The False Men- Mhairead MacLeod Q & A

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“North Uist, Outer Hebrides, 1848

Jess MacKay has led a privileged life as the daughter of a local landowner, sheltered from the harsher aspects of life. Courted by the eligible Patrick Cooper, the Laird’s new commissioner, Jess’s future is mapped out, until Lachlan Macdonald arrives on North Uist, amid rumours of forced evictions on islands just to the south.

As the uncompromising brutality of the Clearances reaches the islands, and Jess sees her friends ripped from their homes, she must decide where her heart, and her loyalties, truly lie.

Set against the evocative backdrop of the Hebrides and inspired by a true story, The False Men is a compelling tale of love in a turbulent past that resonates with the upheavals of the modern world.”

It’s fantastic to be participating in the blog tour for The False Men by Mhairead MacLeod. I’d like to thank Kelly Lacey at #LoveBooksGroupTours for inviting me on the tour and to Mhairead for her detailed and really fascinating replies to my questions

As a Scottish blogger with a Scottish History teacher for a husband,  I was intrigued to see the way that the Highland Clearances would be portrayed and how this dreadful time in history would be portrayed. I was delighted to be invited to do a Q & A as it was great to be able to go ‘behind the scenes’ with Mhairead and see what was behind the creative process in writing this historical novel with strong connections to real events.

What is your first memory of a piece of writing that made you feel proud? How old were you and do you still have it?

When I was eleven I won a national essay competition. All I can remember is that it was about a golden eagle, and I was more surprised than proud! I didn’t keep a copy, sure it wouldn’t win.

I grew up in a magical house in Scotland. It was very old with a large garden. I’d spend hours exploring, looking for secret passageways in the thick walls. It was then I fell for history and historical fiction.

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Your book, The False Men mixes the real events and a fictional narrative very skilfully – did you discover anything in your research that really surprised you and which aspects did you find most difficult to bring to life…

One of the joys of writing historical fiction is that it involves a process of discovery. Past lives fascinate me, especially where there is reflection in the present. Initially I was drawn to this particular story by the bravery of the young woman who my protagonist is based upon—and her love story. But while researching for it I was confronted by the horrific events of the Highland Clearances. The Clearances decimated the area I’ve written about, and this was only one of many communities in Scotland affected. These Clearances were undertaken brutally, and in writing the relevant scenes I wanted to respect the memory of those people. It’s clear from reading newspaper and government reports of the time that they handled their situation with dignity and resilience.

I still feel great sadness when I see abandoned crofts in an empty landscape. On the west coast, there’s one that used to belong to my ancestors.

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As a Scottish blogger, do you have a favourite Scottish writer or novel and what is it about them that makes you love them?

It started with Sir Walter Scott—I was intrigued by the Scottish romantic adventure—but there are so many wonderful modern Scottish writers now, it’s hard to choose. Aside from the realistic precision of Ian Rankin and Val McDermid’s crime novels, I’m drawn to novels set in an enigmatic time, such as The Sea Road by Margaret Elphinstone, and those that combine history with social questions, such as Joseph Knight by James Robertson. I think it’s wonderful that Robin Robertson’s book of poetry was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

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Which book -from any country or decade- do you wish that you’d written and why?

I wish I’d written To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Her story-telling style cuts to the heart. And I love Ian McEwan’s Atonement—the way he tells the historical story from the point of view of three different characters and every page is filled with insights and vivid language.Image result for atonement book

Your book is very poetic in places, do you read a lot of poetry and which poets would you say have inspired you as a writer?

Although I’ve had some poetry published, I wouldn’t consider myself a poet at all. I really woke up to poetry in my first year at university—I was drawn to the Romantic poets, such as Keats and Shelley, and later the imagery of Yeats’ work. I love the flow, beauty and power of lyrical writing.

Also, I’m married to an Australian poet who I think is very good (all bias aside!).

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Where do you write and do you have a regular writing routine?

I have a small writing room and my desk is so packed with the piles of books and articles I’m accessing for research, I have to push them aside as I add more. The windows look out onto greenery, but because my eyes are focused on the screen, I rarely have time to take in the fairly wild garden. I’m reminded to do better (and to watch my grammar) by a little badge which lies beside my laptop. It says, hopefully, i write good.

