The Painter’s Girl

The Painter’s Girl

‘I want to paint you,’ he whispers. In his studio filled with golden light she takes in the canvases propped against every wall, the paints like jewels. She thinks of the pictures she longs to paint, of her lost little girl playing in sunlit gardens. Will she ever see her daughter again?

Paris, 1860s. For Mimi Bisset, survival is everything on the cobbled streets of the Paris slums. She tries to forget the pain of losing her daughter Colette: born out of wedlock and forcibly given away to a rich family. But Mimi’s world turns upside down after a chance encounter with handsome artist Édouard Manet. Boldly posing for portraits on Manet’s chaise longue, Mimi feels a wild freedom – and as Manet teaches her how to layer the vivid paints on canvas herself, a passion grows between them that breaks all the rules…

At Manet’s side, Mimi is caught up in his world. They dance all night at Paris’s new can-can clubs and drink absinthe at masked balls. But one day, strolling by the Seine on her lover’s arm, Mimi catches a glimpse of familiar green eyes… it’s Colette, with a family who Manet knew all along.

Although she’s reeling that the man she loved kept such a secret from her, Mimi is filled with hope she’ll finally get her daughter back. But when a terrible rumour begins to circulate about Mimi, the only place she has to go is back to the slums. Destitute, hungry and alone, can Mimi clear her name? Or will her heart shatter all over again when she loses her daughter for a second, final time?

Fans of Marie Benedict, Chocolat and anyone who dreams of springtime in Paris will adore this utterly captivating read. Inspired by true stories of a group of radical painters who changed the art world forever – and the forgotten women who were their muses.

The French Impressionists, hidden secrets and simmering passion – what more could you ask for in the perfect springtime read? . I can’t stop reaching for historical fiction, and this is one of the most enjoyable reads that I’ve indulged myself in this spring. I was absolutely intrigued by the premise of this book featuring some of the real French Impressionists, I loved hearing more about their fascinating history across these pages. This book is a wonderfully compelling tapestry of fact and fiction, taking real characters and moments from history and bringing them to life before our eyes. I was delighted to be invited on the tour by Noelle Holton and Bookouture and found myself absolutely intrigued by this fascinating tale of art, passion and intrigue at a really interesting period in history.

Having studied the Impressionists at school, I was really intrigued by the idea behind this story, it definitely did not disappoint, grabbing me and pulled me right into Mimi’s story where we become wholly wrapped up in the twists and turns of the life of this determined and resilient character. Life is difficult enough for women now – you can only imagine how much more difficult things were then. We get to hear about this art from the perspective of the ‘subject’ as well as the painters and this really added to the story for me. It’s a book that you’ll find hard to believe it’s fiction as you’ll become so caught up in Mimi’s story and you’ll be fascinated by this inisight into the world of these intriguing and diverse artists

I absolutely loved the unique atmosphere of this novel and definitely found it quite addictive. It was intriguing to imagine a world in which your choices and next direction are far more constrained than women nowadays and knowing that your fortunes depend on your ability to turn your difficulties into opportunities and to use your wit and wisdom to ensure that you might be ‘only a woman’ but you are definitely far from insignificant…

This novel presents this period of history in a fresh original way which makes the story come alove and turns these ‘still lives’ into living, breathing people who we come to really care for. Mimi feels very much like a real person, despite the distance of time between us and you feel really caught up in the twists and turns of her story. This is a really unique novel that has to be experienced to truly realise how compelling it is. I think that most people imagine people from the past to be vastly different to us; here we see that this is no longer true as we see their troubles, worries and dilemmas in living colour as we’re plunged into their lives.

Helen Fripp is a talented and really original writer – and I really enjoyed getting an insight into this incredible period in history through her writing. You will be fascinated to uncover all that Mimi went through and shocked that you didn’t know more about this fascinating time in the history of art. Your relationship with the characters builds and builds as you experience the challenges and constraints of Mimi’s situation and everything that she has to go through as he battles to defy her circumstances and create a life for herself and her daughter that she’s dreamed of for so long…

This is 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 allowed me to connect with its characters. I can’t wait to see what Helen Fripp does next. The opportunity to immerse yourself in a wholly different moment in time is so compellingly created – this would make an excellent Book Group read as it would be sure to provoke lots and lots of discussion and comment about the women who feature in our art galleries and the stories behind their expressions and the pain behind many of their smiles

Treat yourself to a copy and discover Mimi’s history of art for yourself

Praise for The Painter’s Girl:

Completely gripping and heart-breaking… easily read in one sitting… an absolute triumph…truly an unstoppable read!…I loved every minute of it!’ NetGalley reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Totally gripping… I was captivated right from the start.’ Goodreads reviewer

‘This story was completely unexpected… A wonderful story… a wonderful escape to Paris… recommend it.’ Page Turners

‘Helen Fripp has done an excellent job… twists and turns that will surprise and keep you hooked… loved.’ Beachesbooksandcoffee

Nineteenth century Paris comes alive… vibrant… Fascinating… Beautifully written historical fiction.” Jaffa Reads Too

Thrilling… fascinating… Great to be swept away to Paris… Emotional, endearing and impactful.’ Bobs and Books

‘Fascinating… I was enthralled… I was glued from beginning to end.’ Eatherbookreview

Writer On The Shelf

I love delving into the past and uncovering new stories, and in my writing, the tiniest historical detail can spark an idea for a whole chapter. My female characters rail against the social constraints to which they are subject and often achieve great success, but they are of course flawed and human, like the rest of us. It’s the motivations, flaws, loves and every-day lives of my characters that I love to bring life, against sweeping historical backdrops – and I will find any excuse to take off and research a captivating location or person for my next story.

My first novel is set in the Champagne region in France, and I’m currently working on my next one, set in late eighteenth century Paris. I spent a lot of time in France as a child, have lived in Paris and spent a year with my family in a fishing village in South West France, so that’s where my books have ended up being set so far. Who knows where next!

Author social media



Out today! Buy:


Sparks Like Stars

Kabul, 1978: The daughter of a prominent family, Sitara Zamani lives a privileged life in Afghanistan’s thriving cosmopolitan capital. The 1970s are a time of remarkable promise under the leadership of people like Sardar Daoud, Afghanistan’s progressive president, and Sitara’s beloved father, his right-hand man. But the ten-year-old Sitara’s world is shattered when communists stage a coup, assassinating the president and Sitara’s entire family. Only she survives. 

