Gravity of Love – Blog Tour

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In love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence … 

Scottsville, Arizona, 1989

In small-town America, Joy Sheldon loves the plants that bloom in the desert but longs too for the sea’s elemental wildness. It’s a dream never realised – and now, facing the brutal truth that her husband is a cheat, Joy learns of unimaginable secrets in her early life. Riven by betrayal and loss, a chance encounter with the enigmatic Lewis, Joy embarks on a journey to seek her true identity – and to discover why the sea pulls so strongly at her heart.

Soho, London, 1967

Lewis Bell, abandoned by his mother and responsible for his wayward sister, is now living the dream. An ambitious young graphic designer, he’s aiming for the big time – if only he can keep his creative spark. His talented girlfriend Marnie adds pressures of her own and, as Lewis’s troubles intensify, sixties London fast shows its darker side.

Ballycastle, Ireland, Easter, 1989

Unexpectedly drawn together, Joy and Lewis fly across the Atlantic to the Irish coast. She’s in search of a lost mother; he’s looking for a lost love. They need to make peace with the past, with themselves and others. But the truths they encounter and connections they create will transform everyone’s lives forever.

Bold, intimate and joyful, this glorious novel deftly interweaves decades, continents and lives to tell a story of the irresistible gravity of love.

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Love is a many-splendoured thing and I absolutely loved this immersive and enjoyable read. As soon as I opened the package and saw The Gravity of Love wrapped in thick emerald green ribbon, I was in love. It looked so enticing and made me want to tug it loose and dive right in.

If you read my blog, you’ll know that I love both a historical read and a book with two distinct timelines that we read concurrently. When this is well done, it’s my favourite kind of book – but it can be notoriously difficult to pull off effectively. Often, I’ve been left disappointed by an uneven narrative where I’d race through one of the alternating words as I’d feel unconvinced by one of the storylines and be desperate to be back in the other story.

The Gravity of Love is fortunately not one of those books: the stories of Lewis and Joy are both totally engrossing and balanced beautifully throughout the novel – whether we are with Joy in the parched desert landscape or Lewis in the wilds of Ireland I found myself equally engaged with both narratives and enjoyed the way that they complemented and chimed with one another. The gorgeous postcard that arrived alongside my copy of the book was another intriguing detail that ensured that it never lasted long on my TBR pile

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My postcard read ‘Eventually the truth will come out’ and there are many ways to apply this to the way that Joy and Lewis find their lives unfolding as The Gravity of Love. After losing her father, Joy finds herself in a position where she feels compelled to ask questions about her true origins and is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, regardless of her mother and husband being fairly resistant to her making an effort to find out who she really is.  Joy feels adrift in the early part of this novel, and her curiosity about her birth mother drives the narrative forward as we, just like Joy, want to find out how all the strands of this story connect.

Lewis has a fantastic back story too: the parts of the novel that describe his love affair with Marnie in 1960s swinging London were among my favourite parts of this book; I really found this section of the book really engrossing and it made me have a strong connection with Lewis in the present day. When he and Joy meet, we feel them both struggling with lives that haven’t quite turned out like they expected and their deep connection is convincingly drawn without feeling too contrived or far-fetched.

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You don’t have to be a romantic to fall in love with this beautifully written, surprising and captivating read and I feel like the quality of Noelle Harrison’s storytelling could melt the hardest heart. I thoroughly recommend The Gravity of Love to anyone looking for a book that will make you reexamine your own life and think about the way that choices you’ve made, missed chances and serendipitous connections can make your life turn out differently than you might ever have imagined.

I was gutted to be on duty and miss out on attending the launch of The Gravity of Love especially as it took place in one of the most gorgeous bookshops ever 

 

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If you want to read the blogposts of two of my favourite bloggers who did make it along to the launch @portybelle  Joanne and the lovely Kelly   @LoveBooksGroup.

If you follow the links, you’ll be able to see what they think too.

Thanks to Lina at Black & White Publishing for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for my copy of the book.