I try to write something most days, even if it’s just 100 words or so. When I was working full-time I’d get up at 5am and write as much as I could before work. At night, my brain was too tired to do any more, but stories and ideas were constantly circulating. If I get stuck for ideas, I’ll go for a walk or do something banal, like housework or cooking where I can think and try to resolve plot and character problems. And since I stopped lawyering full-time, I have a busy routine which involves learning ballet, singing in a choir and going to drawing classes.

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What’s your next writing project and can you tell us a little bit about what to expect – will it have any parallels with The False Men – for those of us that loved it?

I’ve recently finished a draft of a novel set in the tropical frontier of Australia in the 1920s. It centres on a young Scottish woman who’s had to leave Scotland to escape the consequences of something she’s done and now has to keep secret. She becomes a nurse with the goal of establishing the first private hospital in the region. It’s a different time period and scenario to The False Men, but the challenges facing the protagonist are just as problematic. So again there is an Australian-Scottish connection and the protagonist is inspired by an actual person.

I’m currently working on a time-slip novel set in both current-day Australia and early medieval Scotland. I’ll be back in Scotland next year to do some more research, which I’m very excited about.

 

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Writer On The Shelf

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Mhairead MacLeod was born in Inverness, Scotland and spent her early childhood on the Isle of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides.

She now lives in Brisbane, Australia where she worked as an ethics lawyer, investigator and university lecturer. She holds Masters degrees in both Law and in Creative Writing.

An earlier draft of The False Men was short-listed for a HarperCollins Varuna Award for Manuscript Development and also won a Hachette Manuscript Development Award.

Mhairead’s Website: https://www.mhaireadmacleod.com

Facebook: Mhairead MacLeod

Twitter: @MacleodMhairead

Instagram: @mhairead_macleod_author

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How to Find Love in the Little Things

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‘Welcome to Ocean View. You don’t know it yet, but you’ll be happy here…’

Julia’s not running away. Not exactly. She just needs a break from Paris and Marc and all the sad stuff that’s been going on lately. A little time to pull herself together.

The job offer felt like a lifeline. But now she’s back in Biarritz, suitcase in hand, she hasn’t the faintest idea what she was thinking.

What Julia doesn’t yet know is there’s more to the odds and ends of Ocean View than meet the eye. Behind the double doors lie broken hearts, lifelong secrets, a touch of romance and an unwavering passion for life. And sometimes it’s the most unlikely of places and people who help you find your way.

I was delighted to be invited onto the #LittleThings blog tour.  Or as they say in French ‘ enchanté’  Merci mille fois to Anne Cater from #RandomThingsTours for the blog tour invite.  J’aime this book!

 

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One of the things that made me so excited to read ‘How to Find Love in the Little Things’ was the absolutely gorgeous cover and publicity materials. It was so summery and cute that I started reading it right away as soon as it came through my letterbox and I was soon caught up in this cute and quirky story – I love this French pic too, it made me want to run through a sunflower field!

Julia was a great character and I really identified with her. It’s easy at times to think that we can be pragmatic in matters of the heart rather than embrace how we are really feeling about things. The fact that she has a background in psychology puts an interesting spin on this and maybe it’s true what they say – that sometimes the cobblers’ children are often the worst shod! it’s true I think that sometimes the people who are good at figuring out other people can sometimes be the least effective at showing insight into their own circumstances and Julia’s handling of her own grief is at times not quite what she might have prescribed for one of her clients.

Ocean View in beautiful Biarritz is an unforgettable place with lots of characters that will stay in your memory. I think that this setting really was inspired as there is such rich ground in a residential home. Each and every resident has their own tale to tell and because of the variety, I feel like each reader might find someone who chimes with their own experiences or their own loved ones. It challenges the idea that once you are old you cease to be a ‘real person’ as the residents here are still very much ‘alive & kicking’ I defy you not to fall for these characters and even though they are French rather than Scottish, I definitely saw lots that reminded me of going to spend time with my own beloved Nana when she was looked after in our local residential home thirty years ago.