Smuggled out of the palace by a guard named Shair, Sitara finds her way to the home of a female American diplomat, who adopts her and raises her in America. In her new country, Sitara takes on a new name—Aryana Shepherd—and throws herself into her studies, eventually becoming a renowned surgeon. A survivor, Aryana has refused to look back, choosing instead to bury the trauma and devastating loss she endured. 

New York, 2008: Thirty years after that fatal night in Kabul, Aryana’s world is rocked again when an elderly patient appears in her examination room—a man she never expected to see again. It is Shair, the soldier who saved her, yet may have murdered her entire family. Seeing him awakens Aryana’s fury and desire for answers—and, perhaps, revenge. Realizing that she cannot go on without finding the truth, Aryana embarks on a quest that takes her back to Kabul—a battleground between the corrupt government and the fundamentalist Taliban—and through shadowy memories of the world she loved and lost. 

Bold, illuminating, heartbreaking, yet hopeful, Sparks Like Stars is a story of home—of America and Afghanistan, tragedy and survival, reinvention and remembrance, told in Nadia Hashimi’s singular voice.

Maybe it was because we’ve all been stuck at home for the last two years, rather than being able to dust off my travelling bags and head off to explore somewhere unfamiliar and exotic that I’m getting so much pleasure from travelling through the books that I’m choosing this year I can’t stop reaching for books set in far-flung places, and this is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I was absolutely intrigued by the premise of this book and it didn’t put me off that I hadn’t read ‘The Pearl that Broke Its Shell’ I was delighted to be invited on the tour by Anne Cater from Random Things Tours and found myself absolutely intrigued by this fascinating insight into this setting and the story that unfolded through its pages of a beautiful city and the characters that went through so much there…

This book whisked me off to Kabul where we become wholly wrapped up in the story of Sitara and her family The fact that we see Kabul before the coup and witness it firsthand made for fascinating reading and it was so interesting to see the culture of Afghanistan from a very different perspective from the way it’s normally portrayed and that made these events all the more devastating. . It’s a book that you’ll find hard to believe it’s fiction as you’ll become so caught up in these characters’ stories The setting is also very vividly portrayed – both in Kabul and in Sitara’s new life in the USA, and we get to see the streets spring to life in stunningly vivid prose that makes you feel like you could be there right alongside these characters.

I absolutely loved the unique atmosphere of this novel and definitely found it quite addictive. It was intriguing to imagine a world in which your choices and next direction are far more constrained than women nowadays. I thought the contrasts between the Kabul and New York were really well delineated and we get a sense of the vastness of difference and opportunity in these two countries and how different places can be from one another both in terms of terrain but also culturally. The impact of trauma and the way that our past can intrude on the present, no matter how many miles we travel or how far we come as people is also vividly brought to life in a very thought-provoking way.

This novel presents this period of history in a fresh original way which makes you feel like you understand each of these characters’ perspectives equally. It has made me determined to read The House Without Windows again this summer and explore more of this beautiful writing. Sitara/ Aryana feels very much like a real person, despite the incredibly traumatic and dramatic experiences she has to endure and you feel really caught up in her story. This is a really unique novel that has to be experienced to truly realise how special it is. I’d love to see it on the silver screen and see this fascinating tale unfold in such a beautiful setting – it really feels like an epic and you see the way that world events unfold from a very human perspective as we see the impact of the Afghan conflict on people, rather than from a political or military perspetive.

Nadia Hashimi is certainly a talented writer – and I really enjoyed researching more about the 1970s in Kabul online after I’d finished reading the book. You will be fascinated to uncover how progressive things were there at this time, and it was so vividly drawn that I could almost imagine being there. I defy anyone to finish this book and not want to read more by this writer immediately. Your relationship with the characters builds and builds as you experience the trauma and adversity that they face and you will be unable to put this book down as you see Aryana’s new life and her old one collide in the most dramatic and unexpected way…

This is a book that I know I’ll be recommending to lots of readers as I was totally immersed in its characters, its stunning sense of place and the way it really allowed me to connect with its characters. I think that this would provoke lots and lots of discussion about a nation and culture that most people don’t know very much about…

Treat yourself to a copy and discover this epic and fascinating story for yourself

PRAISE for Sparks Like Stars

“Hashimi’s narrative is telenovela-good—daring adventurers, deadly secrets, family drama, the beloved dead, a politician-in-the-making, true love, and more.”
— Booklist (starred review)

“The question of whether Sitara can go home again is the existential and physical journey Hashimi conjures, in a story at once surreal and deeply rooted in the history of Afghanistan’s modern turmoil and ancient enchantment.” — NPR

“A fascinating epic tale.” — New York Post

“Thrilling and moving”  — Booklist 

“The novel is an elegiac tribute to family and civilization—fragile collective entities that should be cherished while they still hold.”  — BookPage

Writer On The Shelf

Nadia Hashimi was born and raised in New York and New Jersey. Both her parents were born in Afghanistan and left in the early 1970s, before the Soviet invasion. In 2002, Nadia made her first trip to Afghanistan with her parents. She is a pediatrician and lives with her family in the Washington, DC, suburbs. She is the author of three books for adults, as well as the middle-grade novels One Half from the East and The Sky at Our Feet. Visit her online at


Worn down by a job he hates, and a stressful family life, middle-aged, middle-class Bradley picks up a teenage escort and commits an unspeakable crime. Now she’s tied up in his warehouse, and he doesn’t know what to do.

Max is homeless, eating from rubbish bins, sleeping rough and barely existing – known for cadging a cigarette from anyone passing, and occasionally even the footpath. Nobody really sees Max, but he has one friend, and she’s gone missing.

In order to find her, Max is going to have to call on some people from his past, and reopen wounds that have remained unhealed for a very long time, and the clock is ticking…

Hard-hitting, fast-paced and immensely thought-provoking, Faceless – the startling new standalone thriller from New Zealand’s ‘Queen of Crime’ – will leave you breathless.

