Heatstroke – blog tour

It is too hot to sleep. To work. To be questioned time and again by the police.

At the beginning of a stifling, sultry summer, everything shifts irrevocably when Lily doesn’t come home one afternoon.

Rachel is Lily’s teacher. Her daughter Mia is Lily’s best friend. The girls are fifteen – almost women, still children.

As Rachel becomes increasingly fixated on Lily’s absence, she finds herself breaking fragile trusts and confronting impossible choices she never thought she’d face.

It wasn’t supposed to happen like this

DO YOU REMEMBER THE SUMMER THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING?

‘A thrilling look at mothers and daughters, adolescence, sex, suburbia and secrets’ NELL FRIZZELL

‘Unsettling, challenging and utterly immersive’ CLARE MACKINTOSH

‘A sultry, stifling debut exploring power, consent and womanhood’ COSMOPOLITAN

Rachel and her daughter have never had secrets. Until now.

Lily is somewhere she shouldn’t be. With someone she shouldn’t be with.

Mia misses her best friend. But she let her down.

In the middle of a stifling heatwave, Rachel, Lily and Mia stand on the edge of irrevocable change. Soon, just one burning question will remain… how could they let things go this far?

A provocative debut novel for fans of My Dark VanessaThe Push by Ashley Audrain and Megan Nolan’s Acts of Desperation.

I was definitely seduced by the premise of this book featuring a missing girl, a long hot summer and some secrets that will not be long in coming to the surface – when I discovered that it was written by someone who gew up right here in Stirlingshire as well, that really sealed the deal for me and it quickly zoomed to the top of my TBR pile. I was delighted to be invited on the tour by the lovely Anne Cater and Random Things Tours and couldn’t wait to see if it was as compelling and sexy as I had heard…

This book definitely did not disappoint, it grabbed me and pulled me right into the story. I was really intrigued by the premise of the book: that we will puzzle our way through the many clues and trails about what might have happened to Lily and who might have the motive to obscure the details around her vanishing– and this really added to the story for me. The pitch perfect evocation of a long hot summer and the tangled relationships between mothers and daughters really kept me turning the pages as this sultry and brilliantly clever read unfolds.

I was fascinated by the way that you need to keep your eye on who’s talking as you never quite know their resons for revealing what they do and this never allows you to move your eye off the action for a second, as you have become so engrossed in this disappearance and all of the unsettling things we uncover around it. The way that Lily, Mia and Rachel are all themselves at a turning point in their lives and the way that they intersect in unexpected ways makes for intriguing and tense reading and will keep you up far too late trying to work out what’s going to happen next…

Cosmopolitan, Heatstroke, Hazel Barkworth

I absolutely loved the way that these relationships are presented in this novel and definitely found the mystery of Lily’s disappearance and the way that Rachels’s true personality begins to emerge quite addictive. It was intriguing to see what would be uncovered next as her misdirection and evasion kept me changing my mind from one moment to the next. The fact that each chapter presents us with fresh insights into what has happened was a fantastic device and really kept me on my toes as a reader as this clever and emotionally complex novel unfolded

Heatstroke, Hazel Barkworth, Nell Frizzell

Even though there have been lots of novels this year that focus on people going missing, Hazel Barkworth’s writing ensures that the characters we meet allow this plot to unfold in an original way which makes the story feel fresh and innovative, rather than ploughing a familiar furrow. The characters all feel very much like real people – rather than mechanisms to provide clues about Lily vanishing or how this connects to Rachel’s relationship with her daughter Mia – which I’ve often found in novels like this with characters who feel like devices to deliver clues or red herrings I think that the heat, the sense of sexual tensions and complexity and the misdirections woukd make this an absolutely perfect beach read and I can see it being an absolute bestseller for Summer 2021

Clare Mackintosh, Heatstroke, Hazel Barkworth

Hazel Barkworth is an intriguing new writer for me – 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 as intrigued by Lily’s disappearance as I was and want to read on and find out exactly what is behind this that seems to be having such a seismic impact on the other characters It’s not one of these ‘keep looking for the big twist’ stories that people are getting a little bored of now. It isdefinitely a book where you need to keep your eye out for what’s not being said – in a wonderfully well-constructed way.

Anyone interested in twisty and dynamic reads and who loves trying to work out which characters to trust…ot not…will love this multi-layered and gripping novel. I had really high hopes for Heatstroke  and I’m delighted to say that I was definitely not disappointed. It was definitely a book that  I’ll be recommending to lots of readers this summer as I was totally intrigued by its characters, its pace and the way it really kept me guessing about these characters’ truths up until the very last page…

Heatstroke, Hazel Barkworth

The idea that life can be a lot darker and more interesting than you might think on the surface is a very intriguing one. 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 if you want to get to the heart of the mystery and if you loved it, grab yourself a copy of this one and enjoy it during your summer staycation this year…

Heatstroke, Hazel Barkworth

‘Barkworth is excruciatingly good’ OBSERVER

‘I am addicted… dark and twisty with beautiful, poetic writing’ EMMA GANNON

‘Gripping and intensely atmospheric… you won’t want to put this down’ HEAT magazine’s READ OF THE WEEK

‘Stylish and sensual’ KIRAN MILLWOOD HARGRAVE

‘Twists, turns and revelations in all the right places’ EVENING STANDARD

‘A stunning new voice… I couldn’t tear myself away’ ERIN KELLY

‘Sexy and provocative’ LAURA JANE WILLIAMS

‘Pulls you into its sweaty interior and keeps you gripped’ RENEE KNIGHT

‘Compulsive, sticky and full of gorgeous writing’ KIRSTIN INNES

‘Read next if you loved Three Women by Lisa Taddeo’ WHISTLESnewsletter

Writer On The Shelf

HAZEL BARKWORTH grew up in Stirlingshire and North Yorkshire before studying English at Oxford. She then moved to London where she spent her days working as a cultural consultant, and her nights dancing in a pop band at glam rock clubs.

Hazel is a graduate of both the Oxford University MSt in Creative Writing and the Curtis Brown Creative Novel-Writing course. She now works in Oxford, where she lives with her partner. HEATSTROKE is her first novel.

Please do have a read of some of the other reviews on this tour.

America’s wife

1776. Addie’s world has changed beyond recognition. From her privileged position amongst Boston’s elite, she has embraced a dangerous new life with the American Revolutionary Army. While childhood sweetheart Silas risks all on the front lines, Addie waits anxiously for news. And when Silas does not return from the Battle of Monmouth, her worst fears come true.