The Gravity of Love is available now. Click here to order yourself a copy The Gravity of Love

 

Writer on the Shelf

Born in London, I moved to Ireland in 1991, shortly afterwards setting up the theatre company Aurora. I have written four stage plays, Northern Landscapes, Black Virgin, Runaway Wife and The Good Sister, and one short film, Blue Void. I have also written extensively on visual art in Ireland, contributing to various journals and artists’ catalogues over the years.

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In August 2004 my first novel Beatrice was published by Tivoli/ Pan Macmillan. My second novel, A Small Part Of Me, was published by Tivoli / Pan Macmillan in September 2005. My third novel I Remember was published by Pan Macmillan in September 2008. The Adulteress was published by Pan Macmillan in September 2009, and The Secret Loves of Julia Caesar, an illustrated limited edition novella was published in 2012.

Having lived in Bergen in Norway for several years, in September 2012 Beatrice was published by Juritzen Forlag in Norwegian. My Noelle Harrison novels have also been translated and published in Italy, Germany, Holland, and Hungary.
I am also published under the pen name Evie Blake and my Valentina Trilogy has been published in over 13 countries worldwide.

In 2014 I was one of 56 Irish Writers included in the anthology and exhibition Lines of Vision Irish Writers on Art at the National Gallery of Ireland, and published by Thames & Hudson.

I currently live in Edinburgh in Scotland, and I am one of the founders of Aurora Writers’ Retreats

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You, Me, Everything – This Summer’s must read!

You and me, we have history
We have a child together.
We have kept secrets from each other for far too long.
This summer, in the beautiful hills of the Dordogne, it is time for everything to change.

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It’s such a privilege this sunny May evening, to be closing the blog tour of one of the best books I’ve read this year – and that is no mean feat, as 2018 has just been an amazing year for books.  You, Me Everything is a book that you’ll be seeing everywhere this Summer and if you’ve not got your holiday book-bag packed already, you should definitely make a space for this charming, touching and unforgettable read.

The gorgeous setting of this book in the beautiful Dordogne took me miles away from marking all these exam scripts this week and made me lose myself in daydreams of creamy stone buildings, fields full of lavender and sipping delicious French coffee on a terrace.

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I really lost myself in the story of  Jess and her son William as they head over to spend the summer with William’s absentee dad, Adam at Château de Roussignol, a grand castle that he has restored into a glamorous holiday resort. I felt like I could really transport myself to Adam’s chateau and wished that I was spending the summer there myself as we hear about its gorgeous grounds, splendid accommodation and mouthwatering breakfasts. Come to mention it, Adam himself sounded very tasty too…

DauhDkvW0AAMBjiAs we read on, we discover that Adam has never been a dad to William, sending him baby toys when he’s far too old for them and seeming much more interested in his latest girlfriend than being really involved in his son’s life. Jess travels to France determined to nurture the father-son relationship without falling for handsome, carefree Adam herself – as she knows how that one ended last time.

Jess is a fabulous character, she definitely felt very real to me as she wrestled with the internal conflict of being pleased to see William and Adam’s relationship develop but being mightily pissed off that after years of being the only parent that’s been there for William, Adam has strolled in and is being hero-worshipped for a very minimal effort on his part. Jess struggles to be honest about the jealousy she is feeling – both of their developing relationship and of Adam’s latest trophy girlfriend who is years younger, effortlessly gorgeous and baggage-free. 

This novel is perfect for readers who enjoy characters we can really connect with in emotional dilemmas that have us rooting for them. Jess is such a fabulous creation and we definitely feel for her as she struggles with these conflicting emotions as William grows closer to his dad after having him all to herself for all these years. William was also one of my absolute favourite child characters as he just springs off the page. He is a real joy to get to know as the book develops which makes the situation looming over him all the more compelling to read about.