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour to celebrate the publication of this standalone novel from one of my favourite crime novelists and Orenda Favourite, Vanda Symon, and would like to thank Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater of Random Things for the tour invitation as I absolutely love the Sam Shephard series and was delighted to be back in Vanda Shephard’s capable hands for this dark and compelling pageturner.

I have been looking forward to reading it ever since it dropped through my letterbox and I am delighted to say that this was just as fantastic as Vanda’s other books and put me in the mood for finding more Kiwi authors that I haven’t discovered yet as she really is a breath of fresh air in my reading landscape.

If you’ve loved Vanda’s other writing, this standalone read really is unique in its flavour and once you’ve started, you’ll be totally hooked. Although it’s very different feel than her other books in some ways,   I still love the way that she is able to get under the skin of her characters in such an understated way, leaving you feeling like these ‘faceless’ figures come to life before your very eyes. I really enjoyed the feeling of ‘knowing’ these characters and it meant that I was completely at home once I plunged into the story and felt like I was seeing them with fresh eyes, rather than looking past them as they faded into anonymity.

Choosing three such disparate characters really added to the reading experience for me: Billy our artistic drifter who finds herself in real danger through her desire to complete her art; Bradley our city boy who hides a dark side beneath his shiny corporate shoes, and Max whose quest to find Billy finds him walking paths that he’d never anticipated. It transported me to New Zealand right alongside these characters and made me obsessed with trying to guess where this story would take us next. I don’t think I’ve read a novel recently that kept me on my toes as much in terms of feeling a constant sense of unease and darkness – it seemed like each new piece of information pointed me in a new direction and I was absolutely kept on the hook until the end. I really enjoyed unravelling the strands of this story and its twists and turns ensured that I was absolutely gripped by their stories until the very final chapter.

This is an absolutely immersive read, allowing you to be swept off to New Zealand and see the darker side of its cities for yourself. It had never been somewhere that I’d have been desperate to see – but I found myself thinking about it as I read, trying to imagine seeing some of these places for myself one day and walking in the shoes of the Faceless for myself. I am enjoying ‘travelling’ through my books at the moment as we’ve been ‘grounded’ for the last few year and I am thoroughly enjoying being a vicarious traveller through Orenda books’ catalogue as they’ve taken me all over the world!

Faceless skilfully blends together strong characterisation, a compelling plot and a real sense of place. To me, these diverse elements come together to provide a highly satisfying read as they are woven together so seamlessly in exactly the right proportions that make for an absolutely engrossing pageturner that holds you tight as you get drawn into their story as you see exactly how far the human spirit can be stretched as we struggle to hold onto a thread of dignity in such brutally challenging circumstances.

Vanda Symon is a clever and skilful writer whose characters spring off the page and come to life for you as you follow the twists and turns of fate and its impact on their lives. Faceless stands out to me due to its deft handling of the reader and the way it keeps us guessing as well as its strong sense of place. Billy’s winning combination of toughness and vulnerability means that she is absolutely real for us as we read and I’d love to see her brought to life on the screen. It would be amazing to see it optioned and be able to watch these characters’ lives unfold on screen. I recommend it unreservedly and would love to see other standalones as a palate-cleanser when I’m waiting for a new Sam Shepherd adventure.

Buy yourself a copy of this fantastic read here, and follow the blog tour to hear the thoughts of these other bloggers too

Praise for Faceless

‘Powerful and brilliant writing that transported me to the other side of the world … a wonderful storyteller’ Helen FitzGerald
‘Edgy, thrilling and terrifyingly realistic’ Lisa Hall
‘All the thrills of a brilliantly plotted crime novel with some interesting moral questions woven between the words. Fast, furious and intense’ Helen Fields
‘A portrait of the underbelly of society, this is a deeply involving novel and a damn good thriller’ Paul Burke, NB Magazine
‘Completely gripping … a poignant study of how our society shapes unlikely saints and monsters’ Eve Smith
‘Vanda Symon knows how to tell a good story’ The Times
‘Intense, dark and twisted, this is a fast and pulse-raising read that absolutely gripped me’ Jen Med’s Book Reviews
‘I read the last couple of chapters with bated breath, heart in my throat, eyes brimming. I was completely and utterly invested’ From Belgium with Booklove

Writer On The Shelf

Vanda Symon is a crime writer, TV presenter and radio host from Dunedin, New Zealand, and the chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors. The Sam Shephard series has climbed to number one on the New Zealand bestseller list, and also been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel. She currently lives in Dunedin, with her husband and two sons.

Twitter ~ @vandasymon

River Clyde

Chastity Riley travels to Scotland to face the demons of her past, as Hamburg is hit by a major arson attack. Queen of Krimi, Simone Buchholz, returns with the emotive fifth instalment in the electric Chastity Riley series …

‘Written in crackling prose and with searing insight, this is a deeply heartfelt slice of existential noir – utterly unique’ Doug Johnstone

‘A beautifully crafted exploration of grief and redemption, wrapped in a love letter to Glasgow … Glorious writing’ Will Carver

‘Reading Buchholz is like walking on firecrackers … a truly unique voice in crime fiction’ Graeme Macrae Burnet 

Mired in grief after tragic recent events, state prosecutor Chastity Riley escapes to Scotland, lured to the birthplace of her great-great-grandfather by a mysterious letter suggesting she has inherited a house. 

In Glasgow, she meets Tom, the ex-lover of Chastity’s great aunt, who holds the keys to her own family secrets – painful stories of unexpected cruelty and loss that she’s never dared to confront. 

In Hamburg, Stepanovic and Calabretta investigate a major arson attack, while a group of property investors kicks off an explosion of violence that threatens everyone. 

As events in these two countries collide, Chastity prepares to face the inevitable, battling the ghosts of her past and the lost souls that could be her future and, perhaps, finally finding redemption for them all.

Breathtakingly emotive, River Clyde is an electrifying, poignant and powerful story of damage and hope, and one woman’s fight for survival.

Having loved Hotel Cartagena so much, I was absolutely thrilled to be part of the tour for River Clyde, and once I found out that Chastity Reilly was heading to Scotland in this one, I couldn’t wait to dive in and see what was next for her – thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour. Another triumph for Karen and Orenda books and another writer in translation that I’ve fallen in love with since joining the #TeamOrenda book blogging crew.

