#BookReview THE SWEETNESS OF WATER by NATHAN HARRIS #TheSweetnessOfWater



ABOUT THE BOOK


In the spirit of The Known World and The Underground Railroad, a profound debut about the unlikely bond between two freedmen who are brothers and the Georgia farmer whose alliance will alter their lives, and his, forever.

In the waning days of the Civil War, brothers Prentiss and Landry—freed by the Emancipation Proclamation—seek refuge on the homestead of George Walker and his wife, Isabelle. The Walkers, wracked by the loss of their only son to the war, hire the brothers to work their farm, hoping through an unexpected friendship to stanch their grief. Prentiss and Landry, meanwhile, plan to save money for the journey north and a chance to reunite with their mother, who was sold away when they were boys.

Parallel to their story runs a forbidden romance between two Confederate soldiers. The young men, recently returned from the war to the town of Old Ox, hold their trysts in the woods. But when their secret is discovered, the resulting chaos, including a murder, unleashes convulsive repercussions on the entire community. In the aftermath of so much turmoil, it is Isabelle who emerges as an unlikely leader, proffering a healing vision for the land and for the newly free citizens of Old Ox.

With candor and sympathy, debut novelist Nathan Harris creates an unforgettable cast of characters, depicting Georgia in the violent crucible of Reconstruction. Equal parts beauty and terror, as gripping as it is moving, The Sweetness of Water is an epic whose grandeur locates humanity and love amid the most harrowing circumstances. 

PUBLISHED BY TINDER PRESS

PUBLICATION DATE – 15TH JUNE 2021

MY REVIEW

This is a beautifully written, understated story that looks into the complexities of human relationships, especially at the time in America when the Civil War had just ended so many people were dealing with loss and a new way of life.

It centres around 2 brothers and their relationship with George, a local man who shuns most human contact and finds it difficult to express his emotions. But the moment he finds these brothers on his land, he seems to connect with them and finds it easier to open up to them than his own wife.

His relationship with these 2 brothers angers many of the locals who find it strange and seems to antagonise many. With his wife on board for his vision for his land, we get to explore a number of relationships and the intricacies that come with them – friends, family, lovers.. – and it’s the exploration of the male side of things that I really enjoyed reading about. How awkward someone can be with someone so close, yet so open and free with a ‘stranger’.

With resistance from the locals to his plans, George and his family find themselves being shunned because of their relationship with the brothers, and what followed is a story that’s full of heartbreak, hope, determination and fight.

The brothers share an extraordinary bond which makes their scenes even more touching, and makes some of the situations they find themselves in even more heartwrenching as things unfold. I loved the style of writing throughout, the action builds up slowly which allows you to connect more to each character and giving a number of characters their own voice allowed you to see more of the picture and understand the times.

A staggering debut and a story that stays with you.

★★★★★

My thanks to amazon vine for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BlogTour #BookReview David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders

Excited to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for DAVID MOGO, GODHUNTER by SUYI DAVIES OKUNGBOWA.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for the copy of the book and for putting this tour together!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Nigerian God-Punk – a powerful and atmospheric urban fantasy set in Lagos.

Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard. 

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK   £7.67

hive.co.uk  £7.99

whsmith  £6.47

MY REVIEW

The gods have fallen, there’s chaos on Earth but life continues as normal in Laos and David Mogo is trying to earn a living as a Godhunter, while also trying to figure himself out – life isn’t easy if you’re a mix of a human and a god!!  And what follows is a fun mix of fast paced action and the fantastical chaos of living in a messed up world, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and spending time in a world which has been creatively invented by the author.

It did take me a little while to ‘get’ the speech used but it soon clicked and really immersed you into the world, and allowed you to really get a feel for the characters and the craziness they are surrounded by!

 In David Mogo, a character has been created who is such an intriguing person – very conflicted as a person, but dealing with his own powers and trying to figure out the best way to use them.  In his work as a godhunter he is placed in the middle of the action which was really exciting – he’s a person with a good heart but a tough exterior.

There are some very shady characters around which takes the story down some darker paths, but there’s enough humour around to lighten the mood of this read and the message about sacrifice and trust between people comes through loud and clear.

A fascinating debut and fun read and I look forward to more from this author in the future!

