Little Drummer Blog Tour

When a woman is found dead in her car in a Norwegian parking garage, everyone suspects an overdose … until a forensics report indicates that she was murdered. Oslo Detectives Frølich and Gunnarstranda discover that the victim’s Kenyan scientist boyfriend has disappeared, and their investigations soon lead them into the shady world of international pharmaceutical deals.

While Gunnarstranda closes in on the killers in Norway, Frølich and Lise, his new journalist ally, travel to Africa, where they make a series of shocking discoveries about exploitation and corruption in the distribution of foreign aid and essential HIV medications.

When tragedy unexpectedly strikes, all three investigators face incalculable danger, spanning two continents. And not everyone will make it out alive…

Exploding the confines of the Nordic Noir genre, Little Drummer is a sophisticated, fast-paced, international thriller with a searingly relevant, shocking premise that will keep you glued to the page.

Another hugely enjoyable slice of Nordic Noir, Little Drummer is also a tense and well-plotted murder mystery with a fast paced storyline and some intriguing side plots that kept me turning the pages and proves that when it comes to choosing writers in translation, there’s no-one like Orenda.

Just when I think that the last Orenda book I read was the best one yet, she finds another book that blows me away! When I received Little Drummer to review I was really in the mood for some Nordic noir and this definitely hit the spot! Thanks so much to the lovely Anne Cater for keeping my spirits and my TBR high and ensuring that we all come together to share the love for these amazing books

Little Drummer certainly has got touches of so many of my favourite genres: I love the chilly and dark elements of Scandinavian crime and I love the fact that this time we get to travel to warmer climes too, and explore an African element to the unravelling tale. Add all of that together and add in the fact that it’s a clever and complex narrative that keeps the reader on their toes and you can see that I was immediately in my element as this all combined to make for compelling reading

Detectives Frølich and Gunnarstranda are plunged into this mystery when a woman is found dead in her car in a Norwegian parking garage – everyone suspects an overdose, until a forensics report indicates that she was murdered and that’s where the story really takes a dark turn. Despite the fact that this is number 8 in a series of their adventures, you don’t need to have read the previous novels to thoroughly enjoy Little Drummer, it can absolutely be read as a stand-alone. Although, I guarantee that if you do, you’ll be immediately tempted into ordering the rest of the series as you will go far to find a more compelling and well-written slice of Crime fiction…

I love novels that make me feel like I’ve got to know the country that they’re set in and this book gives you two for one. While Gunnarstranda closes in on the killers in Norway, Frølich and Lise, his new journalist ally, travel to Africa, where they make a series of shocking discoveries about exploitation and corruption in the distribution of foreign aid and essential HIV medications. Orenda books always make me so grateful that we have amazing publishers bringing us books in translation so that we can gain access to such a wide range of crime fiction as we all know that Scandinavians do it so very well. Again, I’m grateful to Karen for working so hard to develop our reading palette and I’m spoiled for choice thanks to the wonderful array of Orenda books published this year

The insight into the different ways that the criminal investigations unavel in these two very different locarions added a diverse and moreish element to this novel that was satisfyingly different and kept me immersed in it as I did my Sunday afternoon read last week. Many novels in this genre are all plot and display a real disregard for the writing itself. Not so Kjell Ola Dahl as his writing is precise and well-paced, showing a real talent for creating a sense of place and time and taking us there alongside him. The parts of the novel which take us to Africa stood out for me as some of the most well evoked that I’ve encountered in this genre and made me turn the pages long into the night to find the threads linking these events and stringing them together to draw the threads of this mystery together.

This is a stone-cold classic within the Nordic crime genre and makes for a satisfying, gripping and unsettling read that drew me in completely. Don Bartlett has done an outstanding job with the translation and the two settings certainly spring to life off the page due to his talents. I can’t wait for Mr OnTheShelf to finish reading it so we can talk about it together as I found its atmosphere so compelling The fact that he’s also engrossed speaks volumes as he’s not generally a fiction reader and Little Drummer had him as gripped as I was.