Am happy to report that in this book’s case, my anticipation was wholly deserved and I tore through this book over a weekend – and not just because I wanted to get the review in on time – but because I simply could NOT put it down. This is moving, emotional and wholly original crime fiction, and such a departure from lots of the historical fiction that I’d been enjoying throughout February- I could not get enough of it and will be handing it over to Mr On the Shelf pretty immediately as he was intrigued by the Scottish angle and wanted to see how it would unfold for himself

One of the things I loved about her books is that just when you think you know exactly where you are, Simone Buchholz deftly flips your expectations, turns them on their head, and changes your perspective on the events unfolding before your eyes. This beautifully written tale provides the reader with the perfect blend of engaging and credible characters alongside convincingly pacy crime drama and I was definitely captivated by the humanity at the heart of her writing here.

This book was totally different from my normal reading habits and I think I enjoyed it all the more for that very fact – I totally loved the setting across two very different countries – It really jumped to the top of my TBR as the eye-catching cover made me want to get stuck in right away and I absolutely loved the fact that once you are IN there is no letting up. The storyline is so immersive that you can’t let this book out of your sight for a minute once you start. Once again, I felt so connected with Chastity, and finding out about her family history and background brought her character even more vividly to life as she explores the story of her great aunt through Tom and finds out some long-held secrets within her family mythology.

Its cleverly plotted storyline moves effortlessly between Glasgow and Berlin and draws all the elements of the story together so skilfully that you have to look up and realise that you are not right there in the action alongside her. I love the character of Chastity and I think that it’s precisely because the people in this gripping read do feel so real and convincing that the rest of the events in River Clyde feel so plausible and why I got so emotionally invested in this episode of Charity’s adventures.

I really fell for fact that this novel maintains its multi-strand approach so compellingly  which added to the atmosphere as well as increased my empathy for Charity. It is so much more than your run-of-the-mill crime fiction read and that is one of the reasons that I devoured the whole back catalogue after reading Hotel Cartagena. Chastity is a perfect protagonist as she’s got just enough of the normal person mixed in with the public prosecutor about her to keep us intrigued–  I found myself thinking about her as i was at work or driving as she definitely started to feel far more real than any fictional creation has a right to!

In River Clyde, Stephanie Bucholz has created another fantastically original and addictive read: I  really did stay up way too late to finish it.  I absolutely loved the fact that her books are ust as strong on character as they are on plot as there are so many thrillers out there that are just full of identikit characters that are really impossible to care about.  I have a ‘no spoilers’ policy so you’re just going to have to read #RiverClyde for yourself to find out exactly how good it is. You might even find yourself booking a trip to Scotland as a result

This novel comes unhesitatingly recommended by me. It’s a  pageturner in every sense of the word and it’s definitely one that I’m certain will be on lots of people’s ‘best read of the year’ list

Check out River Clyde for yourself here

Praise for Simone Buchholz

‘Modern noir, with taut storytelling, a hard-bitten heroine, and underlying melancholy peppered with wry humour … there’s a fizz, a poetry and a sense of coolness’ New Zealand Listener

‘The coolest character in crime fiction … Darkly funny and written with a huge heart’ Big Issue

‘Fierce enough to stab the heart’ Spectator

‘A stylish, whip-smart thriller’ Herald Scotland

‘Combines slick storytelling with substance … like a straight shot of top-shelf liquor: smooth yet fiery, packing a punch with no extraneous ingredients watering things down’ Mystery Scene

‘Caustic, incisive prose. A street-smart, gutsy heroine. A timely and staggeringly stylish thriller’ Will Carver

‘With plenty of dry humour and a good old dash of despair, Simone Buchholz is an unconventional, refreshing new voice’ Crime Fiction Lover

‘With brief, pacy chapters and fizzling dialogue, this almost feels like American procedural noir and not a translation’ Maxim Jakubowski

‘There is a fantastic pace to the story which keeps you hooked from the first sentence all the way to the end a unique voice that delivers a stylish story’ NB Magazine

‘Simone Buchholz writes with real authority and a pungent, noir-ish sense of time and space … a palpable hit’ Independent

‘Reading Buchholz is like walking on firecrackers … a truly unique voice in crime fiction’ Graeme Macrae Burnet

‘[A] nerve-racking narrative … [with] a cunning climax that is shocking and deeply romantic’ The Times

Writer On The Shelf

Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen- School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award as well as runner-up in the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

The Killing Kind – Jane Casey


The incredible new break-out thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author. Shortlisted for the Irish Crime Book Awards 2021

Ingrid will never forget what John did.
The people he hurt. The way he lied about it so easily. The way she defended him.

Now he’s back.
He says a murderer is after her. He says only he can protect her.

Would you trust him?
The clock is ticking for Ingrid to decide. Because the killer is ready to strike…

As soon as I received this book, I knew that it was going to be hard to keep to my reading schedule and be disciplined as I knew that it was going to be something really special before I even opened it. It’s right up my street and I could not wait to embark upon this compelling and addictive read.

I absolutely love Jane Casey, Maeve Kerrigan is one of my favourite characters and I am constantly awaiting the next instalment of the Kerrigan & Derwent pairing. I feel like Jane Casey’s writing takes all the elements of the true-crime genre that I love and moulds them into a reading experience that feels real all the way through. I was absolutely intrigued to see what a standalone from one of my favourites would look like – so when Anne Cater asked me if I’d like to take part in the blog tour for Random Things Tours, I absolutely bit her hand off and I’m so glad that I did as I absolutely loved it!

Although I was totally absorbed in the story in  The Killing Kind, I do have to admit that I did miss Maeve & Josh Derwent and all the familiar cast of characters that we’ve come to know and love.  The story here is interesting and did definitely keep me turning the pages, although I did find myself longing for the incomparable chemistry between Kerrigan and Derwent and I am still very much looking forward to their next adventure.

Ingrid Lewis is a barrister who’s committed to doing the very best she can for her clients. Like all intelligent people, she is much better at looking out for other people’s interests than her own and can definitely be too trusting of people’s motives at times…

Ingrid successfully defends John Webster, an out-and-out psychopath who repays her by becoming absolutely fixated on her and determined to pay her back, whatever the ultimate cost.