Their long summer in France is sure to send you reaching for Tripadvisor to browse your next holiday destination as it sounds so lovely, but beware –  there’s more to this trip than meets the eye and you’ll be up late turning the pages as soon as you realise that this trip to France might have more complex motives than Jess is initially prepared to admit. I won’t include any spoilers, but the fact that Jess and Adam are both hiding the truth from one another about very significant things makes this novel zip along at a cracking pace. The cast of ‘supporting characters’ are also very credible and definitely make the atmosphere at the chateau seem like a real-life holiday that we are watching unfold in front of our eyes

I think that this will definitely bring Jane Costello a whole new audience who are looking for a novel that will not only entertain them but make them think more deeply about their own relationships. Catherine Isaac has brought us a novel that asks us to consider the way that we talk to ourselves about the ‘truth’ when we might be hiding more than we are prepared to admit. I read this book in a single day in gorgeous Cettia and I’m so glad that I actually got the time to unwind and lose myself in this emotionally rewarding and thought-provoking read.

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You, Me Everything is a moving and emotional story about how far we will go for love.  Rights have sold in over twenty-two countries so make sure you read this one before the movie is released! I am so grateful to the lovely Jess Barratt &  SJV aka BookMinx for inviting me on the tour, it’s been an absolute pleasure and I can’t stop recommending You, Me Everything to EVERYONE.

Here’s my sister upon my return from hols, clutching her book haul from me in total delight. You, Me Everything in pride of place and ready to rave about it to all her friends too.  It’s definitely this summer’s must-read list so what are you waiting for?

Buy yourself a copy right now and be Summer-ready when it’s time to get a book in your case! It’s only Five Pounds for a gorgeous hardback right now – treat yourself! 

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Writer on the Shelf

Catherine Isaac was born in Liverpool, England. She studied History at the University of Liverpool, then Journalism at Glasgow Caledonian University, before beginning her career as trainee reporter at the Liverpool Echo.

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She rose to the position of Editor of the Liverpool Daily Post and wrote her first book, Bridesmaids, while on maternity leave, under the pseudonym Jane Costello. Her nine subsequent novels were all Sunday Times best-sellers in the UK.

You Me Everything is her first book writing as Catherine Isaac.

She lives in Liverpool with her husband Mark and three sons. In her spare time, she likes to run, walk up mountains in the Lake District and win at pub quizzes, though the latter rarely happens.

You can visit Catherine’s website for more information about all of her books and follow her on Twitter @CatherineIsaac_

You can also find Catherine here,  on Facebook

The Dissent of Annie Lang

‘My story starts and ends at railway stations, though of course I can’t know this

yet as I clamber off the boat-train at Victoria that warm May afternoon… ‘

 

Annie is only six when her mother dies. Soon her strict religious father recruits Agnes as a housekeeper from the Mission their family founded, and Agnes becomes his second wife.  As her stepmother’s iron grip on her life tightens, Annie’s resistance incurs increasingly harsh punishments. But Annie finds solace in the friendship of her young Sunday school teacher, Millie Blessing, until one day Millie mysteriously disappears…

 

Six years later, 18-year-old Annie returns from studying in France to discover her beloved brother Fred in a mental hospital.  Here she also finds Millie Blessing, who has been held in a locked ward since her disappearance.  Annie starts to volunteer at the hospital and with the help of her own childhood diary, she gradually unearths a secret that threatens to ruin them all…

 

Set in the 1930’s, this novel explores the dark space between public and private morality and charts the journey of brave formidable Annie Lang who dissents from her parents’ path to right the wrongs hidden in the heart of her own family. 

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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 this blog tour. I love the fact that Ros Franey felt drawn into writing this novel from staring at a house and wondering about the history behind the front doorstep. I’ve done this so many times and it made me feel a real bond with her as a writer. 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 this week!

Annie Laing was a fantastic character to travel in time through this novel with. She is right there at your side as the narrative unfolds and we see times changing as we follow the story of her very eventful life. Annie’s life is one of arrivals and departures so it is quite fitting that it begins and ends in railway stations. I loved this aspect of Annie Laing as my Saturday job at school was at the local steam railway and this book took me right back there and I could almost smell the hot metal and hear the doors slamming before the trains set off.