Without thinking, Addie takes a horse and scours the now-calm battlefield for Silas, until word arrives that he has been captured by the British. And worse, by the troop of Scottish Highlanders led by the brooding general John Traverne. Addie hasn’t seen the powerfully built Loyalist soldier since she chose the Revolutionary cause over her own heart, and hearing his name sends butterflies to her stomach, even as she is filled with worry for Silas.

Disregarding her own safety, Addie leaves Washington’s camp and travels deep into enemy territory, determined to bring Silas home. But when she comes face to face with John Traverne once more, the feelings she has tried so hard to bury resurface and she must choose between the man she has pledged her life to, and the man whose dark eyes haunt her dreams. When Addie finally returns to her own camp, she carries a secret that could cost her everything she has fought for…

U.S.A. flag

The second part of the spellbinding, emotional trilogy about enduring love and heartbreaking secrets amidst the birth of America. Readers who adored My Dear Hamilton and Flight of the Sparrow will love America’s Wife.

I adore a good slice of historical fiction, and I love the way that Celeste de Blasis brings this turbulent period to life right before our eyes. The second instalment of Addie’s vividly described adventures in a country being torn apart is just as good as the first, containing just the right balance of history, scandal and a real sense of its setting in both time and place.

It is wonderful to be able to return to the same characters and immerse yourself in the next stage of Addie’s adventures as this tale unfolds. You don’t need to have have read any of Celeste’s other books to enjoy this historical epic , but it’s very likely that you’ll want to as soon as you’ve finished…

brown shed at middle of field

Celeste De Blasis has absolutely impeccable research skills as she spares no effort in trying to recreate Addie’s time period authentically for us and takes us to the front line along with her on her unforgettable journey. These characters become living breathing people through these pages, and because of this, it’s easy to get engrossed in their story. It is good to be in such safe hands when it comes to historical fiction and through these pages I could connect with this period in history in a very real way.

I loved the fact that these characters seem so modern at times – In many ways, Addie comes across as a girl we might be friends with now – someone who is not afraid to put her life at risk to save Silas and a woman who understands this environment and is prepared to use the knowledge she has gained in order to contribute to the cause, regardless of how conventional her approach might or might not be…

One of my favourite aspects of Celeste De Blasis’ writing is the way that she effortlessly blends her research with such strong and realistic characters and even though it is certainly not a slight book, I raced through it in record time. I absolutely loved the way that this intriguing book transports you back into this turbulent time and allows you to get to know these people and have you rooting for them as they lay their lives on te line in the name of the cause. You do not have to be a fan of this period or know it inside out to love this book and characters and you will be amazed at how much some of their thoughts and emotions will resonate with you – even though they were living breathing and loving so many centuries ago

person holding U.S.A. flag

I love doing my research after finishing a book I’ve enjoyed and if you are intrigued by this story, you could find out more about this period here.  You will be able to read all about this time in America’s history as well as get a sense of how the Battle of Monmouth contributed to America’s story I loved reading about life for women during this period and it made me realise how much I didn’t know about this period in history – which is brought vividly to life on these pages and I enjoyed going down a few rabbit holes in my own research as soon as I finished reading it.

If you are intrigued and would like to read more about this fascinating period then follow the blog tour and definitely buy yourself a copy of this fascinating and beautifully researched historical read as well as the others from this series, listed below. Thanks to Sarah Hardy for inviting me onto the tour and transporting me to the second episode in Addie’s turbulent life…

Readers love Celeste De Blasis:

Read it OVER and OVER. The pages were falling out.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

UNPUTDOWNABLE!… If I could give it more stars I would give it more!” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

“One of my all-time FAVORITE books!!!!!!!!” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

“Made me laugh, cry and feel all the range of emotions.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

My favorite book of all time.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

“A week doesn’t go by that this book doesn’t pop into my head. A great story.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

“I had a hard time putting it down and lost more than an hour or two of sleep.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

“This book has an extra special place in my heart… A historical romance in the vein of Outlander (except without the time travel).” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

I loved this book!… A great love story, and a book that you just don’t want to put down.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

“One of my all-time favorites!… I smile, I cry, I’m sad to see them go.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Lots of love, lots of tears.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

I just love it.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Excellent from beginning to end. I highly recommend.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Writer on The Shelf

Millions of readers have fallen under the spell of the lush, enthralling and bestselling novels by Celeste De Blasis. Tales of adventure and romance set against the sweep of history—all are storytelling at its finest. After graduating from Pomona College, Celeste devoted her life to impeccable research and spellbinding writing. A native Californian, Celeste grew up on the historic Kemper Campbell Ranch in the Mojave Desert, where she lived until her death in 2001.

The Mix Up – Blog Tour

Anna and Marley are best friends. So when Anna rings Marley, panicking because she has to miss a tour of an exclusive wedding venue, Marley agrees to go in her friend’s place.

After being totally ignored by the glamorous receptionist who can tell she doesn’t belong there, Marley meets handsome hotel manager Cameron. He assumes she’s Anna and instead of admitting that she’s not the blushing bride, but the unlucky-in-love single friend, Marley plays along to see what it’s like to be Anna for a day.

After all, Marley is unemployed, single and was woken up that morning by her flatmate playing the bagpipes. Anna has a high-flying career and is planning the perfect wedding. Why wouldn’t Marley want to be her?

Only she wasn’t counting on Cameron being so smart and funny. Or this spark between them that she can’t ignore. She hasn’t felt this way about a guy in forever. But he thinks she’s somebody better.

Marley needs a way out of this mix-up to get her shot at true love. But her fictional fiancé is now standing in her way and it’s harder than she thought to stop living someone else’s life…

In The Mixup,  Eliabeth Neep shows her talent for noticing the tiny and everyday details which make a book come alive and feel absolutely real to its readers. She is the kind of writer who makes us laugh whilst reminding us of the ridiculousness, humiliation and the utter ridiculousness at times, of being in the pursuit of love and this book is just the thing to turn to when you are feeling like there is nothing around you but bad news. It will be a charming and uplifting reminder to you that life isn’t all bad and that even in the worst moments of your life it’s important to remember that the only way is up…and don’t we all need that right now

Am so happy to be on today’s Blog Tour of #TheMixup today and I can’t think of a better way to escape from the circumstances we find ourselves in than to lose yourself in this funny, charming and relatable read. It’s wonderful to be curled up with a great book after a windy walk and some exercise at a time when that’s about the only thing to look forward to. What could be a better way to relax after a few challenging weeks and feel like you’ve spent some time with people you actually recognise, as you turn the pages and discover more about Marley’s adventures in the pursuit of true love…

man in black sweater kissing woman in white and blue stripe shirt

I absolutely loved this book. It’s a warm and uplifting read that will genuinely draw you in and let you feel part of Marley’s ups and downs as she tries to navigate life and all the curveballs that it throws her as she tries to navigate how to make sure that the mixup ends up in a love match – I mean, what could go wrong?