Ingrid successfully secures an acquittal for another client, accused of raping a girl at a party. Unfortunately, the girl later takes her own life in the aftermath of this traumatic event. These two apparently unconnected cases become tangled up together and Ingrid’s fears grow as it seems that people on the periphery of this case begin to meet somewhat untimely ends.

As ever, Jane Casey keeps you on the edge of your seat as you start to piece together the events of what might be connecting the people and circumstances of these cases together. Once I’d got over my sense of missing Maeve, I got into a reading groove and enjoyed trying to work out the facts for myself, among all the elements of the cases that we are presented with…

Ingrid’s personal involvement with events adds another dimension to the plot as she becomes the centre point for the unfolding drama. The more she tries to unravel the events of the past, the closer she gets to her own actions and the threats to her life become ever-increasing. This page-turning read turns into a race against time as Ingrid herself becomes dangerously close to the truth, but at what cost?

I definitely enjoyed getting wrapped up in this tale and wanted to keep reading and find out how it all ends. I  recommend this read to people who really like to get their teeth into a story. I loved the fact that it really kept me guessing as much as I enjoyed the plot and I think that’s the difference to her usual novels, it felt far more about the events of the plot and wasn’t perhaps as captivating in terms of characterisation – but let’s face it when you’re up against Maeve, how is Adam Nash going to be able to compete in one bok, when we’ve come to love her over so many?

Y I’ve heard a lot of my book-loving pals saying they are in a bit of a reading slump at the moment. I think that this could be a great book to jolt you out of it! Thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me – she definitely knows my reading tastes. All I can do now is count down to Jane Casey’s next book as she is a writer I know that I can depend on to keep me turning those pages.

Buy yourself a copy of The Killing Kind here

‘Nobody understands the dark gap between justice and the law better than Jane Casey’ Val McDermid

‘Cool, accomplished, compulsive’ Cara Hunter

‘Extremely tense and very gripping’ Ruth Ware

‘A compulsive page-turner ’ Steve Cavanagh

‘A breathless game of cat-and-mouse’ Erin Kelly

‘A truly masterly thriller’ Liz Nugent

‘Tense and well-plotted’ Harriet Tyce

‘Each twist tightens the screw’ J. R. Ellis

‘Tense, pacy, addictive’ Sarah Vaughan

‘Brilliant plotted’ Catherine Cooper

‘One of my favourite writers’ Dervla McTiernan

‘Twisty and unexpected’ Ann Cleeves

‘Heart-stopping twists ’ Sarah Hilary

‘Endlessly surprising’ Catherine Ryan Howard

‘One of those ‘just one more page’ books’ Susi Holliday

‘Authentic, tense, thrilling’ Will Dean

Writer On The Shelf

Jane Casey is no stranger to the crime world. Married to a criminal barrister, she’s
got the inside track on some of the country’s most dangerous offenders, giving her
writing an unsettlingly realistic feel.

This authenticity has made her novels international bestsellers and critical
successes. They have been nominated for several awards and in 2015 Jane won
both the Mary Higgins Clark Award and Irish Crime Novel of the Year for The
Stranger You Know and After the Fire, respectively. In 2019, Cruel Acts was chosen
as Irish Crime Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. It was a Sunday Times

Born in Dublin, Jane now lives in southwest London with her family.

Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter

Fortune favours the brave in Lizzie Pook’s mesmerising debut novel, Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter


The Brightwell family has sailed from England to make their new home in Western Australia. Ten-year-old Eliza knows little of what awaits them on these shores beyond shining pearls and shells like soup plates – the things her father has promised will make their fortune.

Ten years later and Charles Brightwell, now the bay’s most prolific pearler, goes missing from his ship while out at sea. Whispers from the townsfolk suggest mutiny and murder, but headstrong Eliza, convinced there is more to the story, refuses to believe her father is dead, and it falls to her to ask the questions no one else dares consider.

But in a town teeming with corruption, prejudice, and blackmail, Eliza soon learns that the truth can cost more than pearls, and she must decide just how much she is willing to pay – and how far she is willing to go – to find it . . .

Absolutely delighted to be part of the blog tour for this refreshingly original, clever and compelling debut novel from Lizzie Pook.

If you have been following me for a while, you’ll know that I love a well-written historical tale where I find out something new about a period or a place that I wasn’t that familiar before – and even though I thought I knew a fair bit about Australia and its people, 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 feisty and determined character of Eliza Brightwell also contributed hugely to my enjoyment of the novel, as I enjoyed the indomitable way that she pursued the truth about her father’s disappearance – even in a place where the truth is a pretty slippery fish to catch.

It is 1886, and 10-year-old Eliza has sailed to Australia from England with her parents, brother Thomas, Uncle Willem, and Aunt Martha. Her father Charlie holds a long-time dream of making a fortune from pearling – but in reality, the harsh climate and challenges of scraping a living in this brave new world are far more challenging than he has anticipated.

One day, her father’s boat – the Starling – doesn’t come back to shore until late in the day, and her father is discovered to be missing. Secrets, lies, and subterfuge surround his disappearance with talks of men overboard, smugglers, mutiny, and dark deeds. Eliza absolutely refuses to believe that her dad is dead, and leaves no stone unturned, in the extraordinary and diverse community of Bannin Bay in order to establish the truth about where her beloved father has gone.

Eliza’s story is interleaved with extracts from Charlie’s journal, with Eliza trying to decipher clues that will help her fathom what exactly might have happened on this final fateful voyage. Eventually, she realises that sitting at home like a good girl isn’t going to get her any nearer the truth, so she sets off on the Moonlight, Father McVeigh’s lugger, with a motley crew of her own and facing a wide variety of perils in order to find the truth out for herself.

