The Fortune Teller’s Promise Blog Tour


The Fortune Teller's Promise - Blog Tour Poster.jpgCounting things in threes usually calms Dell’s crippling anxiety—the passionflower vine along the shop wall, the jimsonweed by the roadside, the sleeping valley in the distance—until the day her baby daughter goes missing.

1979, Virginia. Growing up amongst the sprawling valleys and forests of Blyth, beautiful young Dell has always had a natural intuition for how to fix other people’s hurts, if not her own. She hopes for a better future, although thanks to her alcoholic father and narcissistic mother, happiness seems far out of her reach. She certainly could never have predicted holding her baby girl for the first time, and the life-changing, powerful love she would feel when she did.

Even as a heartbroken single mother in a small town riddled with gossips, she suddenly feels that she can do this. She can raise her daughter. But when she turns to her own mother for help, her mother convinces her that the child would be better off with another family. With nobody to fight her corner, Dell must watch the local church take the baby away, leaving her alone and completely devastated.

Dell feels there’s nothing left for her in her tiny hometown but heartache and shattered dreams, and so she flees, vowing never to go back. It finally seems like luck is on her side when she finds a small shop for rent, overlooking the peaceful Shenandoah Valley. This quiet corner of paradise feels like the perfect place to heal and use her gift to help others heal, too. Until Dell’s mother tracks her down to tell her that her baby girl is missing.

Dell knows she won’t find out where her child is in the stars or on her palms. Instead, she must do the one thing she promised she never would. She must return to Blyth.

Will what Dell finds there finally heal her fragile heart, or break it into a thousand irreparable pieces?

An unforgettable and heart-wrenching debut about the endurance of love, the power of forgiveness, and finding beauty in the world around us. Your must-read book of 2019.

Perfect for fans of Where the Crawdads Sing, Kristin Hannah and Kerry Lonsdale.

One of the reasons that I most love book blogging and blog tours is that no two books I’m ever invited to review are the same. When I was invited onto the tour for The Fortune Teller’s Promise I was really excited as I always like reading books that I’ve not got a preconception of before I  begin.  Discovering new favourite reads can be one of the best things about being a book blogger – e as well as hearing what all my other blogging friends thought too. It’s like a virtual book group where you are waiting every day to see what other people enjoyed about your book…

I was really intrigued to read The Fortune Teller’s Promise as  I love novels that deal with family relationships and how different generations interact and the complexities that lurk beneath the surfaces of most families’ lives.  As soon as this book arrived,  I wanted to open it up and find out how these family members’ lives would unfold and I loved the fact that it was set somewhere that clearly meant a lot to Kelly Heard as she grew up somewhere very very similar.   I loved the initial premise of family separation and the idea of returning somewhere from your part to try and resolve your future.  I found this book totally engrossing once I’d started: I really wanted to get to the heart of this story and discover what had happened to Dell’s baby and how she would respond to the shocking and unexpected news of her disappearance.

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I also enjoyed the way that Kelly Heard’s novel allows us to see the reality of families and the complexity of relationships, rather than just the ‘happy ever after’ that we are so often presented with in fiction and I think that this is one of the things that I enjoyed most about this book. The way that you can feel so connected to and distant from your own roots is exceptionally well-drawn and a testament to her skill as a writer that we really believe in the relationships and interactions with one another in the small-town setting of Blyth.  I’m sure that there are many people reading this novel and nodding their heads in recognition at the way this town works and some of its inhabitants.

The way that Kelly Heard builds in the uncertainties about what’s really going on beneath the surface and slowly develops our understanding of what is going on in the heads of these characters is convincingly done and leads to you feeling like you can really start to understand Dell as a character and empathise with the challenging situation she finds herself in and I’m looking forward to hearing what my sister thought of her over a long coffee date as soon as possible.

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The scenes where Dell is trying to deal with the ramifications of the disappearance and the impact of this on her emotionally have an incredibly realistic feel and the comparisons with Kristin Hannah are definitely well deserved. I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to immerse myself in the intricacies of this world and found it really thought-provoking to think about what I might have done in Dell’s situation and admire her bravery and resilience in the way she dealy with such an impossible situation.

The Fortune Teller’s Promise is a moving and immersive read as it takes a genuine look at what we really mean by ‘family’ It allows us a glance into relationships where peoples’ needs are complex and real and dares us to ask ourselves what we might have lost along the way in our own lives. Its’ setting in Virginia is another aspect that I really enjoyed and it really made me feel like I was able to immerse myself in events where the beauty of the surroundings and the complexities of what is unfolding is deftly juxtaposed.


