#BookReview The Scarlet Nightingale by Alan Titchmarsh

                                                                

About the book

As war rages across Europe, one young woman is torn between love and loyalty.

Set in wartime London and occupied France, this is a thrilling story of love, danger and sacrifice from bestselling novelist Alan Titchmarsh.

It is the late 1930s when seventeen-year-old Rosamund Hanbury leaves behind the endless summers of her coastal Devonshire home for the fast pace of high society London.

Under the expert guidance of her formidable aunt, the country mouse learns how to act like a lady, hosting dinner parties and rubbing shoulders with Britain’s most influential. And when the enigmatic Harry Napier sweeps her off her feet at London’s famous Café de Paris she could almost forget that Britain has declared war.

But the Phoney War ends. Harry is posted, London reels from the first bombings of the Blitz and Rosamund suffers a devastating personal loss that leaves her all the more determined to do her bit for the war effort.
Joining the Special Forces she is sent to work alongside the Resistance on a top secret mission in France.
It is here that her courage and loyalty are truly put to the test. And where she learns that no one is what they seem: at home or abroad … 

Published by Hodder & Stoughton

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  £14.29

waterstones  £15.99

Foyles

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a wonderful read from one of my favourite authors! 
 
It’s a fascinating look back over an extraordinary life after Rosamund, an author, passes away. She never spoke much of her past but when she dies she leaves behind a finished novel and a ragged envelope full of letters and keepsakes – an imaginative way to tell her story.
 
It was lovely to hear her story through her words as she looked back – the idyllic childhood in the countryside, the governess she adored, the friends she met, and then how she dealt with the tragedy of losing her parents and what that meant for her life, as it all changed so quickly.
 
The time period is set just before the War so the threat is always close by, and when she moves to London to live with her Aunt, it becomes even more of a reality and she is eager to ‘do her bit’ but is unsure how she can help. She isn’t afraid of a challenge though and she soon finds herself closer to the action than she could have ever imagined – part of a team who are in France to follow orders.
 
I love the relaxed style of storytelling throughout – scenes are beautifully set, characters are brought to life with their strengths and flaws and in Rosamund is a really intriguing character. So headstrong and inquisitive, but often naive and watching her blossom from childhood to adulthood is a wonderful journey that we get to share in. She isn’t content to sit back and enjoy a luxurious life, even if it means putting herself in danger. She is also aware of those she meets risking their lives too and that adds a real emotional element to the storyline as she faces so many obstacles.
 
I loved how it showed that people find strength when facing adversity and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment!
 

                                                        💮💮💮💮

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Mr Gandy’s Grand Tour by Alan Titchmarsh – Book Review

THE BLURB

Timothy Gandy has kept his lifetime’s ambition secret for forty years.

Now, suddenly (if tragically) released from the hen-pecked tedium of his ordinary existence, he is unexpectedly free to realize his dreams.

He will embark on a Grand Tour of Europe, following in the footsteps of the aristocrats of the eighteenth century.

He anticipates high art, culture and pleasant weather. He never expected to encounter new friendships – and possibly even love – along the way.

It seems that Mr Gandy has embarked on the journey of a lifetime…

Hardback – out now

Paperback – out 4th May 2017

Hive.co.uk – buy a copy online to support your local bookstore 

 £7.25 paperback pre-order

Amazon UK

  £7.99 paperback pre-order

Alan Titchmarsh Website

My Review

They say you find the right book for the right time, and this was definitely one of those experiences! A grey cloudy bank holiday, and feeling under the weather I was looking for an escape read and this delivered rewardingly on that front!

This is the story of Timothy Gandy who has lived a very normal and comfortable life, with his wife and 3 children and never seemed to really expect much out of life. But a sudden sad event gives him the momentum to live out his dream of experiencing a Grand Tour and to travel throughout Europe. And for a quiet, recently retired man it brings about some unexpected revelations!

I love the way Alan Titchmarsh writes as he really allows the reader to connect with the characters and the circumstances they find themselves in. We get glimpses of family life, and it is fascinating to live inside Timothys’ head as he encounters new experiences and how life ends up often surprising you.

His children are all so different and it was fascinating to see how he interacted with all of them, and how his thoughts about them could be so far from the truth – when space and time apart allows them all to be honest with each other.

This was a really enjoyable read and did a wonderful job of brightening up my grey day!!

Thank you to the publishers and BookBridgr for the paperback copy in return for a fair and honest review.