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The section of the book where we are taken back to Annie’s strict religious upbringing in the 1920s was superbly written and really brought this restrictive and blinkered worldview to life. Seeing adult hypocrisies and double standards from a child’s perspective really throws these ideas into relief and Annie’s fresh voice definitely makes you feel like you can feel her misunderstandings and lack of answers that make any sense to her. The Mission is a closed order where questions about disappearing mothers are not to be tolerated and young Annie is soon pigeonholed as a ‘dissenter’ whose lack of mute obedience will need to be knocked out of her – at the soonest possible opportunity.

I don’t like spoilers so I don’t want to spill too much about the secret at the heart of this story. After returning from France, 16-year-old Annie ‘s discovery sets the wheels in motion for her to work her way backwards through her life in order to unravel the truth that has been hidden from her over the last decade. You will see things in the novel that young Annie doesn’t understand and is blinded to, which I feel strengthens our relationship with her as readers – I loved the fact that we are able to read young Annie’s journals after losing her mother and this gives you a real insight into the changes that happen in her young life as well as her thoughts and feelings as she responds to them.

I think the fact that Ros Franey makes documentaries really made this novel come to life for me – the research never threatens to overwhelm the narrative but it’s wonderfully clear to see. My grandmother Annie was in service during the 30s and it felt wonderful to explore the period she’d have been growing up in alongside such a fascinating and rebellious character as Annie. The fact that they shared a name added a little something extra to this novel for me and made me feel very connected with her and her family history too.

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Ros Franey can definitely write – Annie’s voice is deftly conjured and the characters spring to life right off the page. I felt myself right there at several points in this novel – with her naughty dog, Nana or admiring Miss Blessing’s delightful blue shoes and grew to love Annie’s individual and surprisingly modern sensibilities in a world where it’s much easier if young women are seen rather than heard. I loved this book and I think that you will definitely love Annie just as much as I did. Treat yourself to a copy here

Thanks to Anne Cater & Muswell Press for inviting me on the tour; I thoroughly involved my visit to Annie’s world and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys something a little bit different and loves social history – if you loved Call the Midwife, you’ll be intrigued into this insight into domestic life in period Nottingham and how people used to live.

Writer on the Shelf

Ros Franey grew up in Nottingham where this book is set. She is a maker of award-winning documentaries, including two films about the Guildford 4 which, along with the book she co-authored Timebomb, contributed to the quashing of their case. This is her second novel. She lives in Camden, North London.

The Dissent of Annie Lang

‘My story starts and ends at railway stations, though of course I can’t know this

yet as I clamber off the boat-train at Victoria that warm May afternoon… ‘

 

Annie is only six when her mother dies. Soon her strict religious father recruits Agnes as a housekeeper from the Mission their family founded, and Agnes becomes his second wife.  As her stepmother’s iron grip on her life tightens, Annie’s resistance incurs increasingly harsh punishments. But Annie finds solace in the friendship of her young Sunday school teacher, Millie Blessing, until one day Millie mysteriously disappears…

 

Six years later, 18-year-old Annie returns from studying in France to discover her beloved brother Fred in a mental hospital.  Here she also finds Millie Blessing, who has been held in a locked ward since her disappearance.  Annie starts to volunteer at the hospital and with the help of her own childhood diary, she gradually unearths a secret that threatens to ruin them all…

 

Set in the 1930’s, this novel explores the dark space between public and private morality and charts the journey of brave formidable Annie Lang who dissents from her parents’ path to right the wrongs hidden in the heart of her own family. 

annie laing.jpg

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 this blog tour. I love the fact that Ros Franey felt drawn into writing this novel from staring at a house and wondering about the history behind the front doorstep. I’ve done this so many times and it made me feel a real bond with her as a writer. 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 this week!