Grimaldi is fantastically skilful at creating characters that we care about in funny, witty and memorable situations. She transports the reader to Biarritz and makes us feel part of life at Ocean View and with Julia on her journey towards understanding and hope for her future. I fell in love with this lovely novel – it was just what I needed after being immersed in True Crime and more bloody reads and I relaxed into it in a warm bath and found it very difficult to tear myself back to reality such as unloading the washing machine.

I loved my lesson in  ‘How to Find Love in the Little Things’ and although this is the first book I’ve read in this genre for a long time, I was enchanted by Virginie Grimaldi and will be recommending it to my friends who like an immersive read that makes you reflect on your own life and count all your blessings whilst enjoying Julia’s tale at the same time.

I was sad to say ‘Bon Voyage’ to Ocean View and am looking forward to seeing what else Virginie Grimaldi writes next! Doesn’t it look Chouette in my #OnTheShelfie

Writer On The Shelf

Virginie Grimaldi grew up in Bordeaux and has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember.
She wrote her first novel aged eight in a green notebook with multiplication tables in the back. It was about love and the sea and featured a thirty-page-long sunset . . .
How to Find Love in the Little Things was first published in France in May 2016 and became an instant bestseller, translated into multiple languages.
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#RandomThingsTours

 

 

 

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The Girl I Used To Be – Blog Tour

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How can you hide your mistakes when you don’t know what they are?

Gemma Brogan needs a break from her life.

A work event looks the ideal chance to get away. And a friendly new client seems like the perfect gentleman when he joins Gemma for an innocent dinner . . .

But the next morning she has no memory of how the night ended and he has vanished into thin air.

Suddenly, Gemma is plunged into a twisted nightmare she can’t control. To protect her future, and her family, she will have to confront shocking secrets from her past – and the truth about the girl she used to be.

Completely gripping and full of page-turning twists, this is the perfect psychological thriller for fans of Erin Kelly’s HE SAID SHE SAID and Laura Marshall’s FRIEND REQUEST.

 

I’m absolutely delighted to be closing the Blog Tour for Mary Torjussen’s new novel The Girl I Used To Be and I absolutely loved the twists and turns of this addictive and well-plotted new slice of Domestic Noir.

The Girl I Used To Be is a totally page-turning read that kept me gripped and glued to the page last week in rainy Aberfeldy.  Gemma is a memorable an sympathetic protagonist and we find ourselves gripped by the nightmarish situation that she ends up inextricably tangled up in. I was happy to be in from the rain, looking out at the gorgeous views from the warmth of our holiday home, totally caught up in this fast-paced and moreish read.

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One of the main reasons that I think we feel so strongly about Gemma’s situation is that she seems like the kind of person we actually might know. Despite the nightmarish situation she ends up in, we never feel like this is improbable or unbelievable. Gemma’s credibility helps make this such a pacy read as we really really want to know what happens to her and how her past decisions will ultimately affect her future. The fact that this is based in an estate agent’s will resonate with lots of true crime lovers as they’re bound to think about the Susie Lamplugh and it really does make you think about the most ordinary encounters we might have in quite a different light at times. Gemma’s client turns out to be a lot more sinister than she initially suspects and this is where the story really starts to get grippy.  Gemma’s inner voice tells us that things are not quite as they seem and I feel like this is a sound reminder to us that we should probably listen to that little niggle in real life as it might be the difference between life and death in some situations.Image result for susie lamplugh

I really enjoyed the way that Gemma was far from being a stereotypical female character, wondering about why men are so crappy or pining over her ex. Gemma has a career and is in a very modern marriage where her partner is the ‘Daddy Daycare’ in the marriage, looking after wee Rory whilst Gemma runs her very successful estate agents. The way that even the most normal of couples have secrets lurking beneath the surface of their marriage and might be very different people than their spouses suspect is a returning theme in domestic noir and I feel like it’s very well-handled here – we immerse ourselves in the facts that emerge and see things start to unravel before our very eyes in a wholly convincing way and I just could NOT put it down! So happy that I was somewhere so tranquil so that I could just keep turning those pages…

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The Girl I Used To Be is a must read for all fans of domestic noir who like to be pulled into a story and held there until the very last page.  I’d like to thank Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and introducing me to such a pageturner. I hadn’t read anything else by Mary Torjussen I can’t wait to explore her other books. Grab yourself a copy here and immerse yourself in Gemma’s nightmare collision of past and present for yourself!