#TeamOrenda Bloggers have produced a series of amazing blog posts about this novel and if you haven’t read them already then you’re in for a treat. Check out the #BlogTour poster to see who else is creating the #LittleDrummer buzz

Get yourself a copy of little Drummer here

Praise for Kjell Ola Dahl

“This is a must for fans of Nordic noir.” —Publishers Weeklystarred review
“Dahl’s straightforward, absorbing prose smoothly negotiates the case’s complexities.” —Booklist Online

“Superb. . . . Dahl highlights social issues in contemporary Norway. . . . The action comes to a climax in an utterly convincing chase through Oslo’s sewage system. The translator’s stripped-down, muscular prose is a plus.” —Publishers Weekly starred review of Faithless

“Expertly crafted unravelling of mixed loyalties, love, lust, lies and trust, set against the background of a world increasingly on the edge of all-out war” –John Harvey, Author of Charlie Resnick series

“Dahl deftly controls the narrative, wielding irony to create bittersweet noir tension.” — Booklist

“Well written, quickly paced, Dahl’s series fits the traditional police detective model (think Michael Connelly, and Karen Slaughter), including the hint of despair that a high-alcohol profession brings along. Good reading.” —New York Journal of Books

Writer On The Shelf

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published thirteen novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators
Gunnarstranda and Frølich.

In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries, and he lives in Oslo.


The Hidden Child

From the outside, Eleanor and Edward Hamilton have the perfect life, but they’re harbouring a secret that threatens to fracture their entire world.

London, 1929.

Eleanor Hamilton is a dutiful mother, a caring sister and an adoring wife to a celebrated war hero. Her husband, Edward, is a pioneer in the eugenics movement. The Hamiltons are on the social rise, and it looks as though their future is bright.

When Mabel, their young daughter, begins to develop debilitating seizures, they have to face an uncomfortable truth: Mabel has epilepsy – one of the ‘undesirable’ conditions that Edward campaigns against.

Forced to hide their daughter away so as to not jeopardise Edward’s life’s work, the couple must confront the truth of their past – and the secrets that have been buried.

Will Eleanor and Edward be able to fight for their family? Or will the truth destroy them?

Delighted to take my place on the tour with an exclusive insight into writing this novel, from Louise Fein herself

The story of The Hidden Child is told, in the main, in alternating chapters from the points of view of Eleanor and Edward Hamilton, a young, wealthy English couple on the social rise. Eleanor is, by birth, from a higher social class than her husband, but he has wealth and aspires to greater things. Eleanor is to a large extent, the product of her era and class. Traditionally, she would not have expected to work, but to marry well, look after the household, be an excellent hostess and entertain important guests. Of course, she would also be expected to produce children, but not to be involved greatly in looking after them, since that task would have been delegated to nannies and, educationally, to governesses and exclusive boarding schools. 

But in Eleanor’s case, like many other women of the time, the first world war changed everything. She lost her father and brothers, and her own mother was forced to go out to work to make ends meet. When tragedy strikes her mother, Eleanor is essentially alone in the world and responsible for her younger sister, Rose. But Eleanor is bright and well educated and has the ability to gain good employment which became possible for women in the 1920’s in a way it had never previously been. But when she meets and marries Edward, she falls back into a traditional woman’s role, telling herself this is what she wants. Rose, on the other hand, is a feistier character who pushes boundaries and the role of women within it. It is only when the Hamilton’s young daughter, Mabel, becomes ill and Edward and Eleanor disagree over her treatment and what is to be done, cracks in their otherwise perfect marriage begin to appear.

Eleanor was a joy to write because as the book and the story progress she, who at the beginning of the novel is fairly passive and always defers to the wishes of her husband, finds the strength and fortitude to begin to think and act for herself and her daughter. This, and the action she later takes was open to her because of her class and her position in society. Had she been from a working-class background, the story would have been a very different one, liberation being easier for those who have a good education and economic freedom.

I think that Eleanor is unquestionably the heroine of The Hidden Child, and readers, I hope, will find her journey both relatable and enjoyable.  