Annie Lang was a fantastic character to travel in time through this novel with. She is right there at your side as the narrative unfolds and we see times changing as we follow the story of her very eventful life. Annie’s life is one of arrivals and departures so it is quite fitting that it begins and ends in railway stations. I loved this aspect of Annie Laing as my Saturday job at school was at the local steam railway and this book took me right back there and I could almost smell the hot metal and hear the doors slamming before the trains set off.

banner-boness-view1.jpg

The section of the book where we are taken back to Annie’s strict religious upbringing in the 1920s was superbly written and really brought this restrictive and blinkered worldview to life. Seeing adult hypocrisies and double standards from a child’s perspective really throws these ideas into relief and Annie’s fresh voice definitely makes you feel like you can feel her misunderstandings and lack of answers that make any sense to her. The Mission is a closed order where questions about disappearing mothers are not to be tolerated and young Annie is soon pigeonholed as a ‘dissenter’ whose lack of mute obedience will need to be knocked out of her – at the soonest possible opportunity.

I don’t like spoilers so I don’t want to spill too much about the secret at the heart of this story. After returning from France, 16-year-old Annie ‘s discovery sets the wheels in motion for her to work her way backwards through her life in order to unravel the truth that has been hidden from her over the last decade. You will see things in the novel that young Annie doesn’t understand and is blinded to, which I feel strengthens our relationship with her as readers – I loved the fact that we are able to read young Annie’s journals after losing her mother and this gives you a real insight into the changes that happen in her young life as well as her thoughts and feelings as she responds to them.

I think the fact that Ros Franey makes documentaries really made this novel come to life for me – the research never threatens to overwhelm the narrative but it’s wonderfully clear to see. My grandmother Annie was in service during the 30s and it felt wonderful to explore the period she’d have been growing up in alongside such a fascinating and rebellious character as Annie. The fact that they shared a name added a little something extra to this novel for me and made me feel very connected with her and her family history too.

article-2263292-16F80425000005DC-421_966x648.jpg

Ros Franey can definitely write – Annie’s voice is deftly conjured and the characters spring to life right off the page. I felt myself right there at several points in this novel – with her naughty dog, Nana or admiring Miss Blessing’s delightful blue shoes and grew to love Annie’s individual and surprisingly modern sensibilities in a world where it’s much easier if young women are seen rather than heard. I loved this book and I think that you will definitely love Annie just as much as I did. Treat yourself to a copy here

Thanks to Anne Cater & Muswell Press for inviting me on the tour; I thoroughly involved my visit to Annie’s world and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys something a little bit different and loves social history – if you loved Call the Midwife, you’ll be intrigued into this insight into domestic life in period Nottingham and how people used to live.

Writer on the Shelf

Ros Franey grew up in Nottingham where this book is set. She is a maker of award-winning documentaries, including two films about the Guildford 4 which, along with the book she co-authored Timebomb, contributed to the quashing of their case. This is her second novel. She lives in Camden, North London.

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Meet Me At the Museum

Sometimes it takes a stranger to really know who you are..

When Tina Hopgood writes a letter of regret to a man she has never met, she doesn’t expect a reply.
When Anders Larsen, a lonely museum curator, answers it, nor does he.

They’re both searching for something, they just don’t know it yet.  Anders has lost his wife, along with his hopes and dreams for the future. Tina is trapped in a marriage she doesn’t remember choosing.

Slowly their correspondence blossoms as they bare their souls to each other with stories of joy, anguish and discovery. But then Tina’s letters suddenly cease, and Anders is thrown into despair.

Can their unexpected friendship survive?

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I was really excited to receive Anne Youngson’s debut novel – firstly because there had been such a buzz around it from so many readers that I respect and their description was making me desperate to get my hands on a copy and secondly because I knew that it was written as a series of letters.  I love novels in the epistolary form as I feel like you really get a sense of the speaker’s voice as well as feeling that you are somehow eavesdropping into a series of ‘found’ letters that – let’s face it – appeals to the curious among us all…

Tina and Anders are a fabulous pair to be eavesdropping on and the serendipitous nature of them  ‘meeting’ on the page is part of what totally charmed me about this utterly lovely book.