I always enjoy a book much more if I’m not hyping myself up before I read it and The Fortune Teller’s Promise was exactly that. It was definitely a grower and I found myself thinking about these characters and the repercussions of their choices whilst driving to work and marking my essays at school this week. I will definitely seek out more books by Kely Heard and am keen to keep pushing myself to choose more novels by writers that are new to me in the second half of 2019.

Treat yourself to a copy of The Fortune Teller’s Promise here

One of the things I always do if I’ve loved the setting of a book is to follow it on the fantastic site The Book Trail  – Follow the Book Trail here for The Fortune Teller’s Promise

Writer On The Shelf


I’ve written to entertain myself since I learned how to write the alphabet, but sharing my work with others will always feel new to me.

I started writing novels in high school, but finally wrote one I loved enough to query in 2017. That book will release later this year with Bookouture, along with another to follow in 2020. 

I grew up in the mountains of Virginia, but currently live outside Richmond with my husband, our daughter, and the worst-natured house cat that has ever lived.

I prefer writing to most other pastimes, but you’ll occasionally find me in the garden, hiking, or exploring thrift shops (the spookier the better).

Twitter is the best way to keep up with me, though I’ll share news on releases here as well. 



The Glittering Hour Blog Tour

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1925. The war is over and a new generation is coming of age, keen to put the trauma of the previous one behind them. Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing whose life is dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure; to parties and drinking and staying just the right side of scandal. Lawrence Weston is a struggling artist, desperate to escape the poverty of his upbringing and make something of himself. 

When their worlds collide one summer night, neither can resist the thrill of the forbidden, the lure of a love affair that they know cannot possibly last. But there is a dark side to pleasure and a price to be paid for breaking the rules. By the end of that summer, everything has changed. A decade later, nine-year-old Alice is staying at Blackwood Hall with her distant grandparents, piecing together clues from her mother’s letters to discover the secrets of the past, the truth about the present, and hope for the future.


As so many of my blogposts will testify, I absolutely adore a period read and this has to be my favourite of this year. Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour and giving me the chance to be transported back in time and getting the chance to meet Selina and Lawrence, who again have to be one of my favourite romantic pairings of 2019.

I loved the fact that this pair of star-crossed lovers, from totally different backgrounds, were brought together by what feels like fate one hot summer evening.  A Summer evening that ends up having enormous repercussions for Alice 10 years later, and I  was totally engrossed in her story that we uncover and the chance to hear more about the cache of letters that she uncovered.


Its the roaring 20s when the Bright Young Things were at the peak of their decadent denial of the war years. We first meet Selina when she’s caught up in a rackety and decadent world of parties, afternoon cocktails and midnight high jinks.  Her only fears are wearing the wrong thing or being seated next to a frightful bore at dinner.

The party on the night in question takes the guise of a treasure hunt where the guests must rove around in packs deciphering the clues. Instead of cocktails and flirting, this party takes an unexpected turn when’s Selina finds herself taking care of a wounded animal and this is where Laurence enters her world.

Lawrence is from a wholly different social stratosphere- he’s  a struggling artist who is Totally different to the young well bred society chaps that Selina is accustomed to, and pretty bored of meeting. As the summer unfolds, they rub shoulders at many summer entertainments and seek each other out at society exhibitions and parties – finding a strong connection in each other despite their social divide. As you can imagine, this relationship is very much frowned upon and has to be carried out with a bit of ingenuity as Lawrence is definitely not what most well-bred mamas were expecting their daughter to ‘catch’ in a successful Summer season. Selina Is definitely not one to obey social rules and throws caution and etiquette to the wind as she falls deeply in love with someone who she cares for far more than society’s expectations…



Alice plays the role of narrator in this novel and we fall absolutely in love with her story as this novel draws us skilfully in. She’s 10 years old when we meet her at Blackwood Hall, the home of her grandparents. She reminded me a bit of Mary in The Secret Garden as her life is quite a lonely one, in a world where she’s cared for by servants and governessses and misses her mother dreadfully. In order to assuage the pain of their separation, her mother challenges her to a treasure hunt – using her old letters like riddles to give her clues about her history and her past. This allows Alice to ‘meet’ her mother across the years, giving us an insight into the events of 1925 from a very personal perspective which really worked for me. I felt like this book held me in its spell and took me backwards in time so that I was experiencing these events right alongside them.

The fact that we are experiencing the narrative through two very distinct timelines is something else that I really love in a novel and I found myself equally captivated by both aspects of the novel.  I found Alice to be an intriguing and captivating character  and very much enjoyed the agile and intelligent way that she dealt with the mysteries in her mother’s letters and found myself rooting for her to be reunited with her mother soon after all her ingenuity.