I felt really intrigued by Eliza’s story as I uncovered the twists and turns of life in Bannin Bay and the diverse community she lives in. Her determination not to accept things at face value, but to follow things up in her own way and refuse to be led down blind alleys or accept her station in life means that you are constantly engaging with the diverse people of Bannin Bay and their stories alongside her and working almost as hard as her to try and navigate your way through a morass of subterfuge and half-truths…

I loved the way that we are able to see more and more of the real Eliza as this fantastic novel progresses and see her as someone who despite being distant from us in time and space is very much a 21st-century woman in her sensibilities. Through her travails, we get to see the way that women’s lives were lived as hostages to fortune and that by daring to step outwith the roles expected of her, Eliza manages to take control of her own destiny that feels distinctly modern and utterly convincing. The social history is blended absolutely perfectly with the disappearance so that you are immersed in these characters’ stories as you attempt to unravel what’s going on and I was absolutely caught up in Eliza’s adventures as we sailed through the pages together.

Lizzie Pook does an absolutely amazing job of allowing us an insight into life on board the Moonlight –  the diverse personalities, mistrust, and hope that flourishes aboard are painted for us in vivid technicolour. It is hard to imagine a world where you are transplanted on the other side of the world, and have to step outwith your gender expectations and try and track down your missing father to boot. I was totally caught up in Eliza’s story and have thought about it non-stop over the last few weeks. I think it would make for an incredible film, you can almost smell the tar and sea air as you read and I’d love to see it on the big screen in glorious technicolour.

I absolutely loved this book – 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 very much look forward to her next book as I loved this compelling debut and will be recommending it to lots of people as I love finding books that by far exceed my expectations and turn out to be real favourites

Buy yourself a copy here and follow the blog tour to see what these other bloggers thought of the book. Thank you so much for the invitation and five stars for this incredible historical read.

‘Gritty, lyrical, breath-taking. I couldn’t put it down’ – Fiona Valpy, author of The Dressmaker’s Gift

‘Adventure, feminist heroine, crocodiles and jellyfish, dangerous men, secrets, grief love and hope… It’s not just good, it’s important. Lizzie shines a light on a dark part of British history with grace, skill, sensitivity and honesty. I LOVED IT – Nikki May, author of Wahala

Writer On The Shelf

Lizzie Pook is an award-winning journalist and travel writer contributing to The Sunday TimesLonely PlanetRough GuidesCondé Nast Traveller and more. Her assignments have taken her to some of the most remote parts of the planet, from the uninhabited east coast of Greenland in search of roaming polar bears, to the foothills of the Himalayas to track endangered snow leopards.

She was inspired to write Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter, her debut novel, after spending time in north-western Australia researching the dangerous and fascinating pearl-diving industry.
She lives in London.

A Matter of Time blog tour

A breathless, real-time, 24-style thriller that combines nail-biting tension with boundless compassion’ ERIN KELLY

At 8am the first shots are fired.

At 1pm, the police establish the gunman has a hostage.

By 5pm, a siege is underway.

At 9pm, DI Helen Birch walks, alone and unarmed, into an abandoned Borders farmhouse to negotiate with the killer.

One day. One woman. One chance to get everyone out alive.

The outstanding new novel from the highly acclaimed author of All the Hidden Truths and What You Pay For – both shortlisted for the CWA Golden Dagger.

Absolutely delighted to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for the fantastic A Matter Of Time (DI Helen Birch Series) by Claire Askew. Thank you to Jenny Platt and Hodder & Stoughton for giving me the opportunity to read and review this engrossing and intelligent read which – as ever with Claire’s books – I raced through in record time.

I don’t know about you, but after all my lockdown reading, I’m much more difficult to please and am finding myself more reluctant to persist with books that do not grab me from the very outset – Because of this, A Matter of Time was just the ticket. I’ve been waiting for the next Helen Birch novel to be published ever since I finished Cover Your Tracks, and spending the day in my reading nook getting stuck into A Matter of Time was every bit as enjoyable as I’d anticipated and as ever I’m grateful to Jenny Platt for inviting me on the tour and for always picking the best books to blog about

Once again, Claire Askew lifts the lid on some of the murkier goings-on in everyday life that you might be totally unaware of. I love DI Helen Birch and this fourth book really builds on the strengths of its predecessors – whilst this could absolutely be read as a stand-alone, the fact that I was already so invested in these characters and their lives added another dimension of enjoyment for me as I immersed myself in the next installment of their crime-fighting adventures

As ever, life for DI Birch is never dull and it’s one of the things that I love about Claire Askew’s writing that we manage to be just as caught up and interested in all of the threads of her story rather than waiting to return to the ‘main one’ when we are away from it – as can be the case for so many crime writers. I was totally engaged with the further developments in Helen’s life and loved the idea that this story evolves in real-time as I feel that it really allows you to ‘live’ every moment of it with her. Life for Helen – as ever – is far from dull and she shows us exactly what she is made of as she moves in on an intense hostage negotiation…

Claire Askew knows just when to switch up the pressure in order to keep you on the edge of your seat and make sure that you can never be complacent as you make your way through her books. She never sacrifices character in the name of the plot and that’s why time just flies when you’re reading her books. You want to know the answers, yes for sure – but you also want to know how this impacts on Helen too as we really feel that we’ve got to know her as a person. DI Birch is a character whose life is complex and three-dimensional – hers are the kinds of problems that we’ve all struggled with in terms of our life choices and she’s got criminals to take down at the same time! You really do have to take your hat off to her.

Claire Askew asks us to think about the situation and put ourselves in the place of many of her characters as the story unfolds – This is so much more than a page-turner and you will see that as soon as you start reading. I love a book that continues to surprise me, even when I think I’m fairly sure I know where it’s going and I’m happy to report that you will definitely be kept on your toes as you get caught up in this tautly-written and intelligent slice of crime

As a feminist, it’s wonderful to read a novel that contains such a strong cast of women who very much take the lead and prove the adage that the best man for the job is, very often, a woman. It’s satisfying to see their personalities mature and diversify in this latest novel. The females we meet in Claire’s pages are far greater than the sum of their parts and there are aspects of them all that I connected with -although in this book it’s definitely Helen that’s showcased as we see her in perhaps her most tense and challenging situation yet…

This book will be sure to please people who already love DI Birch with its intriguing and satisfying blend of crime drama, a compelling case, and a satisfyingly tense narrative. It kept me absolutely hooked and I cannot wait to see what unfolds next for Helen.