Tina’s first letter is to someone completely different, and it is only by chance that Anders, a lonely museum curator from Denmark is the one who replies.  When Tina was a child,  Professor Glob of the Silkeborg Museum in Denmark dedicated a book to Tina and her classmates. As an adult, Tina has always regretted not visiting and writes to him to explain how she feels – not knowing that Professor Glob  has passed away.

Anders replies, all the way from Denmark to Bury St Edmunds,  are a joy to read. It is truly a slow burner and I loved the way that their language and style alters as you turn the pages and their friendship grows. You can see them relaxing into this relationship and maybe because of its anonymity and uniqueness, being able to tell each other all kinds of things about their lives, hopes and dreams.

There is definitely something about writing something down rather than saying it that makes for a special kind of intimacy and their friendship blooms across the page as their letters talk about everything under the sun.

I love books like this, that you can immerse yourself in and enjoy as a treat – books that just hold you in their spell.  I’ve just been to see The Guernsey Literary & Potato Pie at the cinema and this book reminded me of reading that novel as it’s just as warm and touching with unexpected moments of connections between unlikely people that will definitely take you by surprise and win you over in a gentle and endearing way.

I would like to thank Anne Cater for inviting me on the tour. I absolutely loved this book and can see myself gifting it to lots of people as I think it’s going to be one of those books, that everyone will be talking about and asking whether you’ve read and I know loads of people who it’ll be the perfect gift for!

Treat yourself to a copy here

And make sure you keep an eye out for all the other fantastic bloggers who’ll be posting about it this week. How gorgeous does it look in my #OnTheShelfie? I was inspired by Tina’s farmhouse life to place it on my Welsh dresser for my picture this time with all my polka dots. I feel like Anders would like it!

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Writer on the Shelf

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ANNE YOUNGSON worked for many years in senior management in the car industry before embarking on a creative career as a writer.

She has supported many charities in governance roles, including Chair of the Writers in Prison Network, which provided residencies in prisons for writers. She lives in Oxfordshire and is married with two children and three grandchildren to date.

MEET ME AT THE MUSEUM is her debut novel, which is due to be published around the world.

 

Check out all of these amazing reviews!

The Observer Promising first-time British novelists 2018: ‘A novel about self-discovery and second chances’

‘I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone looking for a book that makes you think and wonder and quietly hope. I loved it’ TAMMY COHEN

‘Insightful, emotionally acute and absorbing’ Daily Express

‘A correspondence that begins with a search for clarity becomes something much deeper and richer – both for the two main characters, and for the reader.
Anne Youngson peels away the layers that prevent us from living the lives we ought to be leading, and her book is both tender and absorbing.’ LISSA EVANS, author of Their Finest Hour and a Half

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‘Meet Me at the Museum starts so quiet and small like a bud tightly closed against the winter then it unfurls into something so alive and truly beautiful. I was immensely moved by it’ TOR UDALL, author of A Thousand Paper Birds

‘Precise, clear, funny, poignant and truthful. This is a work of art, dear readers.
Revel in its beauty’ ADRIANA TRIGIANI

 

‘A moving tribute to friendship and love, to the courage of the ordinary, and to starting again’ RACHEL JOYCE

 

‘The loveliest short novel of late love you’ll ever read. Whenever I talk about it, I simply cry with joy’ JAMES HAWES
Read more  here

 

Fault Lines – The earth shook!

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A little lie… a seismic secret… and the cracks are beginning to show…

In a re-imagined contemporary Edinburgh, where a tectonic fault has opened up to produce a new volcano in the Firth of Forth, and where tremors are an everyday occurrence, volcanologist Surtsey makes a shocking discovery.  On a clandestine trip to new volcanic island The Inch, to meet Tom, her lover and her boss, she finds his lifeless body, and makes the fatal decision to keep their affair, and her discovery, a secret. Desperate to know how he died, but also terrified she’ll be exposed, Surtsey’s life quickly spirals into a nightmare when someone makes contact – someone who claims to know what she’s done…

 

I love Orenda books and can seriously say that I’ve never read a bad one yet. Combined with this, I love blogging about books written in or set in Scotland – so you can see why  I was so excited to receive this great new read from Doug Johnstone.  When I first discovered that this novel was set in a ‘reimagined Edinburgh’ I was totally intrigued. I grew up on the shores of the Firth of Forth so it was even more interesting to read about Surtsey’s adventures whilst being able to envisage the setting so clearly in my mind and remember so many occasions in these very places.