★★★★

#BookReview The Other Half of August Hope by Joanna Glen

ABOUT THE BOOK

Augusta Hope has never felt like she fits in.

At six, she’s memorising the dictionary. At seven, she’s correcting her teachers. At eight, she spins the globe and picks her favourite country on the sound of its name: Burundi.
 
And now that she’s an adult, Augusta has no interest in the goings-on of the small town where she lives with her parents and her beloved twin sister, Julia.

When an unspeakable tragedy upends everything in Augusta’s life, she’s propelled headfirst into the unknown. She’s determined to find where she belongs – but what if her true home, and heart, are half a world away?

published by The Borough Press

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK  £8.97

hive.co.uk  £10.29

whsmith  £9.35

MY REVIEW

A book to break your heart while filling you with joy! Not an easy task to complete but this story manages it effortlessly!

It takes a lot for a book to evoke such emotions but you cannot have a character like Augusta and not fall in love with her and feel for her at every turn. She’s a twin but so unlike her sister Julia – born a day apart! – and her ‘quirkiness’ often causes her parents not to ‘get’ her and blatantly prefer her sister Julia.

Augusta is a thinker – she loves words, she loves learning and she’s never happy just to settle. Her parents run the local uniform shop and are part of the neighbourhood watch – they live life very simply and they don’t like change, which makes them unable to understand Augusta and her outlook as she wants to explore and see new things.

We also get to hear the story of Parfait whose homeland is Burundi and he tells of his struggles day to day, and how he dreams of escaping to a better life. His story is so heartbreaking and really puts into perspective the day to day struggles we think we have a tough time dealing with. 

The 2 stories work so well alongside one another – they are fairly similar in character that they’re always dreaming of better things and never feeling settled but living in very different worlds and dealing with very different obstacles.

As the years go by, Augusta and her issues of trying to fit in never go away and the internal/external struggles are so brilliantly portrayed. Dealing with new experiences like going to University, growing up and growing further apart from her family – it all brings new challenges to Augusta.

My heart broke a number of times during this book as certain events just took my breath away with how they were portrayed. It cleverly shows how fate can destroy or repair a life and how the link between people can be so profound and I just found it to be such an emotional read that I hope more people pick it up and get to love Augusta as much as I did!

★★★★★

#BlogTour Pink Ice Creams by Jo Woolaston #BookReview @rararesources #PinkIceCreams

Thank you for stopping by today for my turn on the Blog Tour for the wonderful PINK ICE CREAMS by JO WOOLASTON.  My thanks to the Author and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for letting me be part of it all! 

Pink Ice Creams

Intent on fixing her broken marriage and the alcohol-fuelled catastrophe that is her life, Kay Harris arrives at her grim and grey holiday let, ready to lay to rest the tragedy that has governed her entire adulthood – the disappearance of her little brother, Adam.

But the road to recovery is pitted with the pot-holes of her own poor choices, and it isn’t long before Kay is forced to accept that maybe she doesn’t deserve the retribution she seeks. Will the intervention of strangers help her find the answers she needs to move on from her past, or will she always be stuck on the hard shoulder with no clear view ahead and a glove box full of empties?

Pink Ice Creams is a tale of loss, self-destruction, and clinging on to the scraps of the longlost when everyone else has given up hope.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon.co.uk:

Paperback:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1984168231

Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07RV49TKB

Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07RYX3YWP

Amazon.com:

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1984168231

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RV49TKB

Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/jowoolaston

Author Bio

Jo Woolaston lives in Leicestershire, England with her extreme noise-making husband and two lovely sons. She tries to avoid housework and getting a ‘proper job’ by just writing stuff instead – silly verse, screenplays, shopping lists…

This sometimes works in her favour (she did well in her MA in TV Scriptwriting, gaining a Best Student award in Media and Journalism – and has had a few plays produced – that kind of thing) but mostly it just results in chronic insomnia and desperate tears of frustration.

Pink Ice Creams is her first novel, she hopes you liked it.

Website: https://www.jowoolaston.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nevermindthebloggers

Twitter: @JoWoolaston

Good reads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19176972.Jo_Woolaston

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a beautifully crafted piece of fiction that balances both the very dark aspects in the life of Kay, with the lighter moments as she tries to start her life again after splitting with her husband and taking up residence in a caravan on the Norfolk coast which triggers memories from her past and helps her try to come to terms with where she is and what she’s been through.