This is the perfect read for a cosy afternoon on the sofa and it feels weird to be posting this from sunny Rhodes in the Dodecanese on my October break. Today is my blogging anniversary – it’s been 3 years since I wrote my very first blogpost and I can’t think of a better book to be celebrating my blogsversary with.

Make sure that you follow the rest of the fabulous bloggers on this RandomThings Tour and see how much they loved it too.

Treat yourself to a copy here

Amazon UK


Writer On The Shelf

Iona Grey Author Picture

Iona Grey has a degree in English Literature and Language from Manchester University, an obsession with history and an enduring fascination with the lives of women in the twentieth century. She lives in rural Cheshire with her husband and three daughters.

Follow her on Twitter: @iona_grey.

 ‘An epic story of joyous hedonism and desperate heartache. Just beautiful’ CATHERINE ISAAC 


‘Gorgeously written … I loved it’ JILL MANSELL

 ‘An enchanting, evocative read  ‘THE SUN 

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Brandos Bride – Blog Tour

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In October 1957 Marlon Brando married a young studio actress called Anna Kashfi. He was thirty-three and at the pinnacle of his beautiful fame having recently won an Oscar for ‘On the Waterfront’.

The wedding was front-page news around the world. His new bride was twenty-three, claimed to be an Indian princess and was pregnant.

The day after the wedding a factory worker living in Wales, William O’Callaghan, revealed that Brando’s bride was, in fact, his daughter, Joan O’Callaghan. He said she had been a butcher’s assistant in Cardiff.

Who was telling the truth and who was lying? And, perhaps most importantly, why?

It’s no secret to anyone who regularly reads my blog that I love a true story and go off down rabbit holes after reading books as I’ve got so caught up in the lives that have unfolded before me.  I think that Hollywood’s thin veneer of glamour and the grit behind the greasepaint particularly fascinating and so I was dying to read this book when Anne Cater invited me onto the blog tour.

On 11 October 1957, Hollywood actor Marlon Brando married Anna Kashfi (pictured), 'a 23-year-old actress from Darjeeling.'


Anna Kashfi, the first wife of Hollywood icon Marlon Brando, is someone who I’d never even heard of – but the blurb was absolutely intriguing.  Although her troubled life has largely been forgotten in the annals of Hollywood legends, I was delighted to discover Sarah Broughton’s vivid and fascinating research and literally could not put this book down.

Strikingly ‘exotic’ Anna Kashfi was born to Indian parents Devi Kashfi and Selma Ghose. and actually grew up in India, relocating to Wales when her mother met William Patrick O’Callaghan. Anna first hit the bright lights when she was cast in  The Mountain (1955), with Hollywood icons Robert Wagner and Spencer Tracy. and the rest, as they say, was history…

The truth – if you prefer to believe Patrick O’Callaghan – was that all this was absolute balderdash:  his daughter was actually called plain old Joan and didn’t have a drop of Indian blood running through her veins at all. The myth behind the legend was absolutely that – total myth. So who do you believe? This novel will let you have a look at the full story, warts and all.

Anna Kashfi was really Joan Mary O'Callaghan from Cardiff, a former cashier in a butcher's shop (Pictured: Anna/Joan and Marlon)


This book allows us to go ‘behind the stage’ and get a closer view of the story from all perspectives. Looking at the way Hollywood operated and the lure of the bright lights and how it encouraged young starlets to have a ‘story’ and stick to it whatever the cost.

Anna’s story would still be absolutely fascinating in its own right, even if she had never even met Marlon Brando. But the fact that her life collided with genuine Hollywood royalty added another layer of intrigue and fascination to the story for me.  I

Brando’s Bride is an intriguing and exceptionally clear portrait of the inner workings of  Hollywood at this time and the dense and impenetrable logic of the fabled studio system. These studios maintained an absolute iron grip over their budding starlets – and the psychological impact of this intense scrutiny and pressure is abundantly clear to see as we look at Anna’s trajectory and of the fellow starlets she was surrounded by on these lots.

The couple remained locked in combat, as, on her wedding day, Anna was pregnant

Broughton’s writing is clear and reads well, it never comes across as research shoehorned into a story and I feel that we are allowed to see Anna as a real person rather than an incidental starlet who intersected with Brando the legend.

After finishing it, I went off happily to pore over old photographs and read more about Anna and her foray into the bright lights and stardust of Hollywood and came away curious about the other British actresses that made their way across the pond and the personal cost that comes with this level of fame and the levels of scrutiny you are living your life under.

Buy yourself a copy of the book here. I read it last Sunday and got totally lost in it – the way I used to over old black and white movies on my grandmother’s settee on a cold wintry afternoon.