I was almost convinced that there literally might be a volcanic island that reared up in the Forth without my knowledge! Added to this, my maiden name was Johnstone so as you can see, I felt a real connection with this book and have recommended it to lots of people already. I am definitely featuring it in my Summer Reads column of 17 Degrees Magazine next month too as I love recommending books with a Scottish or local angle and I think this will definitely be a favourite read for lots of Scots this summer…

 

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Surtsey is well named for an aspiring volcanologist as she takes her unusual names from an Icelandic volcanic island. She has to endure a series of seismic events as this gripping novel unfolds and cracks certainly do appear, to continue with these volcanic metaphors.

Surtsey is planning an assignation with her very married lover Tom on the River Forth’s volcanic island The Inch when she discovers his body.  Fearful of the affair coming to light, she decides to say nothing about her dreadful discovery – but unfortunately for her, it’s all too late. Someone knows exactly what’s been going on and exactly what her involvement us too. This novel hurtles on at a cracking pace as we start to see these cracks start to appear in her life and it certainly kept me turning the pages!

Even though Surtsey is quite a complicated character who keeps her feelings close to her chest, I still really liked her. She is an intelligent and single-minded woman whose drive and determination are clear to see. It is also a nice counterpoint that we see a tender and caring side of her as she cares for her ailing mother and this definitely makes her a more rounded and credible character that has stayed with me long after finishing the book.

Even though this is a brief read, it’s certainly not slight and you’ll really be gripped by the twists and turns as you try and work out what exactly Surtsey has got herself caught up in and who is at the heart of the mystery she finds herself caught up in. As an English graduate, I worried at first that a book heavy on geology and ‘science’ would lose me or I’d lose interest in it – but I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth as I was totally caught up in this mystery and found myself wanting to find out more about the way that volcanoes work as a result.  Doug Johnstone wears his research well and it never feels like the science is extraneous to the plot or threatens to hijack the narrative at any point.

Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone is published by Orenda Books.
Many thanks to Karen @OrendaBooks for the review copy and @AnneCater for inviting me onto the blog tour.  I am so sorry that life got in the way and interrupted my post and am very happy to be sharing it with you today. This week really showed me that people in the book world are so supportive and lovely when life gets stressful and I truly feel privileged to work with such kind and caring folks

The blog tour continues tomorrow with BookieWookie and LizLovesBooks Catch up with it then as there are so many fabulous bloggers to look out for on this Orenda tour

Doesn’t it look amazing in my latest #OnTheShelfie

Treat yourself to a copy – you’ll love it  Fault Lines

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Writer on the Shelf

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Doug Johnstone is an author, journalist and musician based in Edinburgh. He’s had eight novels published, most recently Crash Land. His previous novel, The Jump, was a finalist for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year.

Doug is also a Royal Literary Fund Consultant Fellow. He’s worked as an RLF Fellow at Queen Margaret University, taught creative writing at Strathclyde University and been Writer in Residence at Strathclyde University and William Purves Funeral Directors.

He mentors and assesses manuscripts for The Literary Consultancy and regularly tutors at Moniack Mhor writing retreat. Doug has released seven albums in various bands, reviews books for the Big Issue, is player-manager for Scotland Writers Football Club and has a PhD in nuclear physics.

 

Catch up with him on his website here

And follow him on Twitter here

 

#OMGWACA Feeling the Love!

Aisling is twenty-eight and still lives at home with her parents. She loves a drink (always served on a coaster, she’s not an animal).

She thinks whoever invented the shirt/jumper combination – the schumper – is a fashion genius.