I think that it looks gorgeous in my #OnTheShelfie and it’s put me in the mood for some True Crime so I’m off to explore the shelves and see what I can come up with.

 

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Writer On The Shelf

Mary Torjussen grew up in Stoke-on-Trent. There was no television in her family home so books have always been her escape – she spent hours reading and writing stories as a child. Mary has an MA in Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moores University, and worked as a teacher in Liverpool before becoming a full-time writer. She has two adult children and lives on the Wirral, where her debut novel, GONE WITHOUT A TRACE, is set

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Catch up with Mary on Twitter   

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Sky’s the Limit – Q and A with Janie Millman

 

Sky is devastated when she finds that her husband is in love with someone else, even more that it is her oldest friend Nick. She has lost the two most important men in her life and can’t ever trust either of them again.

To escape, she goes alone on a dream trip to Marrakesh and meets Gail, on a mission to meet the father of her child, a man she loved but thought did not want her.

In Marrakesh, Sky and Gail both find unexpected joys – and surprises. For Sky these lead to France, to a beautiful chateau and a family whose relationships seem as complicated as her own. 

 

Today on the blog I’m absolutely delighted to return from my trip up north where we actually experienced some rain in what seemed like the first time in weeks and post a Q and A with the lovely Janie Millman.

We were staying in the gorgeous village of Comrie in Perthshire and it has been a great feeling to cosy up in our holiday home with a book and a huge cup of tea and hear the rain pattering down. Comrie is a long way from the more exotic destinations in Janie’s book and the contrast between the green fields outside my window and the heat and spices of a Moroccan evening was a fantastic combination. It certainly has me longing for my next holiday abroad and as Mr OnTheShelf has never been to Marrakech, it’s certainly got me thinking.

I loved escaping to the distant destinations of Sky’s the Limit and if you’re missing your holiday destination already, or packing for foreign climes then this is the perfect book to bring along with you. Treat yourself to a copy here

Thank you so much to Emily from Dome Press for inviting me on the Tour, I loved all of Janie’s replies and think we have a lot in common from our love of Scarlett O’Hara to our addiction to travelling. Thanks so much to Janie for her reflections on my questions and I am definitely looking forward to reading all about her next adventure, inspired by her trip to Crete and who knows, maybe one day I’ll be lucky enough to get to visit Chez Castillon for myself…

1. What is your first memory of a piece of writing that made you feel proud? How old were you and do you still have it?

When I was in my last year at primary school – I would have been about ten years old – we were asked to write a story that would then be turned into a small book. I can clearly recall the excitement I felt even though at that stage I had no aspirations to be a writer!

We had to design the cover ourselves and then the little book was bound up by our form mistress. I can’t remember what my book was called nor can I really remember exactly what it was about – I think it was about a family much like my own family but with a dog – I do remember the dog!
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I remember feeling incredibly proud as I was presented with my book. I know that the wonderment I felt then was replicated the other day when I held Sky’s the Limit for the first time and I imagine it will be the same with the next one. I hope so – I never want the magic to fade. I think everyone in Mrs Thomas’ class felt the same – it was an inspirational idea by an inspirational form mistress.

I have no idea if I still have it but I imagine it lurks somewhere in a box in my parents’ house because they throw nothing away! I’m not really sure I want to read it again – it may spoil the memories.

2. Your book, Sky’s the Limit, is set in two really gorgeous locations – where is your dream holiday destination and why?

This is a hard one to answer because basically, I want to go everywhere! I love Thailand and I loved India but the place I return to most is Greece. I have visited so many islands and I have loved every single one. I adore the culture, I adore the people, I adore the blue skies and the crystal water, I adore the food and I even adore the retsina!

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I studied Greek Literature at school and perhaps this is where my love of the country first started. One thing for sure is that it holds a fascination for me like no other place.

3. Sky goes through a massive journey in this book – literally as well as metaphorically. What part of the book did you enjoy writing the most and which parts did you find most challenging?

I guess the most challenging part was to make sure that Sky and Nick – and perhaps to a lesser degree, Miles – were sympathetically portrayed. I wanted to make sure that no one person was seen as the villain.