Marley was a fantastic character that you can totally believe in. When I was reading about her trials and tribulations it took my mind off lots of the privations and challenges of the situation that we find ourselves in at the moment. The adventures she ends up having through this situation means you will be creasing up, hearing about some of the situations she finds her self caught up in. It also reminds you that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence and that the single pringles & smug marrieds might be envious of each other without realising it and be ignoring the aspects of their lives that their opposites are envious of and wish that they were experiencing…

Marley’s journey through the mayhem of this mixup and all the complexities that she finds herself juggling is one of the best things about this book. You will find lots of these moments, no doubt, to recognise from your own dating life, from trying to second guess people to trying to edit out your more undatable qualities and present a person that you feel is worthy for the object of your desires to fall in love with – It was a refreshing perspective to hear about the pursuit of love from the perspective of people who aren’t perfect and don’t have everything together – and I think that this is what made it so enjoyable to read

Elizabeth Neep really understands people.  This book presents a picture of modern love in all its complexity that whatever your age, gender or nationality, you’ll find much to connect with and lots to laugh about and could be exactly what you need! When you read the reviews below, you’ll see that lots of other people loved it too– so you don’t just have to take MY word for it…

A funny, uplifting and poignant story of friendship, love and finding your way. Fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Holly Bourne and Bridget Jones will adore Elizabeth Neep’s wit and warmth.
Readers are falling in love with The Mix-Up:

Elizabeth Neep hit it out of the park… Grab a comfy blanket, a cuppa, clear your schedule, enjoy.’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
A light-hearted read that makes your heart smile… A girl-power novel… The perfect feel-good read. I read this in one day!’ Goodreads reviewer

Perfect for fans of the Bridget Jones vibe… Charming and witty… This story is perfectly paired with a cocktail and warm day reading outside.’ sum.reads
What a fantastic read!… A fun, fast read that I enjoyed!… Wonderful book!’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I have absolutely fallen in love with Elizabeth Neep’s writing… I LOVED this!’ Readbydaisy
A feel good romcom with a difference.’ Goodreads reviewer

I loved this fun, uplifting feel good book. It really made me smile.’ Goodreads reviewer
I loved I read this in one day because I kept needing to know what happened next!’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I enjoyed this book so much and stayed up all night to read it.’ Goodreads reviewer
Glorious… Brimming with life and laughter… Just amazing… An adorable romance.’ Bethanys Bookshelf

Cheeky, fun and light… Lots of twists and turns… Exactly what I wanted.’ Goodreads reviewer
‘I discovered Elizabeth Neep last year and I’ve read her three books as soon as they have been available!… The best thing about this book is that it’s not only focused on romance (although there is romance in it) but on the power of female friendshipon finding yourselfand the thought that it is ok not to be perfect… I hope Elizabeth Neep writes another book soon!’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘I have enjoyed all of Elizabeth Neep’s books… They are getting funnier with each book!Very humorous and light-hearted… I would recommend to all.’ Goodreads reviewer
I’m so happy that I found this book! Lots of romance, having fun and spice! A must read!’ Goodreads reviewer

Buy yourself a copy here and get a laugh at a time when lots of us could really do with one

Thanks so much to Sarah Hardy inviting me on the tour and cheering me up when I needed it the most as we try and end the teaching year whilst juggling assessments, covid measures and isolation – it really was just what i needed!

Writer On The Shelf

Elizabeth Neep was born in 1990 in Derbyshire and now lives in London Bridge. After studying Law at the University of Nottingham and the University of New South Wales, she worked in magazine journalism, most noticeably writing for Dazed and Confused and PETRIe. Elizabeth now works as a non-fiction Senior Commissioning Editor and writes and paints in her spare time.

https://www.elizabethneep.com/
https://www.instagram.com/elizabeth_neep/?hl=en
https://twitter.com/elizabeth_neep

Buy Links:Amazon: https://bit.ly/3uZ292hApple: https://apple.co/2OuQrMsKobo: https://bit.ly/3ejXmmoGoogle: https://bit.ly/3v4z7Pe

Tales from Lindford – Blog Tour

‘Tales from Lindford’

2020 was famously an ‘unprecedented year’. Now, in Catherine’s Fox’s ‘Tales from Lindford’, readers can relive this extraordinary year – at a safe and non-contagious distance – through the eyes and experiences of the people of Lindchester in this heartfelt novel, which was originally written as a series of blogs in real time in the midst of the pandemic.

Bestselling author Katie Fforde praised ‘Tales from Lindford’ as ‘lyrical, compelling and full of insight’ while former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams commented that ‘Catherine Fox writes with immense compassion, unsentimental faith and an impressively undisciplined humour’.

Catherine Fox’s popular series The Lindchester Chronicles have been described as ‘the 21st century’s answer to Trollope’s Barchester’ and the first novel in the series, ‘Acts and Omissions’, was chosen as one of The Guardian’s books of 2014. The third book in the series left the people of Lindchester at the end of 2016 and was intended as the final book in the series – but 2020 gave Catherine an irresistible opportunity to return to Lindford, as she writes, ‘come with me, one more time, dear reader’.

Fans of The Lindchester Chronicles will delight in the opportunity to revisit old friends and find out how the last 4 years have treated them, while newcomers to the series are in for a treat (with the opening dramatis personae providing a handy guide as to how the lead characters relate to each other).

January 2020 opens quietly enough in Lindford, amidst vague concerns about the Australian bush fires and a general feeling of exhaustion about Brexit. But soon, as Catherine writes, ‘quietly, with barely a jingle of harness, another horseman of the apocalypse sets out to ride in a distant province of China.’

As the months unfold and the coronavirus threat becomes increasingly close, real and deadly, Fox traces the impact on Lindfordshire’s bishops, priests, nurses, musicians, hairdressers, university lecturers, runners and schoolchildren as daily life as they know it is brought to a standstill, to be replaced by face masks, hand sanitizer, working from home, Zoom meetings, shielding, isolating, home schooling, furlough, bubbles, quarantine and lockdown. From the diary of 11 year old Jess to the increasingly incoherent ramblings of Fr Dominic’s elderly mother, we walk alongside the characters as they experience frustration, fear, anger, grief, hopelessness, loneliness and boredom.

Yet, amidst the challenges brought by this extraordinary year and its ‘emotional concussion’, the community pulls together to support one another as best they can. Some households are full to bursting while other people spending lockdown alone, and the pandemic stretches some relationships to breaking point while breathing new life into others.

And even coronavirus cannot stop some of the natural rhythms of life – the yearning for a baby, the growing up of a teenager, and the rediscovery of love when it was least expected.

