’re all sick I’m sure, of seeing books compared with The Girl on the Train or The Woman in the Window –  This definitely isn’t ‘The Girl in The Office’ – it’s not trying to be anything else, it’s perfectly happy being its own dark delicious self.

I’d actually love to see it on screen and will be dragging people along with me to see Mina and Christine brought to life! If you like your characters flawed, dark and full of drive, then you’re going to LOVE this book. It will certainly keep you entertained as you make your way through its pages with bated breath – all too quickly, I might add.

Thanks so much to Anne Cater for sending me this book to review for the blog tour – I absolutely love taking part in Anne’s tours and look forward to seeing what the other bloggers on the tour think of the books too.

Writer On The Shelf

 

Renée Knight worked as a documentary-maker for the BBC before turning to writing. She is a graduate of the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course, and lives in London with her husband and two children. Her widely acclaimed debut novel, Disclaimer, was a Sunday Times No.1 bestseller.

The Secretary is her second novel.

 

The Glass Woman – Blog Tour

 

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1686, Iceland.

Betrothed unexpectedly to Jón Eiríksson, Rósa is sent to join her new husband in the remote village of Stykkishólmur. Here, the villagers are wary of outsiders.

But Rósa harbours her own suspicions. Her husband buried his first wife alone in the dead of night. He will not talk of it. Instead, he gives her a small glass figurine. She does not know what it signifies.

The villagers mistrust them both. Dark threats are whispered. There is an evil here – Rósa can feel it. Is it her husband, the villagers – or the land itself?

Alone and far from home, Rósa sees the darkness coming. She fears she will be its next victim.

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I love historical books with a strong sense of research and history underpinning the narrative and because of this, I was thrilled to be invited to take part in The Glass Woman blog tour.

I love the fact that this novel is set against the backdrop of the seventeenth-century Icelandic witch trials which is something that I didn’t really know that much about and I found myself totally immersed in its austere and beautiful portrait of such a fascinating episode in history. I feel honoured to close the tour for this book and I hope that you will check out the other fab bloggers on the tour that you might have missed in order to see what they all thought of this stunning read.

 

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I found myself becoming absolutely obsessed with Iceland after reading this book and it’s definitely climbed to one of the top spots in my Travel Bucket list. Reading about Rosa’s story made me desperate to see these locations for myself an I was absolutely delighted to discover that the fabulous #TheBookTrail had worked hard to produce a wonderful guide to all of the locations in this unforgettable read. Make sure that you click the link below and find yourself transported there so that you can imagine Rosa’s landscape in all its majestic beauty.

The Book Trail – The Glass Woman’s Iceland

 

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Rosa herself was a fantastic character to travel backwards in time with through this immersive and beautiful novel. She is an unforgettable character and even though we are divided by centuries and many miles, I really connected with her and the difficult situations that she found herself in. The Glass Woman is a beautifully gothic tale featuring a landscape that’s as wild and unpredictable as some of the characters in it. This is a country where the people’s lives are dominated by suspicion and fear and Rosa’s perilous situation is vividly evoked by Caroline Lea as you travel with her to the remote and insular village of Stykkisholmur.

 

The section of the book where we travel with Rosa to meet her betrothed Jon Eriksson and see her come to terms with the life she has undertaken is absolutely superbly written and really brought this restrictive and blinkered worldview to life. Seeing their hypocrisies and double standards from an outsider’s perspective really throws these ideas into relief and Rosa’s experiences definitely makes you feel like you can feel her loneliness and trepidation as she enters into this bargain for the sake of her mother, even though the circumstances around Jon’s first wife’s death are vague and filled with rumour. The situation is barely imaginable and it is brought very vividly to life due to the skill of the storytelling here.

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I don’t like spoilers so I don’t want to spill too much about the secrets at the heart of this story. After arriving in this godforsaken place, Rosa’s unusual ability to read and write set her apart from other women around her and are no guarantee of her own safety as the dark Icelandic nights draw in.  You may well see things in the novel that Rosa cannot yet understand, which I feel strengthens our relationship with her as readers – I loved the fact that we are able to feel a permeable evil here through the narrative  which gives you a real insight into things that went on, in this part of history and I was totally captivated by this atmospheric wintry read.

I could not put it down once I’d started and I have recommended it to so many people since finishing it because it’s so unusual and hypnotic. I almost felt bewitched by it as I felt myself being pulled back into the darkness and  terrors of 17th century Iceland

I think the fact that Caroline Lea is also a poet really made this novel come to life for me – the imaginative and beautiful use of language never threatens to overwhelm the narrative but it’s wonderful to read. I knew very little about this fascinating and compelling country before I started reading this book – but as I’m sure you can tell, I’ve been totally bewitched by it. I’ve already ordered some Icelandic Sagas in translation and I can’t wait to read them for myself.

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Caroline Lea is a wonderful new voice – Rosa’s character is deftly conjured and the characters spring to life right off the page. I felt myself right there at several points in this novel – and had my heart in my mouth at times, wondering what on earth was going to happen next. I loved this book and I think that you will definitely love The Glass Woman just as much as I did. Treat yourself to a copy here

Thanks to Jenny Platt for inviting me on the tour; I thoroughly involved my visit to Rosa’s world and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys something a little bit different and loves immersing themselves in another time and place  – if you love something a little bit different, you’ll be intrigued by this melancholy and brooding world and will be just as sad as I was when you’ve turned the final page and have to re-engage with reality.

Doesn’t it look absolutely stunning in my #OnTheShelfie

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Writer On The Shelf

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Caroline Lea was born and raised in Jersey. She gained a First in English Literature and Creative Writing from Warwick University and has had poetry published in The Phoenix Anthology and An Aston Anthology, which she also co-edited.

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