This article came up in my research and was a fascinating companion piece to the book itself


Brando's Bride Cover

Writer On The Shelf

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Sarah Broughton has worked in the television industry for the last two decades. Her company, Martha Stone Productions, made the recent BBC 4 documentary Andrew Davies: Rewriting the Classics – and has various other film and television projects in development. Parthian Books published Sarah’s first novel, Other Useful Numbers. She is currently completing a part-time PhD in Creative Writing at the University of South Wales.

Brando’s Bride by Sarah Broughton is published by Parthian 

My thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy of the book in return for an honest review, as well as to the lovely Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me onto this blog tour.

The tour continues until 20 October 2019 so do check out the other fab bloggers on the tour…

Museum of Lost Love Blog Tour

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In Zagreb, a couple discovers a museum that displays mementos of broken relationships. A whirlwind summer of reconnecting with lost pasts follows.

Tyler is in therapy. Katia and Goran are in love. On a summer trip to Zagreb, the couple discover an unusual museum that displays mementos of broken relationships. Inside, Goran stumbles upon an exhibit that seems to be addressed to him, from a girl he met in a Sarajevo refugee camp at age fourteen.

What follows is a whirlwind summer of reconnecting with lost pasts: Goran confronts the youth he lost during the Yugoslav Wars, Katia heads to Brazil to find her roots, and Afghanistan veteran Tyler pours out his soul. Set against alternating backdrops of violent circumstances, this novel is a soulful testament to the resilience of the human heart.

Every once in a while you read a book that really speaks to you – that might be in its structure, its subject matter, its tone – or in the case of this book – all three at once! I was delighted to be asked to join the Blog Tour on Anne Cater’s birthday and I’d like to take this chance to wish her a very happy birthday from all the bloggers she works with through #RandomThingsTours 

I love a book that confounds all my expectations, but this unusual and creative novel certainly does. It really appealed to me even before reading it as I loved the concept behind it. The fact that I’ve always wanted to go to Zagreb also helped me fall in love with this complex and inspirational tale.

You can only imagine how excited I was when I found out that this place actually exists ad it was all I could do to stop myself packing my bags for Zagreb when I discovered that it would be possible to experience this for myself.

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We all have experienced relationships that just haven’t worked. Whether you are sentimental or not, experiencing the breakdown of a relationship and feeling some of those emotions can definitely be an  overwhelming feeling. I’ve never been to such a personalised museum but I really felt like we were able to access some of its atmosphere filtered through these experiences and it was  described so evocatively I really felt like I was experiencing it through Goran’s eyes. From first love that ended badly through sad separations,  we are drawn through these reminisces and re-live so many memorable moments with the objects of the museum – and what could be more unexpected than finding an exhibit from your own life.

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This novel allows us to follow the life of Goran through his past and discover all the complex events that led us here.  I was really intrigued to find out more about his life and those he intersects with. From the Balkan wars to Afghanistan and then to far away Brazil, we join characters on personal journeys into their own hearts and find out that our experiences do not have to define us – which certainly added an extra dimension for me as I read.  I became engrossed in all of the overlaying stories and the unspoken motivations behind them and often found myself lost in thought about the other stories that ‘might have been’

Barker is such a skilled writer that he does ask us to consider why these characters might behave the way they have with a light touch, and this allows us to build our empathy for them the more we read on and find out their stories – whilst  learning that everyone does ‘walk their own path’ on this life’s journey.

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Even though I am not a true romantic myself, the description of  Goran’s past love story and those of the others was skilfully conveyed. You could absolutely believe in their stories of loss, love and redemption in  this complex and fascinating novel. It was the kind of story that you will return to because of the depth of emotoions conveyed by the characters and the way it prompts you to think about your own wrong paths and broken dreams along the way…

I would like to thank  Anne Cater for a copy of The Museum Of Lost Love to read and review and for inviting me on the tour. It makes me so happy to encounter books through my blogging that I might otherwise never have encountered and I love sharing my views with others so that they might get the chance to pick up something different and love it too.

Buy yourself a copy here

Writer On The Shelf

Gary Barker

Gary Barker, PhD is a leading researcher on men’s use of violence and pathways to non-violence in both conflict and non-conflict settings, and a global voice for engaging men in healthy masculinities and gender equality.

He holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Duke University and PhD in Developmental Psychology from Loyola University-Chicago. He is the founder of Promundo, an international organization that works in post-conflict Africa, Latin America and in the Middle East to prevent violence. Gary Barker has led global action to engage men as fathers, including co-authoring the first ever State of the World’s Fathers (2015) and the first ever State of America’s Fathers.

He has been awarded an Ashoka Fellowship and an Open Society Fellowship for his research and activism. In 2019 he was named by Apolitical as one of the 100 most influential persons in gender equality globally. He has also been a Weissberg Scholar at New York University and holds a Senior Researcher position at the University of Coimbra, Portugal.