 Writer On The Shelf

Louise Fein was born and brought up in London. She harboured a secret love of writing from a young age, preferring to live in her imagination than the real world. After a law degree, Louise worked in Hong Kong and Australia, travelling for a while through Asia and North America before settling back to a working life in London. She finally gave in to the urge to write, taking an MA in creative writing, and embarking on her first novel, Daughter of the Reich (named People Like Us in the UK and Commonwealth edition). The novel was inspired by the experience of her father’s family, who escaped from the Nazis and arrived in England as refugees in the 1930’s. Daughter of the Reich/People Like Us is being translated into 11 foreign languages, has been shortlisted for the 2021 RSL Christopher Bland Prize, the RNA Historical Novel of the year Award 2021 and long listed for the Not The Booker Prize 2020.

Louise’s second novel, The Hidden Child, will be published in the Autumn of 2021. Louise lives in the beautiful English countryside with her husband, three children, two cats, small dog and the local wildlife who like to make an occasional appearance in the house. Louise is currently working on her third novel.

For more information, go to and sign up to Louise’s newsletter.

Shocking, emotive, and compelling, but ultimately a story of hope. I loved it’ – Deborah Carr, bestselling author of The Poppy Field

‘A poignant rendering of love and motherhood, human frailty and redemption, exquisitely told against the backdrop of the unthinkable … Fein deftly takes the reader back to a terrifying turning point in history and, with grace and compassion, reminds us of the importance of standing up for what we believe in our souls to be true’ – Judithe Little, bestselling author of The Chanel Sisters

The Hidden Child is the thought-provoking and compelling tale of one family and the battle to survive their daughter’s illness. A reminder that ordinary people can so often be responsible for some of the most shocking episodes in history’ – Louise Hare, bestselling author of This Lovely City

‘An astonishing story about an aspect of British history that’s long been swept under the carpet – surprising, moving and poignant‘ – Frances Quinn, bestselling author of The Smallest Man

‘I was completely under its spell in this powerful, engaging, and ultimately heart-warming story. Bravo, Louise you’ve done it again!’ – Gill Thompson, author of The Oceans Between Us

The Hidden Child is a fascinating and thought-provoking story which is hard to put down’ – Caroline Bishop, author of The Other Daughter

The Hidden Child is a story of hope and redemption, of humanity and growth … both intimate and universal in scope. I loved this compelling read and its complex, flawed, but deeply human characters‘ – Addison Armstrong, author of The Light of Luna Park

When We Fell Apart – Blog Tour

Yu-jin is gifted.
Yu-jin is loved. 
Yu-jin is flourishing.

Yu-jin is dead.

When the Seoul police inform Min that his girlfriend Yu-jin has taken her own life, he’s sure it can’t be true. She was successful, happy, just on the cusp of graduating and claiming the future she’d always dreamed of.

After growing up in California, where he always felt ‘too Korean’ to fit in, Min has never felt quite the same certainty as Yu-jin about his life’s path. Unable to accept that she could have done this, Min throws himself into finding out what really happened to her.

But the more Min discovers, the more lost he feels. With a controlling and powerful government official father, and a fraught friendship with her alluring and destructive roommate So-ra, Yu-jin’s life was much more complex than she chose to reveal to Min. And the more he learns about her, the more he begins to doubt he ever really knew her at all.
For fans of Celeste Ng, this is a profoundly moving and suspenseful drama that untangles the complicated ties that bind families together – or break them apart.

I was so excited to receive a copy of When We Fell Apart, as I’ve been fascinated by life in Korea since our eldest spent a year teaching English there pre-pandemic. It was also a huge treat to read such an accomplished debut novel set somewhere so different after reading lots of historical fiction this month, that I literally read it in a single sitting. It was a fascinating and really different read that I have not stopped thinking about since I closed the final page and I think that I’ll be thinking about Yu-Jin, Min and So-ra for a very long time…

Min, a Korean-American, has moved to Korea in search of a greater sense of understanding about his roots. Once there he meets a Korean girlfriend, Yu-jin, whose powerful father’s status sets her on a pathway to become a high-pressured over-achiever and pushing herself to meet these expectations. When Min is told that Yu-jin has taken her own life, he is both shocked and confused about the role he might actually have played in her life – or if he even knew her at all. In order to achieve a kind of closure, we follow Min on a quest to try and get to the bottom of what really caused Yu-Jin’s death and follow this tale, interspersed with Yu-Jin’s own narrative which lends another complexion to this story that pulls you in and doesn’t let you go.