They are all victims of a very difficult situation, but it is through no fault of their own. They are all deserving of love and all deserving of a happy life. It just takes a while to get there!
To be honest I loved writing it all. I especially loved writing about Marrakech, it brought back so many fabulous memories and I loved bringing the reader to South West France – a place I now call home.

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I always love writing my characters; I enjoy discovering them, delving into them and finding out their hidden secrets and I love the fact that they constantly surprise me.

4. Which book – from any country – do you wish that you’d written and why?

Well really it has to be Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – such a hugely evocative book with the most superb characters. It is a book which stays with you forever and that is exactly the sort of thing I would love to achieve. It may not happen but one can dream…Image result for scarlett and rhett
I also love Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier for the same reasons and I love To Kill a Mocking Bird – but then again who doesn’t?

5. Your book is very atmospheric and really transports the reader to these gorgeous locations – where was it actually written and what was the inspiration for these locations?

Years ago, when I was fourteen, I visited Marrakech – it wove a spell around me and I promised myself I would go back. And I did! A few years ago, my husband and I spent a week in Marrakech staying in the very same Riad that features in Sky’s The Limit. That was when the idea was born – that was the real inspiration behind the book.

Sky’s the Limit was actually written in South West France because that is where I live. However just before I started writing it, I was diagnosed with cancer – so in fact a lot of it was written lying in bed in a Bordeaux Hospital or sitting in the salle d’attente waiting for my treatment!

6. Where do you write normally and do you have a regular writing routine?

I am lucky enough to have a library, so sometimes I write in there if is not in use – here at Chez Castillon , we run writing courses & retreats and so obviously the students have priority!Image result for chez castillon

I also write at our kitchen table, as I am doing now in fact, and sometimes I take my computer outside to a shady area of the garden overlooking the pool. I basically write whenever and wherever I can.

My alarm is set for 6.00 am and I like to get words down before the madness of the day begins. This doesn’t always happen of course but I do try!

7. What’s your next writing project and can you tell us a little bit about what to expect – will it have any parallels with Sky’s the Limit – for those of us that loved it and where will it be located?

My next book is set in Greece – we visited Crete last year on a research trip – oh okay, a holiday then – and we stayed in an old film directors’ house – we met some wonderful characters and I felt so inspired. Now I’m not going to say anymore – you’ll just have to wait and see!

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Open Your Eyes Blogtour

Haven’t we all wanted to pretend everything is fine?

Jane doesn’t like confrontation. Given the choice, she’d prefer to focus on what’s going well, the good things in life.

But when her husband, Leon, is brutally attacked in the driveway of their home, in front of their two young children, Jane has to face reality. As he lies in a coma, Jane must open her eyes to the problems in her life, and the secrets that have been kept from her, if she’s to find out who hurt her husband – and why.

Maybe it’s time to face up to it all. Who knows what you might find . . .

PRAISE FOR PAULA DALY:

‘The UK’s answer to Liane Moriarty. Amazing.’ Claire McGowan

Thoroughly enjoyable – a big-hearted, empathetic novel about ordinary lives and the tremors that can rock them.’ Guardian

‘Kept me guessing right until the end. I devoured it.’ Claire Douglas

‘Deliciously dark and addictive. I defy anyone starts it not to race through the pages until they reach the final, brilliant twist.’ Colette McBeth

‘She writes with a singular voice and a fierce passion that roars off the page.’ Daily Mail

Open Your Eyes opens in a startling and traumatic way when we witness a brutal and relentless attack on Leon in his own driveway. The way that Paula Daly takes this attack and uses it to weave a clever, shocking and addictive read about the repercussions of violence and the secrets that can lurk just below the surface of everyday family life made for a page-turning summer read.

The fact that Jane is not just dealing with an attack but the domino effect this has on her peace of mind as events unravel made this very difficult to put down as we get caught up in the way that Jane’s mind is working and desperate to get to the heart of the mystery that we sense as we move closer to the ‘reveal’ Jane is a fantastic character and the fact that she and Leon are both writers is a brilliant touch. The fine line between truth and fictions and the characters that we invent for ourselves and others are intriguing themes and I loved the way that Paula Daly tantalises us with tiny glimpses of information throughout the novel so that we follow these breadcrumbs greedily throughout the novel.