Warm, witty and wise, ‘Tales from Lindford’ offers a master storyteller’s take on a year which none of us will ever forget.

I absolutely loved Tales from Lindford It’s a warm and uplifting read that will genuinely draw you into its community and make you feel part of their world as they join together to survive and thrive during the pandemic…

gray brick houses under dark cloudy sky

In true Catherine Fox style, it features a fantastic cast of characters that you can totally believe in. When the world as they know it starts changing in front of their very eyes, they have to adapt and some of course find this easier than others. It’s an easy sentiment to connect with – I’m sure lots of you will had that feeling when you were forced by circumstances to change the way you worked, shopped and connected with family and friends. The impact on the whole community from bishops to young girls is considered– she’s trying to show that community and belonging somewhere is more important than we might imagine and sometimes the ‘new normal’ might create time to think about all that was wrong with our old ways of operating

brown and white concrete building

Catherine Fox wrote this book from the heart, and it shows.  It presents a picture of the places we come together in our communities – be those libraries, churches, schools or community centres and let’s face it – never have these places been more in need of defending! I’d absolutely love this book to be optioned and see it on our screens in the future. I’d love to get the chance to cast it and see these characters spring to life before our very eyes…

brown concrete building near green trees under blue sky during daytime

Tales from Lindford is a wonderful, warm and thought provoking read, the way that it commemorates an absolutely unique time in hostory in a very understated but brilliantly relatable way kept me turning the pages and nodding in recognition at the cavalcade of life that’s represented there. As a teacher myself, I found the Mrs Hill parts particularly fascinating and enjoyed the chance to see these events from a fictional perspective after battling through COVID and the lockdown as a real life teacher

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Rhoda Hardie for inviting me to participate in the Blog Tour – I certainly love Catherine Fox and Angels and Men is still a book I recommend to everyone and hope that they come to love it just as much as I do – If you haven’t discovered this absolute joy of a read, I recommend you buy yourself a copy immediately.

brown concrete building near green trees during daytime

It’s been an honour to read Tales from Lindford as such a Catherine Fox fan and be part of its story – I’m totally certain that it’s going to be an amazing success. Buy yorself a copy here and connect with this unforgettable slice of British History that we all lived through together.

I hope Catherine Fox will forgive me if I say she doesn’t write like an angel; she writes like a human being, with immense compassion, unsentimental faith and an impressively undisciplined humour. Not many writers give such a vivid sense of what it is actually like to try and live in the light of absolute mercy. Very few indeed do it with such brilliance and freshness of language. –Rowan Williams on Tales from Lindford

Lyrical, compelling and full of insight. I found this very hard to put down. –Katie Fforde, The Sunday Times No.1 Bestselling Author

Catherine Fox’s glorious Lindchester series is the twenty-first-century answer to Trollope’s Barchester – but Trollope was never so funny, so fundamentally kind, or so mischievously attentive to grace. –Francis Spufford, author of Golden Hill –This text refers to the paperback edition.

Writer on The Shelf

Catherine Fox is Academic Director of the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her debut novel Angels and Men was a Sunday Times Pick of the Year, and the first book in the Lindchester Chronicles, Acts and Omissions, was chosen as a Guardian Book of 2014. Catherine is married to the Bishop of Sheffield and is a judo black belt.

The Secrets of the Lake

The Secrets of the Lake is a gripping wartime novel, by the author of The Silk Weaver, Liz Trenow.

‘Masterful storytelling, immersive locations, and characters that inhabit your heart from the first page’ – Gill Paul, author of The Secret Wife.

The war may be over, but for Molly life is still in turmoil. Uprooted from London after the death of her mother, Molly, her father and younger brother Jimmy are starting again in a quiet village in the countryside of Colchester. As summer sets in, the heat is almost as oppressive as the village gossip.

Molly dreams of becoming a journalist, finding a voice in the world, but most of the time must act as Jimmy’s carer. At just ten years old he is Molly’s shadow, following her around the village as she falls under the spell of local boy Kit. Kit is clever, funny and a natural-born rebel. Rowing on the waters of the lake with him becomes Molly’s escape from domestic duty. But there is something Kit is not telling Molly.

As the village gossip starts building up with whispers against Molly’s father over missing church funds, everything Molly thought she knew is turned upside down. And on one stormy night, when she sneaks out of the house to try to put things right, Jimmy vanishes. Never to be seen again.

Decades later, Molly is an elderly woman in sheltered housing, still haunted by the disappearance of her brother. When two police officers arrive to say that the remains of a body have been found at the bottom of the lake, it seems like Molly will at long last have her answer . .

I absolutely love a book where the past and the present collide I think it stems from my love of Fhistorical novels when I was younger– and this evocative and atmospheric read drew me in from the very first paragraph and held me captivated by its setting and characters until its very final page.

Mysterious disappearances, a long hot summer and a relationship mired in local gossip – all wrapped up in a wartime setting that’s beautifully realised – I mean – what’s not to love. These were some of the many reasons that I was so drawn to The Secrets of the Lake and why I’m so grateful to #RandomThingsTours Anne Cater for inviting me to participate in this blog tour – as this book was definitely right up my street!

I love immersing myself in a book over a weekend and not looking up apart from to pour another cup of tea and this book answered the brief perfectly. If you haven’t already read The Silk Weaver, you should definitely put it on your TBR and if you have, you’ll be reassured to know that this is equally as compelling.

The Silk Weaver by [Liz Trenow]
The Silk Weaver

I feel like you can totally surrender to this reading experience and travel to Molly’s village and experience this summer and its consequences right alongside her I really felt like I could imagine living in this wartime village setting and found it very difficult to detach myself from this immersive reading experience that allowed me to plunge into Molly, Jimmy and Kit’s world and experience these events as they unravelled. It was so atmospheric that you could absolutely imagine it all in your mind’s eye and every time I stopped reading it, I kept imagining myself lured back tin time and trying to navigate the truth for myself.

green boat on body of wate

Is anyone else like me and love to go online and immerse themselves in the world of the book that they’re loving, to try and really place themselves in the characters’ world? I love doing it and I found myself myself remembering summers in the highlands, messing about on boats on the loch and carefree summer nights on the water. The setting of this book is perfectly realised and it evokes a different time, where anyone who was ‘out of the ordinry’ like Jimmy was thought about very differently and where mutterings and gossip can grow and spread in order to cover up the truth and obscure layers of guilt and collusion when events such as this take place

green mountains beside body of water under blue and white sunny cloudy sky during daytime

It was lovely to lose myself in the mystery surrounding this disappearance and keep turning the possibilities over in my head about what exactly was the truth about Kit’s secrets, Jimmy’s vanishing and whether we were getting a sense of the whole truth at times.  It’s funny that I get into reading zones and I’m now on a real historical fiction month and have been drawn to exploring the Edwardian and post-war eras and thinking about how much has changed for women since these times. I am trying not to give any spoilers at all as I want you to explore these events in the same way as Molly does – waiting a long time to uncover the truth about what happened to her brother all those years ago…

I really loved the way that Liz Trenow draws the reader in and keeps them connected with the feelings that Molly experiences as she attempts to understand what exactly happened that summer and turning over the way that the present intersects with these secrets of her past. The way that these elements of the narrative interconnect and collide with one another and mingle in with local legends was one of my favourite things about this book and it certainly does a fine job of not allowing you to put it down as it gives you a solid case of ‘one more chapter’

green mountains beside body of water during daytime

This was the perfect weekend read for me – and if you’re thinking about your summer holidays and want something to absolutely lose yourself in during a lakeside staycation and forget about what’s going on in the world –  then this would be a perfect book for you , it’s so immersive! 