Buy yourself a copy here and set aside some time to really enjoy it. It’s a perfect Easter holiday read, which will make you think as well as care about its intriguing cast of characters and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Writer On The Shelf

Claire Askew is a poet, novelist and the current Writer in Residence at the University of Edinburgh. Her debut novel in progress was the winner of the 2016 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, and longlisted for the 2014 Peggy Chapman-Andrews (Bridport) Novel Award. Claire holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh and has won a variety of accolades for her work, including the Jessie Kesson Fellowship and a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award.

Her debut poetry collection, This changes things, was published by Bloodaxe in 2016 and shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and a Saltire First Book Award. In 2016 Claire was selected as a Scottish Book Trust Reading Champion, and she works as the Scotland tutor for women’s writing initiatives Write Like A Grrrl! and #GrrrlCon.

Her first novel, All the Hidden Truths, was published in 2018.

Reputation Blog Tour

From the bestselling author of Anatomy of a Scandal, soon to be a major Netflix series…

Reputation: it takes a lifetime to build and just one moment to destroy.

Emma Webster is a respectable MP.

Emma Webster is a devoted mother.

Emma Webster is innocent of the murder of a tabloid journalist.

Emma Webster is a liar.

#Reputation: The story you tell about yourself. And the lies others choose to believe…

As a huge supporter of Sarah Vaughan’s, and someone who has avidly followed her career since reading the very first chapter of Anatomy of a Scandal, It’s a huge privilege to be taking part in the Blog Tour for #Reputation and I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve been waiting for weeks to shout about this book. It’s great to be reviewing a book like this so close to International Women’s Day and I love the way that Sarah creates women who you really passionately care about, in situations that are sadly sometimes all too familiar to us as readers.

After all the intense anticipation as I waited for book three, I’m delighted to be able to report that it’s every bit as good as I knew that it was going to be. Sarah Vaughan is my go-to recommendation, when readers ask me for a recommendation for a book that will hook them and keep them glued to the page. I read this right through from cover to cover during my Christmas break and enjoyed every last morsel of this intelligent, topical and important read – thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me on the tour and ensuring that all of the fantastic #RandomThings bloggers always have such amazing books to recommend!

I really enjoy taking part in Blog Tours as it definitely makes sure that my bookshelf is always crammed full of books that I can’t wait to read. Reputation was definitely one of those books that I got totally caught up in as it was so tense. I love the fact that you can almost suspend your disbelief when reading her books that you are not a ‘fly on the wall’ of real people’s lives and Emma’s story is one that will stop you in your tracks…

Emma’s life as a backbench MP has a profound impact on her marriage and she is now juggling the demands of an increasingly challenging job with co-parenting a teenage daughter alongside her husband and ex mistress who’s now moved into her old family life. Emma’s dedication to the revenge porn debate, through her pursuit of “Amy’s Law”, puts her into an emotional pressure cooker where the combined pressures drive her to the edge – alongside a toxic commentary from the social media trolls who love to hold court when they feel a woman is having ideas above her station. In the aftermath of the atacks on MP Jo Cox and Sarah Everhard’s murder, the debate about the climate of fear that women can be exposed to feels frighteningly prescient and is one that many women will relate to, whether or not they are in the public eye themselves…

Emma’s life is complex enough, but when the strands begin to tangle up, once her vulnerable daughter is in the spotlight for her own online behaviors the situation becomes untenable. One impulsive decision brings the whole house of cards tumbling down around her and we see the successful, powerful woman, who’s stood up and advocated for so many people, standing in the dock herself – now on a murder charge. Let me tell you readers, it doesn’t get much more intense than this and it is literally true that I could NOT put this book down…

I love novels that deal with topical matters and the way that society treats women who don’t conform to living life as tidy boxes of female expectations is wonderfully realised here. The way that all the different aspects of Emma: ex-wife, mother of a teenager, advocate for women, Westminster operator and vulnerable defendant herself, are all brought to life with vivid clarity as we see the way that our own positions can turn on a sixpence and the difficulties involved in navigating increasingly complex political narratives when your own life begins to get tangled up within them…

As soon as I started reading Reputation,  I wanted to find out how managing the pressures of Emma’s political ambitions and the demands of her home life would unfold and it was easy to empathise with her strong principles and passion for defending others. I got totally caught up in this journey for her to try and change things for the better and was all the more sympatetic to her situation once things began to unravel in her daughter’s life. I find that Sarah Vaughan is almost unbeaten when writing about the way that the personal and the political cannot be separated from one another. She is able to convey the way that very ordinary people deal with the most extraordinary of events and deftly proves that people who are desperate will do the most improbable things in the name of love…

I also enjoyed the way that this novel allows us to see the complexity of relationships, rather than just skate over the surface in pursuit of plot that we are so often presented with in fiction and I think that this is one of the things that I enjoyed most about Reputation. The way that we are trusted as readers to navigate the relationships within these pges for ourselves, rather than having everything spelled out for us makes sure that we are kept on our toes as readers as we navigate through this twisty tale, wondering whose version of reality we should take as truth, and who might have reason to be hiding the true facts…

The way that Sarah Vaughan builds in the layers to this story 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 them as people. I enjoyed working my way forwards, and only stopping when I had to – this is a book to be devoured and I could not stop reading it once I’d started. The day I began it , I promised myself that I’d take time to savour and enjoy it, but I just could not rest until I found out what happened and my heart was in my mouth several times on the way to its clever and brilliantly plotted conclusion.

Reputation is a twisty and immersive read as it takes us on a journey to see how far we might go in a similar situation, whilst propelling us along with a gripping narrative that never lets go. It also feels horribly real and as a mother myself I found myself thinking about what I might have considered if I’d been in Emma’s shoes. I was totally cengrossed in this story, and found myself thinking about these characters and their interconnected relationships long after turning the last page. It is the best kind of read; one that ensures that you ask yourself as many qusions as the writer has of her characters and I just know that it’ll be every bit as successful as Sarah’s previous books.

I am recommending it to everyone in my Wine Library Book Club too. If you enjoy a satisfying and intelligent read with characters you can absolutely believe in then you will love this book. It’s zeitgeisty, compelling and the tension just does not let up until its conclusion. Treat yourself to a copy here and enjoy it yourself this Spring. Hopefully it will also be optioned ny Netflix and we will be able to watch Emma’s life unfld on the screens over the next year or so.