In terms of a Domestic Noir read, this outclasses many of its competitors – the fact that Dark Water will be appearing on screen next year should show you that Paula Daly is really writing at the top of her game. If you love Liane Moriarty and haven’t read any of Paula’s books yet then you are definitely in for a treat. Get down to your nearest bookshop and order the lot – the setting, characterisation and level of suspense are fantastically sustained and you’ll end up like me with dark circles under your eyes the next day as I had to keep reading this until I was done.

I began Open Your Eyes on a flight home from an action-packed weekend in Ireland – and even though I was totally exhausted on my journey back, I continued reading it when I got home and didn’t close it until I turned the very last page.Image may contain: 6 people, including Jill Adams, people smiling, outdoor

 

I’d like to thank Anne Cater for inviting me on the blog tour and absolutely recommend that you get out there and buy it for yourself. This was hard to review with no spoilers because there are so many twists and turns, you’ll be dizzy. It’s a dark, immersive and dramatic read that I will be recommending to everyone…

Open Your Eyes is an absolutely fantastic Summer Read. What are you waiting for – Order a copy for yourself right here

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Writer On The Shelf

Paula Daly is the acclaimed author of five novels. Her work has been sold in fifteen countries, shortlisted for CWA Gold Dagger Crime Novel of the Year award, and her books are currently being developed into the ITV drama – Deep Water – set to air in 2019. She was born in Lancashire and lives in the Lake District with her husband, three children, and whippet Skippy.

Catch up with Paula on  Twitter

I also really enjoyed reading her Journey to Publication by Dead Good Books

Can’t wait to see Deep Water on TV next year!

Five Unforgivable Things. Blogtour

Almost thirty years ago, Kate’s dream came true. After years of struggling, she was finally pregnant following pioneering IVF. But the dream came at a cost. Neither Kate nor her husband Dan could have known the price they would have to pay to fulfil their cherished wish of having their own family. Now, years later, their daughter Natalie is getting married and is fulfilling her own dream of marrying her childhood sweetheart. Natalie knows she won’t be like most brides as she travels down the aisle in her wheelchair, but it’s the fact her father won’t be there to walk beside her that breaks her heart. Her siblings, Ollie, Beth and Jenny, gather around Natalie, but it isn’t just their father who is missing from their lives… as the secrets that have fractured the family rise to the surface, can they learn to forgive each other before it’s too late?

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This was a moving and engrossing read about the journey to becoming a family – with all the twists and turns and ups and downs realised for you in a very humane way. You will enjoy reading about Dan and Kate’s journey – from the first time they met to their trials and tribulations on the rocky pathway to parenthood, Many readers will be ablevto identify with the situations they foind themselves in and be rooting for them as their story unfolds

The structure of the book a it mirrors the five Unforgivable Things was well done and allows the reader an inight into this family’s hjourney from several differnt perspectives. This gives us a 360 insight into the situations that arise and allow your sympathies and allegiances to subtly shift as the book unfolds. Whether you fel a stronger bond with Kate, Natalie, Jenny or Beth – you’ll certainly want to keep turning the pages to see what happens as you become engrossed in the fabric of their family life.

I love a novel with family secrets at the heart of it and I was intrigued to keep reading to see what was lurking beneath the surace of Kate’s family life. It is true that ew often don’t realise the consequences of our actions until years later – and this is definitely the case in Kate’s family history… I never give spoilers so I’m not even going to hint here about what is the ultimate cost of wanting a family so much that you’ll do anything to make it happen. You’ll just have to read it for yourself and find out.

 

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I feel that Viven Brown managed to balance the fictional world she created with the real life desperation so many people in this situation go through absolutely perfectly. This is a poignant read at times, made all the more affecting by the fact that her characters ring true and their situations feel like they are really unfolding to a family that you’ve come to know and care about as you are reading about their lives. If you love a good soap opera and can’t resist a family drama, you’ll find loads here that will draw you in and keep you engrossed until you’ve finished the very last paragraph. A great summer read that will keep you on the sunbed until you’ve finished the entire thing!

Buy yourself a copy here

Writer On The Shelf

Vivien Brown lives in west London with her husband and two cats. She worked for many years in banking and accountancy, and then, after the birth of twin daughters, made a career switch and started working with young children, originally as a childminder but later in libraries and children’s centres, promoting the joys of reading and sharing books through story-times and book-based activities and training sessions.