If you love a historical read with a plot that will draw you in and keep you gripped then you’ll really love The Secrets of the Lake and  should treat yourself to a copy – I mean, just LOOK at that gorgeous cover!

The Secrets of the Lake by [Liz Trenow]

Thank you so much to Anne Cater & Random Things Tours for aways recommending such great reads. I love being prompted to read such a diverse and eclectic range of books and being able to share my views with other book lovers is an absolute pleasure.

Buy yourself a copy here and follow the tour to see what all of these great bloggers thought too

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I loved it. I loved how it made me feel and I didn’t want it to the end. It is beautifully layered, and I found the story moving, magical and original. A book with a mystery at its heart, solved very cleverly — Dinah Jefferies

Masterful storytelling, immersive locations, and characters that inhabit your heart from the first page: this is a novel I know will stay with me for a long time — Gill Paul

Atmospheric and compelling, it’s set during a post-war summer in a small village. I loved the touches of myth & fairytale & the wonderful characters of Jimmy & Molly — Tracy Rees

A wonderful story of love, family and the things we do to protect both. I loved the post-war setting of a small village rife with secrets and whispers, and Molly, Jimmy & Kit’s story stayed with me long after the last page was turned. A brilliant read for anyone who enjoys books by Pam Jenoff and Rachel Hore — Nikola Scott

Wonderfully atmospheric, and with an intriguing mystery running through its pages, The Secrets of the Lake is a haunting and compelling tale of family, folklore, and the lingering ripples of tragedy in a quiet English village. Liz Trenow writes such authentic characters you feel as if you know them personally. I enjoyed every beautifully-written page — Hazel Gaynor

This atmospheric book is, on the surface, gently beguiling and evocative, but beneath float sinister undertones. Jimmy was a delight and my sympathies were with Molly from the beginning. The fusion of local legend into the plot, and the story Molly wrote for Jimmy were both clever and charming. I loved it, right up to the poignant end — Louise Fein

Liz is an utterly brilliant story-teller and, with her beautiful prose and page-turning plot, has given us another winner. I shall be highly recommending! — Jenny Ashcroft

Writer On The Shelf

Liz Trenow Author Pic.jpeg
Liz Trenow

LIZ TRENOW is a former journalist who spent fifteen years on regional and national newspapers, and on BBC radio and television news, before turning her hand to fiction. The Secrets of the Lake is her eighth novel. The Forgotten Seamstress reached the top twenty in the New York Times best seller list and The Last Telegram was nominated for a national award. Her books are published all over the world and translated into many languages.

She lives in Essex with her artist husband, and they have two grown up daughters and three grandchildren. Find out more at http://www.liztrenow.com, or join her on Twitter or Instagram @LizTrenow or Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/liztrenow

Sew on the Go

In 2016, Mary Jane Baxter did what many people dream of: she quit her job at the BBC, rented out her flat and headed for the hills. Her home for the next few months was an upcycled 1986 Bedford Bambi campervan with a top speed of 60mph. She raided skips for vintage wallpaper and scoured second-hand emporiums to source stylish vintage accessories, creating her own travelling craft studio, packed with everything necessary for crafting on the road.

She then set off around Europe searching for inspiration, travelling from Belgium right down to the Cinque Terre in Italy then around France and up to Scotland. Armed with her trusty hand-cranked Singer, she spent a summer sewing on the go, foraging in flea markets, meeting artists and hosting pop-up events to help fund her trip. Like creatives the world over she decided to see where her travels would lead her and returned with a head full of new projects.

Fortunately, there s no need for you to give up your job, wave goodbye to your family and rent out your house in order to re-ignite your own creativity; Mary Jane has done all the hard work for you. Sew on the Go is her guide to carving out more creative space in your life. From decorating your own budget-conscious bolthole to achievable projects including clothes and fashion accessories, beautiful gift ideas and child-friendly makes, this book is the ideal companion for those who dream of devoting more time to their craft.

And now for something completely different…

Mary Jane Baxter is one of a kind and her wonderfully creative and inspiring book is just what you need to inspire you to unleash your inner creativity after lockdown! You do not have to be a talented maker yourself to be entranced and inspired by the incomparable Mary Jane. Even though my friend Jo is the creative one in our friendship, I certainly think that anyone with an interest in people, places and inspiring projects would find this book fascinating and it might even give you some confidence to start off your own project that you’ve been putting off for way too long…

yellow, green, and red floral skirt

A thing of beauty as they say, is a joy forever and this book is beautiful in its own right as well as describing beautifully some of the many creative projects and ideas that Mary Jane has worked on over the years. Even if you have never created a thing since school craft class, there are lots of hints, tips and step by step explanations that will demystify lots of theese creative processes and give you some reassurance that you too could create something gorgeous given half the chance. The fact that Mary Jane intersperses these instructions with snippets of tales about her own journeys in creativity makes this like a craft box in its own right, wherever you dip into it you find something to treasure and it would make a fantastic gift for that creative person in your life…

pink blue and yellow wooden musical instrument

Mary Jane Baxter moved away from the certainty of full time employment in a prestigious job at the BBC and embark on voyage of creative discovery in her Bedford Campervan Bambi – completely styled up in her own inimitable and eclectic way and set off on a huge road trip, taking her creativity and design flair all across Europe. It’s a great experience to vicariously travel with her and her descriptions are as creative and amazingly detailed as her crafting work. If you have ever daydreamed about packing everything up and heading off on the open road for an epic adventure then this book will let you live through this alongside Mary Jane and see, hear and smell all the sights that she describes for us so beautifully.

white and green plastic clothes hanger

Sew on the Go is the book I never knew I needed. There has been a real movement in recent times to enjoy slow food – and this is the travelling and crafying equivalent. Nothing is rushed or casually included and the details build up to make you feeel like even if you aren’t brave enough quote yet to pull something like this off for ourself, Mary Jane’s words allow you to travel the highways and find inspiration from your own living room as well as getting inspired by her creative flow and the way that she takes tiny moments from her travels and incorporates them into her craft as a maker – I loved it!

person holding blue and white round ornament

Even if you’d never describe yourself as crafty, this book is something completely different that might inspire you to push your boundaries and think about making something to treasure. People have maybe come to the same conclusion as me – that instead of talking about things going ‘back to normal’ maybe we should think of the last year or so as a re-set and take the time to learn, make or do things that we might never have considered before hand – Mary Jane provides the inspiration and the encouragement that we are all capable of being a maker, so what are you waiting for?