His four novels — Luisa’s Last Words, The Afghan Vampires Book Club, Mary of Kivu and Museum of Lost Love – draw on these experiences and have been praised for creating stories of “grace and passion” out some of the world’s most violent places.


“…these interconnected stories are both achingly affecting and archly realistic…A moving book about young survivors of armed―and especially unarmed―conflict.” ―KIRKUS

“Gary Barker writes as beautifully and efficiently as any writer I’ve read―not an unnecessary sentence in the entire book. He is Hemingway without the false macho energy, and The Museum of Lost Love is an extraordinary testament to the enduring power of our pasts.” ―RICHARD REYES-GAVILAN, Executive Director, Washington DC Public Libraries

“Inspired by an actual museum in Croatia, in his Museum of Lost Love Gary Barker brings to life an ensemble of characters striving to express love, kindness, bravery and integrity in a world where war, genocide, rape, torture and trauma prevail. At a time when ugliness and despair threaten the most resolute faith, Barker brings us a moral tale that contrasts the high and the low roads. In the end, as he follows several men and women to stirring resolutions, we are, somehow, both gripped by their tragedies and uplifted by their humanity.” ―Michael Reichert, PhD, author of How to Raise a Boy: The Power of Connection to Build Good Men

“War and love are eternal subjects of literature. Therefore, writing about it requires not only a brave, but also skillful writer . Using The Museum of Lost Love as his frame an mixing documents and stories, Gary Barker found an interesting way to connect his lovers over time and continents, telling about their moving, hopeless, tragic but also fulfilling struggle for love.” ―Slavenka Drakulic

“The emotional heft of The Museum of Lost Love is obvious from the first page and never lets up. The characters breathe, they love, they mourn. They stay with you.” ―JENNIFER FOX, Writer/Director/Producer of the award-winning film The Tale

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The Birthday House – Blog Tour

unnamedThe year is 1955, the location picturesque Devon.

In a house by the River Dart, schoolgirl Josephine Kennedy posts invitations to her twelfth birthday party – a party that never takes place.

Horrific violence is committed that night in the family home, leaving all of its occupants dead.

Based on a disturbing real-life crime, this compelling story explores Josephine’s fate through the prism of friends and family – the victims and survivors who unwittingly influenced the events that led up to the tragedy.

Josephine’s best friend, Susan, is haunted by the secrets of the birthday house. Can she ever find a way of making peace with the past?

As a dyed-in-the-wool fan of True Crime  I was intrigued by the premise of this book which is based on real life events.  I was delighted to be  part of the blog tour organised by the fab #RandomThings Queen,  @AnneCater and couldn’t wait to dive in and find out more about this intriguing tale.

This book definitely did not disappoint, it definitely pulled me right into the story. I was really intrigued by the premise of the book: that this is something that really took place and this really added to the story for me. The way that perfectly ordinary front doors can hold dark secrets behind them was something that really intrigued me and something that I couldn’t stop thinking about as as the novel unfolded.

I absolutely loved the unique feel of this novel and definitely found it really engrossing. I felt that it perfectly encapsulated the tiny minutiae of everyday life in Dartmouth and how that can all be shattered in a split second – which is portrayed most skilfully by Jill Treseder.

Even though The Birthday House deals with domestic issues and village life, it does it in an original way which makes the story linger at the edges of our consciousness even when we aren’t reading it. The characters all  feel very much like real people – rather than mechanisms to explore an  issue – which I’ve often found in novels which want to look at the way we respond to trauma or tragedy.

Jill Treseder is an intriguing  writer – and not just because we share a name –  it’s hard to talk about this novel without spoilers, so I’ll just need to tell you that you must read it for yourself. You will be drawn into this story and feel transported back to the 1950s with  Josephine and her family – feeling as caught up in the story as Susan before you finish. It’s not one of these ‘keep looking for the big twist’ stories that people are getting a little bored of now. It’s one of those books that stays with you after you finish reading it though as you’ll think hard about the banality of murder and how it could literally happen anywhere – even in your street.


Anyone interested in family relationships, the effect of trauma and mental illness will love this novel. I  was really intrigued by The Birthday House  and I’m delighted to say that I was definitely not disappointed. Even though this book touched on dark and bleak  subject matters at times, it was dealt with very competently and originally and never felt derivative or ‘same old’ same old

The Birthday House was a book that I know I’ll be recommending to lots of readers as I was totally immersed in its characters, its pace and the way it really made me think. I can’t wait to see what Jill Treseder does next. I think that this would make an excellent Book Group read as it would be sure to provoke lots and lots of discussion…


Buy yourself a copy here and see what you think


Writer On The Shelf

Jill Treseder was born in Hampshire and lived all her childhood in sight of the sea on the Solent and in Devon, Cornwall and West Wales. She now lives with her husband in Devon overlooking the River Dart.