She’d rather die than miss a free hotel breakfast.

In short,she’s a complete Aisling.

Her boyfriend John is a bit of a ride, but after seven years Aisling wants more than two nights a week at his place. She wants to be able to answer the question ‘When’s it your turn?’ by flashing a ring on her finger.

Until a week in Tenerife with John ends in a break-up, and she surprises everyone by deciding it’s time to move on, and introduce the Big Smoke of Dublin to the ways of the complete Aisling . . .

 

Complete Aisling Blog Tour

So I’m part of the Bridget Jones generation. I was one of those newly graduated girls, meeting their friends for a #Chardonnay on a Friday night and talking about dating disasters, big knickers and calorie counting at exactly the same time as Bridget and her mates. It just felt so real at the time and I think this book will affect its readers in exactly the same way! I don’t think you have to be from Ireland to recognise an Aisling and I think that whether you’ve met one, are best pals with one  or are an Aisling, you’re going to love this book.

From the very start, where Aisling is in the horrible situation of being trapped in the loo, listening to her character being assassinated right in front of her ears, we bond with her and feel like she is a real person rather than a made up character from a novel.  Her agonies about how long you should wait to be proposed to, the terror of wasting an absolutely amazing breakfast buffet and the genius way that a good pair of dangly earrings can jazz up your whole outfit are relatable with a capital R

I literally could not put this book down, I was so caught up in Aisling’s journey and I’m sure you will be too. Her ‘romantic holiday’ is perfectly cringeworthily depicted as we feel her awaiting the not-so-imminent proposal with a heavy heart as she realises that it is just not going to happen. It’s hard to feel like that – that your life is just waiting to begin and if only this one thing happened then everything else will just fall into place. Even if for you it wasn’t a white frock and a reception at the swankiest venue in Ballygobbard, you’ll still be able to connect with Aisling’s feeling of ‘Why me’ when her life plan which seemed so logical, just doesn’t pan out the way she expects it to…

The next section, where Aisling moves to Dublin with Sadhbh and Elaine is a joy to read. It’s such fun to see Aisling embrace all of these new adventures with such gusto, even if you suspect she probably still has a spare pair of tights and some wet wipes in her handbag in case of emergencies. I loved the idea behind this book: that our future might not always be written the way that we think it is and that we can change our destiny without having to leave behind the things which make us our essential selves.

The Irish setting will be familiar to readers of Marian Keyes and it’s no coincidence that she loved the book too! #OMGWACA  isn’t just for an Irish audience though, there is lots here that you’ll recognise wherever you grew up. I totally fell for Aisling; she’s my favourite fictional character this year after Eleanor Oliphant. Although they are really different as characters, I think that what I love about them both is that they are uncompromisingly themselves throughout the book- regardless of what life throws at them.

This is the kind of book you’ll be quoting at your friends and begging them to read as you will want to have a good laugh talking about Aisling and thinking of all the ways you’ve either been like her or met someone who’s done exactly the same thing.

I loved the story behind the book too:

Authors Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen are Aislings. Maybe not complete Aislings but about 42%. The Aisling character was conceived in their sitting room in 2008, when they began to observe the many traits, characteristics and quirks of a very particular type of Irish girl; one they identified around them and one they identified with.

The Aisling character started as an in-joke between two best friends on a Facebook group which now boasts over 50,000 followers and counting.

 

Oh My God What a Complete Aisling

Check them out over on Facebook ~ Oh My God What a Complete Aisling

And check out some of the other fantastic bloggers on the tour – I loved hearing what they thought about Aisling and I love it when they reveal their own wee Aisling moments in their review. Mine was breaking up with an ex boyfriend and leaving a whole uni folder at his flat – then having to go back after my grand exit and shamefacedly retrieve my folder of notes on 18th century poetry whilst totally avoiding the sniggers of his flatmates who had totally been slagging me off as I arrived.

There’s a wee bit of Aisling in us all – I recommend you get out and treat yourself to a copy so that you can find out for yourself how much of an Aisling you really are…