Treat yourself to a copy and follow your inspiration!

Writer On The Shelf

Mary Jane Baxter
Mary Jane Baxter

Mary Jane Baxter is a writer and craft expert. She worked as a BBC journalist for 12 years before leaving her job as a foreign reporter and producer to train as a couture hat maker. She worked with milliner to the stars Stephen Jones in London, did a stint with Marc Jacobs in Paris, and sold her first collection to the Harvey Nichols flagship store in Knightsbridge.

She runs textile and millinery courses across Europe and writes and reports on fashion, craft and creativity for BBC television with her latest appearance as a judge on BBC’s Paul Martin’s Handmade Britain. Mary Jane also writes columns for Homes & Antiques magazine (Style on a Shoestring), and Sew magazine (Stitching in the City); and writes features for the BBC, Guardian, Mollie Makes and Cloth magazines.

http://www.maryjanemakes.com

maryjanemillinery.co.uk

Not Exactly Chaucer – Blog Tour

In this contemporary twist on Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales’, tour manager, Bailey, strives to ensure that her guests enjoy their three-week tour of Australia – for many, the holiday of a lifetime.

Then Bailey discovers that her tour operator – Australia Unleashed – has been taken over, she has a secret shopper among the guests and her career is on the line. She remains determined in her quest. However, her good intentions disintegrate into a cocktail of chaos! Take a slice of mystery; a shot of skulduggery; a measure of prejudice; a twist of romance and a dash of humour.

Put them all together, shake and enjoy, as the twenty-one travellers each tell their stories, form new relationships and discover things about themselves that will change their lives forever.

It’s great at the weekend to get the chance to relax and immerse yourself in books that you’ve been waiting to indulge in, when you have got the time and headspace to really enjoy them and savour them. But if you are anything like me – you find that when you’ve really really enjoyed a book, you might not be quite ready yet to dive straight into another lengthy tome – and that’s where Wendy Mason’s original ad eclectic group of tales comes in just perfect. This is a book that you can dip into and read a few at a time and then look back over the whole cavalcade of characters once you’ve had time to enjoy them all…

brown lake under blue sky

Bailey’s group of tourists are certainly a long way from Canterbury, but in these perfectly drawn character studies you get exactly the same sense of observational accuracy, social commentary and diverse voices as Chaucer’s original! It was great to be able to come back from a huge sweeping drive around Perthshire and enjoy a couple of these with a gin before dinner. The diversity of tales on offer here is fabulous – it’s like a box of chocolates with plenty to choose from – you can take a lucky dip and be surprised at the range of tales on offer here – the common denominator is that they are all skilfully written and leave you wanting more after you’ve savoured one…

opened box of chocolate

My husband got used to me bringing up the latest episode over dinner as I regaled him with the most up to date set of characters that I’d ‘met’ through these pages It was interesting to hear that they were written not by an Australian, but by a fellow Brit as they certainly made me feel like I was joining them on this vividly described tour as we worked our way through them and talked them over at length. I know that the Canterbury Tales themselves might not be for everyone, but these stories do what all the best tales do, present humanity in all its glory from the best of us to the very worst of us and I can truly say – all human life is here…

empty road between brown fields with green trees

I enjoyed being able to read them and flip back and forward to the whole cast and cavalcade of characters and compare and contrast them as I read. It was difficult to put down as I got so caught up with where they travelled to and who we were going to meet next. Bailey was a great device to pull all of these eclectic lives together. I particularly enjoyed Professor Harold Reeve’s story and was fascinated to discover that it had its basis in real-life events – I don’t do spoilers but I can assure you that you’ll be as surprised as I was that Wendy based this on a real-life episode from her husband’s family history…

couple taking selfie

I really enjoyed this collection and will be recommending it to people in my book club who enjoy a read that takes them far away and allows them to get caught up in an intriguing tale with a pleasing array of interesting characters . This is an unusual and compelling read that has enough diversity to keep you intrigued and enough variety to ensure that you keep turning the pages long into the night! I recommend it to people who enjoy something a little bit different and appreciate a book with a great cast of characters that really makes you think about people and what makes them tick as you are reading

Buy yourself a copy and enjoy the rest of the Bloggers on the Tour!

Sydney, Opera House during daytime

Writer On The Shelf

Wendy Mason

Wendy was born in Queniborough, Leicestershire and enjoyed her careers as a hospital administrator, lecturer and finally as a capital manager for schools in Cornwall. She now lives in Falmouth with her husband, Harold, close to their daughter Rachael, Son-in-law Dan and two grandsons, Hector (5) and Arthur (3). 

She took early retirement in 2011 (she emphasises early) and decided to study creative writing. Her first novel, St Francis – An Instrument of Peace, was published after eight years of research and perfecting her writing skills.

Her latest novel – Not Exactly Chaucer – is based on the concept of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales with a contemporary twist. The setting is a three-week escorted tour of Australia. Bailey, the tour manager, struggles to discover who is a threat to her career, while the 21 travellers each tell their stories, form new relationships and discover things about themselves that will change their lives for ever.

The Glorious Guinness Girls – Blog Tour

The Glorious Guinness Girls are the toast of London and Dublin society. Darlings of the press, Aileen, Maureen and Oonagh lead charmed existences that are the envy of many.

But Fliss knows better. Sent to live with them as a child, she grows up as part of the family and only she knows of the complex lives beneath the glamorous surface.

Then, at a party one summer’s evening, something happens which sends shockwaves through the entire household. 


In the aftermath, as the Guinness sisters move on, Fliss is forced to examine her place in their world and decide if where she finds herself is where she truly belongs.


Set amid the turmoil of the Irish Civil War and the brittle glamour of 1920s London, The Glorious Guinness Girls is inspired by one of the most fascinating family dynasties in the world – an unforgettable novel of reckless youth, family loyalty and destiny.