When We Fell Apart is the kind of debut novel that I absolutely love. We become immersed in a really fascinating tale that allows a real insight into a totally different culture and setting where we are forced to think about almost everything from a totally fresh perspective – Soon Wiley writes both their characters so convincingly that you really feel that you’ve spent time in their world, making it very hard to pull yourself away. It’s a novel made for immersing yourself in on a hot sunny afternoon and I got lost in it last weekend in this stunning May weather


Yu-Jin and Min are both characters with lots going on beneath the surface. Min’s life in Korea is very different from the American world he left behind and his new life in Seoul is one we navigate with him as somewhat of an outsider. The explanation of the Korean concept of ‘Han’ is truly fascinating and such a fantastic technique to draw us this world and the way that private lives and the national consciousness collide:

“In Korea, they call it Han. It’s a feeling of sorts. A kind of collective despair in response to being conquered and oppressed for long periods of time, over generations. To choose your own destiny- that’s what an individual, a nation, craves most. Han is a result of that basic desire being crushed.”

I love the idea that like Min – we as readers are dropped into his world without all the answers and have to figure things out from the snippets we could gather – much as he would have had to. The way that grief has become part of a Korean national identity is a fascinating one and follows us as we try to understand what drove Yu-Jin down this pathway and what this reveals about life for young people in Korea today.

Yu-Jin’s story – is a successful counterpoint to Min’s narrative that didn’t jar with or distract from his tale. There was a pleasing balance of her story with his quest and both characters were so well-drawn that I felt like I wanted to dedicate my attention to the way their stories interconnected, rather than feeling that one overwhelmed the other. The Korean setting was stunningly brought to life and I felt like I got to understand more about the culture and history of this nation than I’d ever expected to through reading a novel.

The atmosphere of grief and intrigue is perfectly maintained throughout this wonderful novel; Korea’s history was something that I wanted to read more about as soon as I’d finished reading this debut as Soon Wiley manages to make the setting as compelling and ‘present’ as his characters. Even though I was reading it in Scotland, I felt Seoul come to life as I walked in the footsteps of these characters and experienced their lives vicariously through its pages.

Wiley is certainly a talented new voice. He has a real talent for drawing the reader into his characters’ world and makes them live for us while we read. You’ll definitely love this novel if you like fiction that’s well researched and balances its characterisation with a real sense of being transported to a different time and place. I agree with Angie Kim’s review that it’s totally ‘a novel that will stay with me for a long time

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the invite and get yourself a copy of this beautifully written novel here

Writer On The Shelf

A native of Nyack, New York, Soon Wiley received his BA in English & Philosophy from Connecticut College.

He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wichita State University.

His writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and earned him fellowships in Wyoming and France.

He resides in Connecticut with his wife and their two cats. When We Fell Apart is his debut novel.

The Vanished Days

A sweeping love story set against the Jacobite revolution from much-loved, million copy bestselling author Susanna Kearsley

There are many who believe they know what happened, but they do not know the whole of it. The rumours spread, and grow, and take their hold, and so to end them I have been persuaded now to take my pen in hand and tell the story as it should be told…
Autumn, 1707. Old enemies from the Highlands to the Borders are finding common ground as they join to protest the new Union with England, the French are preparing to launch an invasion to carry the young exiled Jacobite king back to Scotland to reclaim his throne, and in Edinburgh the streets are filled with discontent and danger.
Queen Anne’s commissioners, seeking to calm the situation, have begun settling the losses and wages owed to those Scots who took part in the disastrous Darien expedition eight years earlier.
When Lily, the young widow of a Darien sailor, comes forward to collect her husband’s wages, her claim is challenged, and one of the men who’s assigned to examine her has only days to decide if she’s honest, or if his own feelings are making him blind to the truth, and if he’s being used as a pawn in an even more treacherous game.
A story of intrigue, adventure, endurance, romance…and the courage to hope.

‘Fascinating and immersive… I love a novel that deals with the many ways in which people keep their secrets’ DIANA GABALDON

I adored #TheVanishedDays as this book contains so many of my favourite aspects of a satisfying read: plenty of real-life events woven throughout its pages, blended skilfully with a compelling and intelligently written fictional narrative. Readers of my column know that I often go off to try and find out as much as possible about the people living at the time of characters that I’ve fallen in love with after finishing a book I’ve loved, as I get so caught up in the story. 