After graduating from Bristol with a degree in German, Jill followed careers in social work, management development and social research, obtaining a PhD from the School of Management at the University of Bath along the way. Since 2006 she has focused on writing fiction.

“An engaging, accomplished, structurally-bold examination of a Fifties family tragedy told from the points of view of all involved, The Birthday House is also a profound meditation on grief and trauma and how it can shape us for the whole of our lives.” – Peter Stanford

“As always, Jill Treseder paints pictures in the air and brings her characters vividly to life. A beautifully written and captivating story of love and loss.” – Ian Hobbs, Devon Book Club

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I wanted you to know – Blog Tour

I Wanted You To Know Blog Tour (1)

Dear Edie, I wanted you to know so many things. I wanted to tell you them in person, as you grew. But it wasn’t to be.

Jess never imagined she’d be navigating single motherhood, let alone while facing breast cancer. A life that should be just beginning is interrupted by worried looks, heavy conversations, and the possibility of leaving her daughter to grow up without her.

Propelled by a ticking clock, Jess knows what she has to do: tell her daughter everything. How to love, how to lose, how to forgive, and, most importantly, how to live when you never know how long you have.

From one of my favourite writers and powerhouse behind The Motherload Book Club, Laura Pearson comes one of my absolute reads of the year 2019. Heartbreakingly honest and devastatingly realistic  I Wanted You To Know is the kind of novel that sears itself into your heart and won’t let you go. All I can say to you is – buy it for yourself – but make sure you buy yourself some tissues first…


Jess has barely embarked upon adult life herself – she’s 21 years old and finding her feet as mum to baby Edie  – when she is diagnosed with breast cancer.  The first few months with her baby are dedicated to chemotherapy and metastases, rather than soft play and baby and toddler groups.

Jess decides she needs to use this time now to write letters to Edie and explain to her who her mum is so that Edie will always have a sense of her and the things that were important to her for perpetuity. These letters totally draw us into Jess’s world, detailing the story of how she fell for Edie’s dad,  Jake, and the reasons that they aren’t now together as a couple, combined with her hopes and fears for motherhood in these terrifying and unpredictable circumstances that she finds herself in.

I don’t think I was fully prepared for the emotional punch of this novel! I mean, I read the reviews and heard all the praise, but I don’t think I’d grasped how it would affect me as I was reading it. It definitely moved me to tears more than once and the authenticity of its voice is the thing that will push you over the edge. We never stop believing that both Jess and Edie are real and I could not forget that there are so many people out there who are living with these exact circumstances, despite these characters being fictional. Gemma is Jess’s best friend from her youth, who really is one of those everyday heroes who you might have met in real life – if you’re lucky – she helps her look after Edie, supports her in her medical appointments and is always there to boost her mood and make her laugh – even when the going gets tough.

Just as we get an insight into Jess as a mother, we also get to see the impact of her cancer diagnosis on her relationship with her own mother – as a daughter.  This was a really moving aspect of the novel and we get to reflect on the way that illness can shift everything in people’s lives beyond all recognition. Cancer is undoubtedly something that affects all of our lives in one way or another and it’s even more moving when you know the story behind this breathtakingly accomplished novel – Laura herself was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35 – when she was literally 5 months pregnant experiencing those exact thoughts,  that if she died, her children would possibly not even remember her. I think this is why I really felt this book so deeply – every word feels true and will cut you to the quick at times. This book would be a profound and moving book to discuss with your book group and would be sure to elicit a wide range of personal and emotional responses.

Thanks so much to the wonderful  Peyton at Agora Books for inviting me on the blog tour.  I loved getting involved with the hashtag on Twitter and letting people know that we should definitely make every second count.

This post is in honour of the late, beloved Catherine Rodger. Who certainly did x

Buy yourself a copy and prepare to be utterly moved by this wonderful read.

Writer On The Shelf

Laura Pearson - Author Photo

Laura Pearson has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester. She spent a decade living in London and working as a copywriter and editor for QVC, Expedia, Net a Porter, EE, and The Ministry of Justice. Now, she lives in Leicestershire, where she writes novels, blogs about her experience of breast cancer (, runs The Motherload Book Club, and tries to work out how to raise her two children.