The Glorious Guinness Girls

If you love a historical tale that brings a fascinating period most vividly to life, you will love this book that brings the era of the Bright Young Things alive and allows you to walk in their shoes as you experience the highs and lows of their fascinating and privileged lives

The Glorious Guinness Girls is without a doubt one of the best books I’ve read this year – and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that I’ll be saying exactly the same in December when it comes to look back across all my reads of 2021. It plunges us into the experiences of these sisters as they live their charmed lives at the centre of society, ably navigating the social circles of both London and Dublin. One summer evening changes everything and the gilded existence of the sisters can be seen in quite a different light…

Hourican’s original and fascinating read is told from the fictional point of view of Fliss Burke, who is sent to be a companion the Guinness family in their Dublin house Glenmaroon, working with the three Guinness daughters Aileen, Maureen and Oonagh.  This fantastically realised novel is based on a true story,which makes it all the more compelling and I was glad to have a full weekend off to get totally caught up in this memorable and immersive historical tale.

The glorious Guinness girls

If you have been folowing me for a while, you’ll know that I love a well-written historical tale where I find out something new about a period that I can really immerse myself in – and even though I thought I knew a fair bit about this period, there was a lot here that was new to me and that of course I went down a rabbit hole looking up whilst I was reading this tale. The tfact that we hear things from the perspective of ‘outsider’ Fliss,  also contributed to my enjoyment hugely as I enjoyed her very different insights to the characters she observes as we are led through this view through the keyhole of their fabulously gilded existence

As readers we feel intrigued alongside Fliss as we are able to observe a totally unfamiliiar world from her perspective. Her resourceful personality and ability to pour oil on troubled waters makes her absolutely perfect for this role. It was fascinating to hear about her arrival as a child, from her own turbulent experiences to take her place at the heart of one of the most privileged families in the country. Her youth and ability to seize the moment soon make her an invaluable part of the family until trouble rears its head and she parts her way with the family, not seeing them again until later life – where the scales have fallen from her eyes somewhat and the dynamic has changed irrevocably…

Fliss’s position was unique and I loved seeing the family from this original and clever perspective – I feel like it was her strength of character that really allowed me to connect with her. It was a strength of the text that through her we get to see the contrasat between the golden life of the Guinness girls’ lives and how the other half lived, in the midst of their lives of luxury. There have been many contrasts with Downton Abbey and there is that same sense of ‘upstairs downstairs’ drama – where the juxtaposition between the haves and have nots makes the inequalities and social stratification come vividly alive as you read

I loved the way that we are able to hear about the way that women’s lives were so set in stone and how inflexible society was, no matter what your status or wealth at this time. I got more and more fascinated by this era as the novel progressed. The social history is blended absolutely perfectly with the sisters’ lives so that you are immersed in their stories as you turn the pages and I was absolutely caught up in Aileen, Oonagh and Maureen’s lives as they came alive for me off the page

Will Cross, Author on Twitter: "Three Sisters : Daughters of Arthur & Marie  Guinness L : Maureen (1907-1998) (Lady Dufferin) & Aileen ( 1904-1999)  (Hon. Mrs Plunket) R : Oonagh ( 1910-1995) (

Emily Hourican does an absolutely amazing job of allowing us an insight into the rareified world of the Bright Young Things as we read the tale of these sistersthe social stratification, fragile alleigances, and the stark consequences for anyone who stepped over the strictly delineated boundaries that were set in stone is painted for us in vivid technicolour. Through this novel we are able to imagine the small details of their lives, their friendships, hopes and disappointmets as they live through a period of great politcal upheaval amd change I was totally caught up in this story and have thought about it non stop over the last few weeks. I think it would make for an incredible film, you can imagine yourself walking through the hallway at Glenmarron as you read and I’d love to see it on the big screen in glorious technicolour one day .

I absolutely loved The Glorious Guinness Girls. It is a wonderfully realised historical read that will entwine you in the lives of its character until the final page. We get so caught up in the lives of these characters that it was almost impossible to step away from reading about them once the book had finished. I have gone down the rabbit hole of exploring the lives of the real Guinness girls since finishing the book and am looking for another read set in the same area as I feel absolutely fascinated by this period of change for women as society began to alter forever for those born into this gilded lifestlye

The Glorious Guinness Girls: A story of the scandals and secrets of the  famous society girls: Amazon.co.uk: Hourican, Emily: 9781472274595: Books

Buy yourself a copy here and follow the blog tour to see what these other bloggers thought of the book. Thank you so much to Antonia Whitton from Headline books for the invitation and I’m delighted to be giving five stars for this incredible historical read.

Oonagh Guinness - Wikipedia

‘The Glorious Guinness Girls has already been compared, and rightly so, to Downton Abbey. The two share a delicious comfort-blanket quality, only in the book’s case, you do not need to wait until Sunday evenings before availing of its escapist properties. The story combines the intimacy of a family drama, set against the most opulent of backdrops, with sweeping historical themes. The tragic fragility of so many of the Guinness Girls’ set – that ability to burn bright, but burn fast, is perfectly captured here’ Irish Independent

‘A must for all Downton Abbey fans, The Glorious Guinness Girls is a gorgeous book, a captivating tale about a young girl caught up in the lifestyle of a family that continues to fascinate – the Guinness Family. A joy to read’ Swirl and Thread

Set amid the turmoil of the Irish Civil War and the brittle glamour of 1920s London, The Glorious Guinness Girls is inspired by one of the most fascinating family dynasties in the world – an unforgettable novel of reckless youth, family loyalty and destiny.

Writer On The Shelf

Emily Hourican is a journalist and author. She has written features for the Sunday Independent for fifteen years, as well as Image magazine, Conde Nast Traveler and Woman and Home. She was also editor of The Dubliner Magazine.


Emily’s first book, a memoir titled How To (Really) Be A Mother was published in 2013. She is also the author of novels The PrivilegedWhite VillaThe Outsider and The Blamed. Her first novel about the Guinness sisters The Glorious Guinness Girls was published in 2020.
She lives in Dublin with her family.

Mrs Narwhal’s Diary – Blog Tour #Damppebbles

“It was Woman’s Hour who suggested I keep a diary. They said it was good for mental health, and I must say I did feel much less frazzled after writing everything down yesterday. The frustrations were all still there, but somehow smoothed out – as if by a really good steam iron.”

Mrs Narwhal is overwhelmed. Her husband, Hugh, is unkind and unhappy – working every hour at a job he hates to save the ancestral home he never wanted. Then there’s Hugh’s sister, Rose, who’s spurned her one true love, and ricochets from drama to drama; and not to mention two small boys to bring up safely in a house that could crumble around their ears at any moment…

When Hugh’s pride receives a fatal blow, and he walks out, Mrs Narwhal is plunged into a crisis of both heart and home. With help from Rose she sets out to save the house her husband couldn’t. But now that Hugh’s gone, the question must be faced: does Mrs Narwhal really want him back?