#TheVanishedDays was both satisfying and beautifully written and really arrived at the right time as I’d been looking for another wonderfully immersive period read. I can assure you that I was not disappointed and I think it is now actually my favourite book this month – but more on that below!

Susanna Kearsley’s novel just proves that she is one of my absolute favourites in historical fiction for me with a nuance and elegance to her writing that is extremely hard to find elsewhere. I loved The Winter Sea, but this was even more compelling for me; it’s another fascinating and gripping read with every element of it and its depiction of this time of great change and upheaval felt absolutely pitch-perfect. I absolutely loved following Lily’s journey and found myself thinking about her and everything that she experiences even when I wasn’t reading the book. Perhaps the fact that I read it at a time when I’ve been so immersed in visiting some of the sites in the book and learning more about the Darien scheme for myself, meant that it was an extra-special read for me and I have spent time since reading it, trying to find out more about these turbulent times in the history of my own country…

#TheVanishedDays is a beautifully evocative and heartbreaking read at times, it is written in such a skilful way that allows Susanna Kearsley to to deploy all of her historical research without ever losing sight of the fact that in a novel we have to care about the characters that we are reading about and we never falter for a second in this regard.  I am lost in admiration for her skill in bringing this period to life so authentically and making us feel like we are these right alongside them– Lily’s story is impossible not to get emotionally caught up in and I even dreamed about the Jacobites when I was reading it, I was so immersed in this story. The fact that you know that Susanna Kearsley has based this all on actual events from Scotland’s turbulent past makes it all the more poignant and I am desperate for our book group to consider a historical read, as I think that this would make for the perfect read to get us all engaged, talking and caught up in the drama, history and romance of this tale as Lily and Adam’s tale unfolds.

I absolutely love it when my own world and the world of a book that I am reading with collide.   It was amazing to read about Lily’s story when my husband is teaching about the Jacobites and he was amazed at some of the questions I was asking him and how much I’d learned about this period through reading #TheVanishedDays The story of this period in our country’s past is a very important one and one that really captured my imagination and my emotions as I read it.

What Susanna Kearsley does, that affected me so much was never to make me feel like she is using her characters to make a point. Instead, the things that you think about and become moved, upset and saddened by are as a consequence of the story, not the other way round. Her sensitivity and respect for the past are written into the fabric of the text and I absolutely loved every moment of it – this is the very definition of a satisfying read and if you haven’t bought a copy yet, it has to be next on your Summer book-shopping list.

If you can, head to your nearest independent bookstore or to their online website and get your hands on a copy as soon as you can. I love Susanna’s writing and can’t stop singing her praises.

It would be an absolutely wonderful gift for someone – I’m sure that they’ll love it just as much as I did. 

If I haven’t convinced you yet, take a look at what these other fantastic fellow bloggers think – you can buy an online copy here

Writer On The Shelf

New York Times bestselling author Susanna Kearsley is a former museum curator who loves restoring the lost voices of real people to the page, interweaving romance and historical intrigue with modern adventure. Over 1.5 million copies of her books have been sold and have been translated into over 25 languages.

Her writing career began in 1993 when her then-unpublished novel Mariana won the Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize. Since then she has written twelve novels and won various awards, and has twice made the final of Romantic Novel of the Year awards. She lives near Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Twitter@SusannakKearsley #TheVanishedDays

Elizabeth of York Blog Tour

The spellbinding story of Elizabeth of York, the first Tudor queen.

An English Princess, born into a war between two families. Eldest daughter of the royal House of York, Elizabeth dreams of a crown to call her own. But when her beloved father, King Edward, dies suddenly, her destiny is rewritten. Her family’s enemies close in. Two young princes are murdered in the Tower. Then her uncle seizes power – and vows to make Elizabeth his queen. But another claimant seeks the throne, the upstart son of the rival royal House of Lancaster. Marriage to this Henry Tudor would unite the white rose of York and the red of Lancaster – and change everything. A great new age awaits. Now Elizabeth must choose her allies – and husband – wisely, and fight for her right to rule

Elizabeth of York – The Last White Rose is the first book in Alison Weir’s latest page-turning historical series – The Tudor Rose books. In lyrical prose and with the stunning period detail we’ve all come to know and love, Alison Weir portrays the religious divides at the heart of Plantagenet England in a timeless novel about survival, love, and family loyalties.  