The voice of Kay is one of very witty observations and remarks,  and many moments of self doubt. Has she done the right thing leaving her husband? What will she do with her life now? She tries to make light of these thoughts in her head, and the more she starts to look back over her life the more things become clearer and she has so much to deal with, that it’s often too much.  This new chapter of her life is supposed to help her move on, but it has a strange way of taking her back to her childhood and the traumas that inflicted on her.

As she encounters a number of new people in her life at the caravan park, it allows her to try and create a new persona, but she’s always wary of allowing new people in and it takes a while for her to fully let go and open up to new experiences.

Along with the flashbacks to her childhood, there’s also time to look back at her marriage and where that went wrong and the more I heard about Martin, her ex, the more I disliked him and could totally understand why  she’d reached rock bottom.  Her confidence had been destroyed by his put downs and it just seemed that she’s always needed that escape from her own life.

When a young boy goes missing at the seaside park, that also brings bad memories back of her younger brother and how that tragedy she’d witnessed back then had never really left her and she’d never got closure.

This is a book that I didn’t know what to expect from when I picked it up, but i found it to be so compelling and emotional that I couldn’t put it down one I’d started reading it!  There’s so many angles to Kay and her story that allows you to really understand her frame of mind and the shocking twist towards the end just wrapped it up perfectly for me.  And any book that can sneak a mention in for ‘Chorlton and the Wheelies’ (one of my favourite kids TV shows ever!!) is absolutely fine by me!!

A stunning debut and am so eager to read more from this author in the future!

★★★★★

#BookReview Cape May by Chip Cheek #CapeMay

About the book

A mesmerizing debut novel by Chip Cheek, Cape May explores the social and sexual mores of 1950s America through the eyes of a newly married couple from the genteel south corrupted by sophisticated New England urbanites.

Late September 1957. Henry and Effie, very young newlyweds from Georgia, arrive in Cape May, New Jersey, for their honeymoon only to find the town is deserted. Feeling shy of each other and isolated, they decide to cut the trip short. But before they leave, they meet a glamorous set of people who sweep them up into their drama. Clara, a beautiful socialite who feels her youth slipping away; Max, a wealthy playboy and Clara’s lover; and Alma, Max’s aloof and mysterious half-sister, to whom Henry is irresistibly drawn.

The empty beach town becomes their playground, and as they sneak into abandoned summer homes, go sailing, walk naked under the stars, make love, and drink a great deal of gin, Henry and Effie slip from innocence into betrayal, with irrevocable consequences.

Erotic and moving, this is a novel about marriage, love and sexuality, and the lifelong repercussions that meeting a group of debauched cosmopolitans has on a new marriage.

Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

waterstones

MY REVIEW

This book transports you back to 1950’s America as you follow a newly wed couple, Henry and Effie, on their honeymoon and seemingly innocent and quite naive about what married life is all about! But they are soon to be seduced by the influence of Clara, a neighbour, and her wild and carefree ways! It has a very moody feel to it throughout!

The more I read, the more I was totally swept up in their new lifestyle and how quickly their darker sides were unleashed – the influence of others and alcohol playing a major part in their new approach to life and how they both seemed to shock one another with these different sides to their personalities – a very different start to their married life than they both could have ever imagined!

It was quite explicit at times, something I wasn’t expecting, but it totally summed up the lives they found themselves living – maybe they thought it was expected as it definitely opened their eyes to a much seedier side of life than they had ever been privy to, and I think it was fascinating to see how the characters could behave in one way, but then be appalled when seeing their loved one behaving in exactly the same way!

Their time on honeymoon really seemed to shake them up as people and I thought it was quite interesting to find out what happened to them in the rest of their lives, and wondering if their time in Cape May changed their personalities and ways of thinking for their future. 

A stylish and sultry read!! 

🍹🍹🍹🍹

My thanks to the author, publisher and Poppy Stimpson for the copy in return for a fair and honest review

#BookReview The Silver Road by Stina Jackson #TheSilverRoad

About the book

Three years ago, Lelle’s daughter went missing in a remote part of Northern Sweden. Lelle has spent the intervening summers driving the Silver Road under the midnight sun, frantically searching for his lost daughter, for himself and for redemption.