As Vivien Hampshire, she has written many short stories for the women’s magazine market and a range of professional articles and book reviews for the nursery and childcare press, in addition to a ‘how to’ book based on her love of solving cryptic crosswords. Now a full-time writer, working from home, Vivien is combining novel-writing and her continuing career in magazine short stories with her latest and most rewarding role as doting grandmother.

The Light Between Us – Blog Tour

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Thea and Isaac first met at University. Theirs was an instant connection but it never went further than friendship.

Because, then and now, Thea only has eyes for her work. Not just her course, but also a private project – Thea is determined to prove that time travel is not just the stuff of science fiction. And she has never told anyone the reason why.

When one of their friends goes missing in an experiment, Isaac and Thea must work together to find her – forcing them to re-examine their own friendship.

Is it really as platonic as they used to think?

The Light Between Us is a story of unrequited love and second chances. It begs the dangerous question that we all ask ourselves – what could have been?

 

Katie Khan is a new writer for me and after reading this, I’m definitely going to seek out Hold Back the Stars. As a teacher, I love that Katie is blending Science with modern life and relationships and think it’s definitely something that a lot of my older students would really enjoy. Will be ordering both of them for the school library once we are back to school this month for sure!

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Thea is a fantastic character and a great role model for my students – to be so dedicated to such a big project and put such heart and soul into it is such a positive thing for young women to read about. There is definitely a lack of women in women’s fiction who are so passionate about STEM Subjects and because of this, I think it will attract a lot of love from the girls looking for someone in a story who’s like them and cares about the same kinds of things that they do. Rosy, Urvisha and Ayo are a fantastic #GirlGang for Thea and it’s great to read a novel with such convincingly depicted female friends – who talk about more than just boys!  Passing the Bechdel Test right there Katie 🙂

 

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Like Thea, I am fascinated by the idea of Time Travel and it’s something in fiction that I’m really drawn to – I love both The Outlander series and The Time Traveller’s Wife and think that it’s a very underrated genre. Thea’s passion and determination is vividly realised and you are so drawn into her story that you actually find yourself forgetting that this isn’t quite possible yet. I found that Thea’s determination to keep going with her theory when everyone around her is fairly dismissive of her theories a very convincingly depicted aspect of the novel and I’m sure lots of the readers will be able to relate to this in their own working life, even though most of us are not persisting with anything as revolutionary as time travel…

The relationship between Thea and Issac was also very well balanced. It was a relationship that a lot of us might have been in at one point in our lives so can really connect with. One of those relationships where like Dire Straights sings in Romeo & Juliet maybe ‘we were right, but the time was wrong’   I was really rooting for them throughout the novel to finally see each other in a different way and realise that despite her prickly nature and his seeming detachment that maybe the something that connected them together for so long was definitely more than friendship! If you want to know whether they ever actually do become a couple – no spoilers! – You’re just going to have to read it for yourself…

This is a fascinating read that is well paced and really makes Thea’s world spring to life right off the page.  It’s a little bit of a different read from my other books this summer and I found it a real palate-cleanser. It was a refreshing take on the coming-of-age novel with real insight into how friendships evolve and what it takes to make your dreams come true, no matter how many people tell you to give up along the way. Massive kudos to Katie for being brave enough to go somewhere a little bit different in her fiction – whilst still remaining accessible enough for non-scientific folks( like me!) to still really enjoy her writing.

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Massive thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and for my copy of this fantastic book.  If you like something that will make you smile, make you think and carry you off into a different world then this might be your next favourite Summer Read.  I read it in a gorgeous loft near St Andrews in Fife and my sister has now pinched it as I talked about it so much 🙂

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Writer On The Shelf

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Katie Khan has spent 10 years working in online editorial in the film industry,
including 4 years as Head of Digital at Paramount Pictures. She joined Warner Bros. in 2017 to work on a major film production. Her first book, Hold Back the Stars, is being adapted into a film by the producers of Stranger Things.
She is a graduate of the acclaimed Faber Academy writing course.

Katie lives in London with her boyfriend and rescue cat Artie.