I love investigating the real history and characters found in the books I’m reading and as ever, Alison Weir does an amazing job of transporting you back in time and reliving this turbulent and fascinating part of history, which is jam-packed full of double-crossing, divided loyalties, subterfuge, and unsteady allegiances  – I could not put to down and it has left me with a real book hangover as it was so immersive and exciting a tale. I loved finding out more about this lesser-known Elizabeth and her pivotal role in the dynasty that we all think we know more about than we actually do…

Elizabeth of York – The Last White Rose truly gives us a fascinating insight into Elizabeth’s experiences and allows us to travel back in time with her and witness these events unfolding as she has to deal with the shifting sands around her as she comes to adulthood and fights with every inch of power that she has to establish her line and protect her dynasty. Her story is more gripping than any fictional tale could be and ensures that as readers we are aware of the wider impact of the choices she is able to navigate at a very intriguing time in history from the perspective of some unforgettable characters and set me off in search of more information about what it was like to be a woman at this time in history when power, agency and free will were a long way in the future – and see what choices women had to make to ensure that they always remained one step ahead of the ‘game’ they often found themselves in…

I’m delighted to be sharing my blog post this afternoon from beautiful Fife where we have been absolutely spoiled by the lovely May weather. It’s such an amazing part of the country and it’s weekends like this that make you realise how lucky we are to love here. It’s been the perfect weather for reading in the garden and this was a great choice to utterly immerse myself in and transport myself to a totally different space and time where I could live and breathe this period, due to the skill of Alison Weir’s writing.

This is a really engrossing read. Weir has again shown how to seamlessly blend historical reasearch with fabulous characterization: Elizabeth’s life story really shows the reader that these turbulent events had an impact on the way your life unfolded, whoever you were and whatever your situation, providing much food for thought about women’s rights, independence, and morality during this period for a 21st-century readership. I think that readers of historical novels have had plenty of Tudor tales to enjoy and will get totally caught up in the dangers and intrigues of a very different Elizabeth through this well-written and impeccably researched novel that unfolds as grippingly as any fictional set of creations…

I think that it’s one of her signature ‘tells’ that Weir is just as skilful in writing about small, personal matters as she is about the grand sweep of history or the politics at this time and the way that the impact of these events was so vividly depicted was a real strength of this novel. It was interesting to see Elizabeth’s life unfold from innocent child to dynasty-founding Queen. It made for fascinating reading to see exactly what this time was like for women living through this period and it makes me wish that I could time travel to see some of these places and people with my own eyes.

I loved the fact that Elizabeth’s tale story brings a really different slant to this well-known family dynasty, and as usual, I spent a lot of time online after finishing it, looking up this period and finding out as much as I could about what things were like and imagining a world where things were so unpredictable and dislocating. Elizabeth is a wonderful character and she really steps off the page for you – I really look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy and know that she’ll bring us new insights to the lives of the other ‘Tudor Roses’ that we will meet through their pages.

Fans of historical epics and enthusiasts of novels exploring the role of women in history from a more personal perspective will love this beautifully written novel and I will be recommending it to readers who love period fiction and strongly written literary narratives. I really enjoyed this journey with Elizabeth through a fascinating episode in English history and heartily recommend that you too delve into this period in all its turbulent glory and find out more about it for yourself. Buy yourself a copy here and spend a sunny weekend like I did, totally wrapped up in this intelligent and engaging novel that wears its learning lightly and carries you forward as you are compelled to find out what unfolds for these characters whose stories will remain with you long after you’ve finished turning theses pages.

Writer On The Shelf

Alison Weir is the bestselling female historian in the United Kingdom, and has sold over 3 million books worldwide. She has published twenty history books. Alison is also the author of twelve historical novels, including the highly acclaimed Six Tudor Queens series all of which were Sunday Times bestsellers. The complete short-story collection, In the Shadow of Queens, accompanies this series. Alison is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an honorary life patron of Historic Royal Palaces.