Funny, charming, and moving, Mrs Narwhal’s Diary is an irresistible story which will enchant and delight its readers.

S J Norbury lives in Herefordshire with her family. Mrs Narwhal’s Diary is her first novel.

In Mrs Nawhal’s diary, SJ Norbury shows her extraordinary gift for illuminating the small but important details which make us human. She is that rare writer who makes us laugh whilst reminding us of the joy, and the challenges, of being alive.

Am so happy to be on today’s Blog Tour of #MrsNarwhalsDiary today and it’s an actual tour today because I’m posting this from gorgeous Perthshire this morning on a weekend break. It’s wonderful to be curled up with a great book after a windy walk. The wood burning stove is lit and the I’m looking forward to a gin as soon as it’s past 6 o’clock!

I’m feeling like I really have come to know Mrs Narwhal after living through these events with her – Thank you so much to Emma Welton aka Damppebbles for inviting me on the tour, it has been a great way to kick off my weekend!

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I absolutely loved this book. It’s a warm and uplifting read that will genuinely draw you into its community and let you feel part of Mrs Narwhal’s world as she tries to navigate life and all the curveballs that it throws her at Narwhal Hall after Husband Hugh has ‘gone off’ and she is left to think hard about the direction her life is going and how she wants to steer her ship.

Mrs Narwhal was a fantastic character that you can totally believe in. When I was reading about her marital life and all of the eclectic and eccentric characters that form part of it and the many areas to navigate as she tries to keep afloat – such as her upholstery and other ventures , it’s an easy sentiment to connect with – I’m sure lots of you will have had that feeling when you think your life is toodling alog fine and then all of a sudden you end up in situations that you could never have anticipated. Thebook has lots of gently humorous moments, as she begins to configure her life again – and you will be creasing up, hearing about some of the situations she finds herself caught up in.

Her family and friends bring much to the story and it is the way that their lives interconnect and other assorted oddities is one of the best things about this book. You will have had lots of these moments yourself where you’ve ended up finding things in common with people you’d never have imagined and this novel does a great job of stitching all its diverse moments together and making you feel like these are people that have become part of our life too.

unknown person writing

Even if you haven’t read anything like this before, I guarantee that you will find charm, humour and much to think about within its pages. There were loads of moments in Mrs Narwhal’s journey that I really connected with – her odd reflections and off-the-cuff comments are totally unique and I found some parts of her story absolutely hilarious. Her sister in law Rose was a stand-out character for me and I loved the way that you get a real sense of her genius for catastrophe reaching through the pages

S J Norbury has a real genuis for describing some of the absurdities f modern life n a wholly relatable and engaging way. It presents a picture of a unique, hilarious and memorable period in Narwhal family life and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment as I was reading it I would absolutely love to see this fabulous trilogy on our screens in the future. When you read the ‘roll of honour’ below, you’ll see that there are so many fans of her writing that are far more eminent than myself – so you don’t just have to take MY word for it…

Buy yourself a copy here and enjoy meeting Mrs Narwhal and experiencing a slice of her unique, eclectic and interesting life for yourself…

Writer On the Shelf

S J Norbury lives in Herefordshire with her family. Mrs Narwhal’s Diary is her first novel.

A Melancholy Event – Blog Tour

When Stephanie finds a hand-written story in a box of old papers, the path her life is to take becomes clear. Haunted by the true tale of a duel that took place 200 years ago, a ritual as tragic in its inevitability as it is in its futility, she is determined to harness its ghoulish beauty for her own ends.

A Melancholy Event is a tale of obsession, of a story that inhabits and infects the landscape, drawing the characters in this novel into its own world.

An eerie novel of possession and compulsion, of a young woman propelled to fulfil a macabre destiny.

In A Melancholy Event, Dan Glaister shows a wonderful ability to make us feel drawn in to a creepy and unsettling world. He is the kind of writer who can create realistic characters and settings that just have that off-kilter vibe that makes reading about them a very immersive experience. Reviewing this book today on a dreich day, with the fire lit, I am glad of the opportunity to share such an original, moving and beautifully written tale that is ideal for settling down with an enjoying in a single eeerily perfect sitting

black and silver fountain pen

Am so happy to be on today’s Blog Tour of #AMelancholyEvent It’s wonderful to be curled up with a great book after a windy walk. The wood burning stove is lit and the candles are lit. I love being able to shout loudly about great reads and love featuring books that I think deserve more attention on my blog

Thank you so much to Anne Cater & Random Things Tours for inviting me on the tour, it has been another great read that I might not have come across and I’m delighted to share my views today and end the week with this small but perfectly formed read…

I absolutely loved this book. It’s an eclectic and insidious read that will genuinely draw you into its world and draw you right into Stephanie’s story, suspending your disbelief as you join in with her on her journey back into the past as she tries to navigate the mysterious legacy that these letters hold within them

flat view of invitation card

Stephanie was wonderfully drawn in that way where you can enjoy the elusiveness of really being able ti understand her. When I was reading about her getting drawn back into the past and watching her trying to navigate the obstacles that this naturally throws up as she tries to understand the rituals and ceremonies of a time long gone, it was deceptively easy to connect with her experiences and imagine yourself in her shoes

I’m sure lots of you will have had that desire to be able to travel back and experience settings and situations that are lost to us now. Vicariously doing so with Stephanie was really intriguing with lots of points where you were unsure where fact ended and imagination began. I loved its ‘uncanny’ atmosphere and could not get enough of the descriprions that moved, like smoke and mirrors as we try and naviagate through this tale.

There were loads of moments in Stephanie’s yearning to uncover the mysteries of the past through these letters that I really connected with – her box of letters is something that I’d have loved to find as a young person and I followed her through the rabbit hole with a mixture of fascination, suspended disbelief and outright envy….

If you love beautifully written tales that surprise you at every turn, this is the book for you.  If this review hasn’t made you want to take the leap into the past alongside Stephanie and disover these mysteries for yourself then you’re definitrely missing out – why don’t you consider taking the leap and buy yourself a copy.

grayscale photo of city on brown board

It’s one of the most interestingly written and thought provoking books I’ve read so far this year, and will make it difficult for you to stop thinking about it even after you’ve long turned the final eerie page.

Writer On The Shelf

Dan Glaister was born and grew up in the south of England, going on to work at The Guardian, as a writer, editor and foreign correspondent. He is captivated by the stories embedded in the landscape, by the traces they leave and how they seep into our present. He lives in Gloucestershire, near the setting of this, his first novel. Follow him on twitter @danglaister