Catch up with Laura on Twitter:

I Wanted You To Know (Final eBook)




Things We Didn’t Talk About…

The powerful and timely must-read memoir.
ME: I want to understand the larger question of how it’s possible to be a good person who –
HIM: Does terrible things.
ME: I think that’s what was kind of heartbreaking for me. It was this one night.
And otherwise, though, we were such good friends.
Jeannie’s memoir begins with a night fifteen years ago – the night a close friend sexually
assaulted her. With the rise of the #MeToo movement and the election of Trump, Jeannie’s recurrent nightmares of the incident have returned. After years of silence, to process her conflicted feelings of betrayal and to take back control, she resolves to face her trauma head-on by interviewing the man who raped her when they were nineteen years old. He agrees to talk on the record and through the interviews with her perpetrator – transcripts of which Jeannie has included in her book – she explores how the act of rape has impacted both of their lives and examines the language and culture surrounding sexual assault, rape and victimhood. Jeannie’s story deepens the discussion around sexual violence and is a necessary contribution to #MeToo from a brave, new voice.


“Such a confrontation is bold, unsettling and timely. (Vanasco) wanted to find out how a person who hurts others talks to himself about his actions. If we are ever going to reduce sexual violence, it’s a critically important question.” ―Laurie Halse Anderson in TIME

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of this gorgeous, harrowing, heartbreaking book . . . Vanasco is whip-smart and tender, open and ruthless; she is the perfect guide through the minefield of her trauma, and ours.” ―Carmen Maria Machado in Bustle

A Most Anticipated Book of Fall at Time, NYLON, Bustle, Pacific Standard, The Millions, Publishers WeeklyChicago Tribune and more!

Jeannie Vanasco has had the same nightmare since she was a teenager. She startles awake, saying his name. It is always about him: one of her closest high school friends, a boy named Mark. A boy who raped her.

When her nightmares worsen, Jeannie decides―after fourteen years of silence―to reach out to Mark. He agrees to talk on the record and meet in person. “It’s the least I can do,” he says.

Carmen Maria Machado

Jeannie details her friendship with Mark before and after the assault, asking the brave and urgent question: Is it possible for a good person to commit a terrible act? Jeannie interviews Mark, exploring how rape has impacted his life as well as her own. She examines the language surrounding sexual assault and pushes against its confines, contributing to and deepening the #MeToo discussion.

Nylon Things WE Didn't Talk About When I Was A Girl

Exacting and courageous, Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl is part memoir, part true crime record, and part testament to the strength of female friendships―a recounting and reckoning that will inspire us to ask harder questions and interrogate our biases.

Bustle Jeannie Vanasco Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was A Girl

Jeannie Vanasco examines and dismantles long-held myths of victimhood, discovering grace and power in this genre-bending investigation into the trauma of sexual violence.


Writer On The Shelf


Jeannie Vanasco

Jeannie Vanasco is the author of The Glass Eye. Featured by Poets & Writers as one of the five best literary nonfiction debuts of 2017, The Glass Eye was also selected as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick, an Indies Introduce Pick, and an Indie Next Pick. Her second book, ​Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl, will be published in the US and UK in October, 2019.

Her nonfiction has appeared in The Believer, The New York Times​, the Times Literary Supplement, and, and her essays have twice been named notable selections in Best American Essays. Her poetry has appeared in Little Star, Poet’s Country, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere, and her poetry honors include an Emerging Poets Fellowship from Poets House and an Amy Award from Poets & Writers.

She lives in Baltimore and is an assistant professor of English at Towson University. Her website is

The Familiars. Blog Tour

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In a time of suspicion and accusation, to be a woman is the greatest risk of all…

Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 years old, married, and pregnant for the fourth time. But as the mistress at Gawthorpe Hall, she still has no living child, and her husband Richard is anxious for an heir. When Fleetwood finds a letter she isn’t supposed to from the doctor who delivered her third stillbirth, she is dealt the crushing blow that she will not survive another pregnancy.

Then she crosses paths by chance with Alice Gray, a young midwife. Alice promises to help her give birth to a healthy baby, and prove the physician wrong.

As Alice is drawn into the witchcraft accusations that are sweeping the north-west, Fleetwood risks everything trying to help her. But is there more to Alice than meets the eye?

Soon the two women’s lives become inextricably bound together as the legendary trial at Lancaster approaches, and Fleetwood’s stomach continues to grow. Time is running out, and both their lives are at stake.

Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other



The Familiars Is an amazing debut by Stacey Halls, inspired by the Pendle Witch Trials in 1612. My book group just spent three hours discussing it and we could absolutely have spent another three and still have had so much to say about this fantastic and immersive read.

Although I’d never heard of these particular witch trials before reading the book, I’ve become absolutely obsessed with finding everything out about them after finishing it. I’ve watched documentaries, gone on YouTube and sourced books from the library too. I’m a huge fan of  The Crucible and have always been utterly fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials so this was right up my street and I was delighted that it provoked so much discussion and debate at our book group too.