Note from the Author:

Elizabeth of York’s life has always fascinated me because it spans my two favourite periods of English history: the Yorkist age and the early Tudor era, a time that saw the end of the medieval period and the dawn of modern England. Her marriage to Henry VII united the warring royal houses of York and Lancaster and founded the Tudor dynasty. Elizabeth was beautiful and cultivated – and she should have been the rightful Queen of England after the probable deaths of her brothers, the Princes in the Tower, in 1483. She had a better claim to the throne than Henry VII, but because she was a woman, no one championed her right. She was regarded chiefly as the heiress of the royal House of York, through whom the right of succession could be transmitted by marriage. She passed on that right to her son, Henry VIII.

Having published a biography of Elizabeth in 2013, I have long wanted to write a novel about her, because there are tantalising gaps in her story. Despite the wealth of source material, history does not always record her thoughts, emotions, motives, hopes and fears. She was passionate and proactive in intriguing behind the scenes to become queen. Once she was crowned, however, her voice was silent, so we can only speculate on how events affected her. And that leaves plenty of scope for a novelist… Among the many mysteries that surround Elizabeth is the fate of the Princes in the Tower. We can only imagine the distress that her brothers’ disappearance and rumours of their murder caused her. Later, the emergence of a pretender claiming to be the younger Prince must have impacted profoundly on her.

In this novel, I offer what I believe to be the most credible explanation of what happened to the Princes. Having written six novels about her daughters-in-law, the wives of Henry VIII, Elizabeth of York was the obvious choice for my next foray into fiction, this book being the first in the Tudor Rose trilogy that will span three generations of England’s most celebrated royal dynasty.


‘This series is a serious achievement’ The Times

‘Weir is excellent on the little details that bring a world to life’ Guardian

‘This brilliant series has brought Henry VIII’s six wives to life as never before’ Tracy Borman

‘Profoundly moving… lingers long after the last page’ Elizabeth Fremantle

‘Well researched and engrossing’ Good Housekeeping

‘Vivid characters and a wonderful sense of time and place’ Barbara Erskine

‘Hugely enjoyable . . . Alison Weir knows her subject and has a knack for the telling and textural detail’ Daily Mail

Keep Her Sweet

Desperate to enjoy their empty nest, Penny and Andeep downsize to the countryside, to forage, upcycle and fall in love again, only to be joined by their two twenty-something daughters, Asha and Camille.

Living on top of each other in a tiny house, with no way to make money, tensions simmer, and as Jen and Andeep focus increasingly on themselves, the girls become isolated, argumentative and violent.

When Asha injures Camille, a family therapist is called in, but she shrugs off the escalating violence between the sisters as a classic case of sibling rivalry … andthe stress of the family move. But this is not sibling rivalry. The sisters are in far too deep for that. This is a murder, just waiting to happen…

Chilling, vicious and darkly funny, Keep Her Sweet is not just a tense, sinister psychological thriller, but a startling look at sister relationships and the bonds they share … or shatter.

When I was invited onto the #KeepHerSweet  Blog Tour, I was absolutely delighted. I love Helen Fitzgerald’s writing and couldn’t wait to see what she was going to do next. I actually read it in full the day I received it, I love making the most of the longer nights to relax and read when I get home and it seems like this year there have been even more great reads than usual. I couldn’t put this one down as I found the premise so intriguing and I really enjoyed every last clever and savagely funny word of it

The title hints at the tale which is about to unfold – and although we already know that every family is unhappy in its own unique way, the Moloney-Sighs are perhaps a wee bit unhappier than most and in the style of all the best family dramas, there are motives all around you that will definitely keep you guessing. Hearing from all of the different characters in turn gives you a constantly shifting perspective, from a ringside seat and you won’t be able to tear yourself away from this viciously dark and funny episode of family fortunes – as you’ve never seen it before!

I love a book where everything is not quite as it seems and I’d have to say that once I was three chapters into this book, I was absolutely invested and could not stop reading. It is rare to be able to dedicate a whole day to reading but the summer term is definitely my time to get stuck into all the books I’ve looked forward to and I really enjoyed my time this week spent with this eclectic collection of characters.