Follow the Blog Tour and see how much these other bloggers loved it too…

Writer On The Shelf

Sarah Vaughan read English at Oxford and went on to be a journalist. After training with the Press Association, she worked for The Guardian for 11 years as a news reporter, health correspondent and political correspondent before leaving to freelance and write fiction.

Her 3rd novel, ‘Anatomy Of A Scandal’, was an instant international bestseller, a Sunday Times top five bestseller, a kindle number 1 bestseller, a Richard & Judy pick, and was longlisted for the Theakson’s Old Peculier Crime Novel and shortlisted for awards in France, Sweden and the UK.

It has been translated into 22 languages and is being adapted for TV. Her 4th novel, ‘Little Disasters’, will be published in France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, the UK on April 2 and the US on August 18. She lives in Cambridge with her husband and two young children.


Twitter @SVaughanAuthor @RandomTTours @simonschusteruk

The One

What happens when you lose the love of your life just three months after you meet him?

Lottie Brown has finally found The One. Leo is everything she’s ever wanted – he’s handsome, kind, funny and totally gets her. Three months into their relationship, Lottie is in love and happier than ever before. 

But then Leo tragically dies, and Lottie is left floundering.

As she struggles to stop her life falling apart, Lottie learns more about the man she thought she knew, and starts to question whether Leo really was as perfect as he seemed…

The brand-new heart-breaking novel of love, loss and learning to live again, from the acclaimed author of MARRIED AT FIRST SWIPE. Perfect for fans of Paige Toon, Holly Miller and Rosie Walsh.

The fact that this book is so wonderfully structured with such moving moments and thought-provoking contrasts means that it is hard to write a review without any spoilers. I really want you to have the same amazing reading experience that I had – so I am committed to not giving too much away that will have an impact on that. Suffice to say that I adored this book – Claire Frost’s writing was as beautifully sustained as always which allows you to fully immerse yourself in Lottie’s story and experience the highs and lows right there alongside her and Leo as you travel back in time through their very intense and special love affair. It’s one of those books that you find yourself thinking about whenever you’re not reading it and imagining what the characters are doing, just as if they are real people that you know…

I really lost myself in the story of Lottie whose life was so well described that I could see some of the sights and sounds in her evolving relationship with Leo for myself. This book made me feel like I could really transport myself into their world and imagine the impact of losing Leo all the more vividly for that. The book deals so sensitively with the impact of trauma, bereavement, and grief and I really feel that this is one of the main misconceptions about women’s fiction – that it is all just light fluff and love stories – this book is typical of what we’ve come to know and love about Claire’s stories; that they are not afraid to tackle challenging subjects with compassion, sensitivity, and an open mind and really help the readers to gain a much better understanding about the way that loss and grief affects the lives of thousands of ordinary people off the page too

As we read on, we live through some of the moments across the three very special months they shared together. I feel that bereavement is perhaps one of the most hidden conditions that people have to live with and Lottie’s story goes a long way towards dispelling some of the misconceptions and allows us to see that it can’t always be the case that losing someone after 30 years has a bigger impact than after 3 months…

Lottie is a fabulously drawn character, she definitely felt very real to me as she wrestles with the idea of moving outwith her strictly defined and safe boundaries as struggles to come to terms with some of the things that were hidden from her across their relationship, as well as the way she feels like such an outsider regarding his family. The structure as it moves back in time across their relationship allows us a real insight, a slow reveal about how their special relationship evolved – allowing a real empathy to develop between these two characters and the readers

This novel is perfect for readers who enjoy characters we can really connect with in emotional situations that have us rooting for them. Lottie is such a fabulous creation and we definitely feel for her as she struggles with her conflicting emotions and can see the very real struggle to deal with the overwhelming feeling of loss as well as all the things that come to light after losing Leo. It was a real joy to get to know them both as the book developed, which makes the emotional parts of the book so very much more affecting for the reader…

I think that this will definitely bring Claire Frost a whole new audience who are looking for a novel that will not only entertain them but make them think more deeply about the way that grief and loss are treated in fiction and in real life too – this is a novel that asks us to consider the way that we talk to ourselves and the way that we think about other people’s struggles too I read this book in a single day over last weekend and I’m so glad that I actually got the time to unwind and lose myself in this emotionally rewarding and thought-provoking read.

The One is a moving and emotional story and I’d love to see it on the silver screen I am so grateful to the lovely  SJV aka BookMinx for inviting me on the tour, it’s been an absolute pleasure and I can’t stop recommending this book to EVERYONE.

Treat yourself to a copy here

‘A tender story of love, loss, healing and hope’ LAURA KEMP, author of Under a Starry Sky
‘Alternately heartbreaking and heartwarming. I loved it’ NICOLA GILL, author of We Are Family
A beautiful, poignant tale of family, friendship, loss and love’ MILLY JOHNSON, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Middle
‘A life-affirming love story full of hope and heart’ KATIE MARSH, author of Unbreak Your Heart
‘A poignant story about life after loss, and how well we truly know the people closest to us. Heartbreaking, heartwarming, uplifting – I loved it’ HOLLY MILLER, author of The Sight Of You
‘Heartfelt, painfully real, thoughtful and uplifting. I loved it!’ EMILY STONE, author of Always, in December
‘A warm, relatable read that will make you smile despite the lump in your throat’ ROSIE BLAKE, author of The Gin O’Clock Club
‘A bittersweet story of loss and discovery. The One is as heart-warming as a hug, but with a sucker punch of powerful emotion’ IONA GREY, author of Letters To The Lost  

Writer On The Shelf

Claire Frost grew up in Manchester, the middle of three sisters. She always wanted to do a job that involved writing, so after studying Classics at Bristol University she found a job in magazines.

For the last 12 years she’s worked at the Sun on Sunday’s Fabulous magazine, where she is Assistant Editor and also responsible for the title’s book reviews.

She can mostly be found at her desk buried beneath an ever-increasing pile of books or at home writing funny and heart-warming novels about love, life and social media.

You can follow her on Twitter: @FabFrosty, and Instagram: @therealfabfrosty.