One of the best parts of this book for me was the fact that all of the characters were actually real people either directly involved in the trials or associated with them. I have become a bit obsessed with Fleetwood and am already planning a visit to her house – which really exists – so  can see her portrait and walk in her grounds for myself…

I Absolutely adored this book. They do say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but this narrative more than matched up to its gorgeous cover. One of my favourite things was the relationship between Fleetwood and Alice, and how their relationship allowed a real trust to develop amidst all the lies, speculation and deception in the novel and in these times themselves. Its a real strength of the novel that despite some supernatural and unearthly events, their relationship remains absolutely down to earth and realistic and has you rooting for them as the pace heats up and things look pretty uncertain for them both. Fleetwoods journey from a young woman buffeted by circumstances to a woman in charge of her own destiny is extremely satisfying and you’ll be cheering her own in the final few chapters for sure.

Whether you’re a historical fiction buff or someone coming to this gorgeous debut unexpectedly, you will certainly not forget Fleetwood Shuttleworth in a hurry and I hope you enjoy it as much as my Book Grouo from The Wine Library did






Writer On The Shelf


Stacey Halls grew up in Rossendale, Lancashire, as the daughter of market traders. She has always been fascinated by the Pendle witches. She studied journalism at the University of Central Lancashire and moved to London aged 21.

She was media editor at The Bookseller and books editor at, and has also written for Psychologies, the Independent and Fabulous magazine, where she now works as Deputy Chief Sub Editor.

The Familiars is her first novel. You can find her on Instagram @staceyhallsauthor and Twitter @stacey_halls



Three Little Truths

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One happy street. Three pretty houses. So many lies…

Martha used to be a force of nature: calm, collected, and in charge. But since moving her husband and two daughters to Dublin under sudden and mysterious circumstances, she can’t seem to find her footing.

Robin was the “it” girl in school, destined for success. Now she’s back at her parents’ with her four-year-old son, vowing that her ne’er-do-well ex is out of the picture for good.

Edie has everything she could want, apart from a baby, and the acceptance of her new neighbours. She longs to be one of the girls, and to figure out why her perfect husband seems to be avoiding their perfect future.

Three women looking for a fresh start on idyllic Pine Road. Their friendship will change their lives, and reveal secrets they never imagined. Liane Moriarty meets Lisa Jewell in this story of the love affairs, rivalries and scandals that hide behind every door…

I absolutely adored Grace After Henry, Eithne Shortall’s debut novel and I was so excited when Anne Cater messaged me, asking me to be on the tour for her new book. Three Little Truths definitely did not disappoint and I’ve been talking about it ever since I finished reading it last weekend. Some readers have commented that it feels a little bit different in style but I absolutely fell for its charms and devoured it in one go! My mum is a huge Maeve Binchy fan and I know that she’ll love this as much as she loved Grace After Henry which we both read on holiday last year.

Once again, Eithne creates a whole cast of memorable characters that you’ll warm to and recognise in equal measure. Most of you will have met a Martha, Robin and Edie in real life, whether you’ve ever been to Dublin or not. Martha is turning heads and getting tongues wagging in her new house in Pine Road, Dublin. Curtain twitching is a major vice in lots of suburban communities and you’ll be as desperate as the rest of the neighbours to find out the truth behind the move…

Robyns in a totally different phase of her life. One that I could totally connect with. After a relationship breakdown, she’s back at her parents striking out into the unfamiliar waters of a new relationship and ready to start taking chances on a fresh adventure after being so hurt and broken in her past…

Edie was my favourite character, she was absolutely a force of nature and she really sprang off the page. She wants to move onto the next part of her life and become a mum, feeling like she’s now ready for a baby but she’s struggling with the idea that her husband and she might not quite be on the same page when it comes to playing happy families.

I enjoyed the three part aspect to the story and got totally involved in the three women’s lives, sometimes even forgetting that they were fictional constructs and I wish that I could move in and get to see the community from their perspective. I think that there’s a real trend in fiction at the moment to look at enclosed groups of women, and this is definitely one of the best I’ve read which made me want to pass it on to lots of my book club girls and see what they thought.

If you enjoy a book that’ll draw you in and make you think about your own friendships and the way we often think we know people when we have actually very little idea about what’s going on just below the surface.

Thanks so much for sending me the book Anne, I really can’t wait to see what the lovely Eithne does next 📚✨


Writer On The Shelf


EITHNE SHORTALL studied journalism at Dublin City University and has lived in London, France and America. Now based in Dublin, she is chief arts writer for the Sunday Times Ireland. She enjoys sea swimming, cycling and eating scones.

Grace After Henry is her second novel. Shortall’s bestselling debut novel, Love in Row 27, has been optioned for a TV series by NBC Universal Studios International, the production company behind Downton Abbey.

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