This book absolutely had me hooked and I just could not stop reading about Mrs S and her foray into unravelling the psyches of this more than dysfunctional crew. . It is an absolute belter of a read and I promise you that you won’t be able to stop thinking about the way that they can be so blinkered about their own shortfalls, whilst being so enraged by the flaws of the other family members. The lack of self-awareness leads to some very interesting conversations, where you will be as dumbstruck as I was by the way that the apple really hasn’t fallen as far from the tree as Penny would like to think…

I really enjoyed the way that Asha and Cam interact and it was interesting to see the way that sibling rivalries can persist into adult relationships through this real fly on the wall approach to exploring family dynamics. I absolutely loved this book and think that it would make another superb TV adaptation. I’m casting it in my mind’s eye as I love a show with dislikable characters that manage to keep you on your toes! This troubled and troubling family unit would make for great TV and I’m sure people would be kept entertained by the many twists and turns on offer here.

The way that we get involved in the complex relationships within this family made for compelling reading that makes you smile as well as wince – something else that sets Helen Fitzgerald aside from other more run of the mill writers. It’s a rare talent to be as good at making the reader laugh as you are at making then tense up – and this book pulls both off, in spades. The story that is uncovered is one that you are (hopefully) unlikely to have experienced in real life, but that does not stop you from getting hooked on the outcome – I love the fact that lots of the people I know who’ve read it have had different reactions to the characters we ‘meet’ through its pages and it will definitely keep you entertained as you begin to wonder exactly who is the most dreadful…

I love Elizabeth Berg’s quote when she says that “You are born into your family and your family is born into you. No returns. No exchanges.”  and you’ll maybe think the same after you meet the characters in this intriguing and sharply-observed family drama

I love books that are even better than the one you’ve been anticipating and I have to say that this novel was definitely her best yet. This book is the narrative equivalent of a cocktail – the mixture of ingredients is just so well blended that you can’t stop enjoying it once you’ve started.

I think this is a great read that will keep you up too late and really stands out from the competition in terms of how well observed and credible these family members are. Enjoy your time spent with the Moloney-Sighs, you’ll be glad that they haven’t turned out to be the long-lost relatives you didn’t know about; you might not live to tell your tale! Thank you so much to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours and Karen from Orenda Books for the invite, I really enjoyed this original and clever read and can’t wait for Helen’s next masterpiece!

Buy yourself a copy here

Praise for this book:

‘A wonderful book about a toxic family … funny, shocking and full of heart. FitzGerald at her coruscating best’ Doug Johnstone

‘Definitely one for those who love deadly dysfunctional families, whip-smart writing, and their stories dark, dark, deliciously dark’ Amanda Jennings

‘A novel rippling with power and intensity. A true page-turner’ Michael Wood

‘Wickedly funny, breath-stealingly tense and utterly chilling … a book you’ll want to talk about’ Miranda Dickinson

‘Helen Fitzgerald has an uncanny ability to balance savagery and hilarity … an absolute banger of a book’ Matt Wesolowski

‘A crazy but addictive, dark and funny, read’ Louise Beech 

‘Dark humour sings from the pages’ Russel McLean

‘A fascinating and original tale of a family in rapid decline’ Jen Med’s Book Reviews

Praise for Helen FitzGerald

*Worst Case Scenario was Guardian, Telegraph, Herald Scotland AND The Week BOOK OF THE YEAR*
*Sunday Times TOP 40 Crime Novels in the Last 5 Years*
*Longlisted for Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2020*

‘The main character is one of the most extraordinary you’ll meet between the pages of a book’ Ian Rankin

‘Sublime’ Guardian

Writer On The Shelf

Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of ten adult and young adult thrillers, including The Donor (2011) and The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and adapted for a major BBC drama.

Her 2019 dark-comedy thriller Worst Case Scenario was a Book of the Year in the Literary Review, Herald Scotland, Guardian and Daily Telegraph, shortlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and won the CrimeFest Last Laugh Award. Her latest title Ash Mountain was published in 2020.

Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia, and now lives in Glasgow with her husband.