Meanwhile, seventeen-year-old Meja arrives in town hoping for a fresh start. She is the same age as Lelle’s daughter was – a girl on the brink of adulthood. But for Meja, there are dangers to be found in this isolated place.

As autumn’s darkness slowly creeps in, Lelle and Meja’s lives are intertwined in ways, both haunting and tragic, that they could never have imagined.

Published by Corvus

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk £10.55

waterstones £12.99

W H Smith  £9.35

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a totally absorbing and haunting story that was so deftly written that you could really sense the tension and angst of the characters throughout.

Lelle is a teacher and father who is haunted by the disappearance 3 years ago of his beloved daughter who he’d dropped off on The Silver Road to catch a bus – she never did and nobody has seen her since.  His desperation to find his daughter has caused the breakdown of his marriage, but he refuses to give up and constantly drives round the local area looking for clues or a suspect.

Meja is a young girl who has moved to the area with her mother Silje, but Meja is more sensible and responsible than her mother is and that pressure is getting to her, so when she is shown interest and kindness from Carl-Johan, whose family live nearby, her head is turned and all she can think of is him.  It’s not long before she moves to where his family are – and to say they’re a little odd is putting it mildly.  They are survivalists and trust nothing the government or authorities say, and they’re very happy to live in this closed off world.  Even Meja has to give up her phone when she moves in with them.

Lelle is Meja’s teacher so they form a bond through school and he can’t help to feel protective towards her especially when her own mother doesn’t seem to bothered.  Maybe he feels he needs to look out for Meja because he couldn’t do more for his own daughter.  He feels frustrated at the police for not investigating her disappearance more and lives in a constant state of alert – his only purpose is to find out what has happened to his daughter.

From the setting to the storyline, I found this story to be one that was both beautifully written and well staged.  It was never rushed or too elaborate, and the slow burn of a couple of storylines really put doubt in your mind as a reader as to what could have happened and how such a disappearance affects the family left behind and the lengths some may go to in seeking out the truth.  A fascinating and gripping read.

🌟🌟🌟🌟

I read this via The Pigeonhole app

#BookReview Wolf Country by Tunde Farrand @EyeAndLightning

About the book

London, 2050. The socio-economic crisis of recent decades is over and consumerism is thriving.

Ownership of land outside the city is the preserve of a tiny elite, and the rest of the population must spend to earn a Right to Reside. Ageing has been abolished thanks to a radical new approach, replacing retirement with blissful euthanasia at a Dignitorium.

When architect Philip goes missing, his wife, Alice, risks losing her home and her status, and begins to question the society in which she was raised. Her search for him uncovers some horrifying truths about the fate of her own family and the reality behind the new social order.

Published by Lightning Books

Purchase Links

Publisher Website with 25% off and free P&P

hive.co.uk

waterstones

MY REVIEW

I think it’s a scary reflection of the times we live in nowadays when you read a book like this and you’re not left wondering ‘what if’ but ‘when’ this will become a reality – and that’s the clever thing about the way this story is written as there are already glimpses of the world we live in but just taken to the next degree, and it’s a truly terrifying prospect facing Alice and her family as they’re left to justify their ‘Right to Reside’ in a world that wants rid of those people who don’t ‘earn their keep’ – be they the elderly, the sick, the unemployed – and they are left to make a choice as to when they want to die as not to drain the resources enjoyed by the ‘Owners’ and the wealthy.

Life in 2050 is a seemingly simple affair – if you’re one of those working and thus qualify for the free housing, in separated areas linked to the type of job you do, and if you’re married with a family or single.  But most people know no better so they’re happy with a system that rewards them for making a contribution, and they believe the message from those in charge that the retired or sick are just a drain on society and are not worthy of wasting money on.  So their options is to move to a ‘Dignitorium’ where they will live out a period of time before meeting a peaceful end.  It tears families apart, including Alice and her family of her sister, parents and grandmother – it’s heartbreaking seeing how heartless some can be to their own families because they believe what they’re being told.  The elderly remember the world the way it was so only see this new system for how unfair it is and can do very little about it other than comply or go off grid.

When Alice’s husband Philip goes missing after a terrorist explosion, her life is blown apart, and changes beyond recognition.  It’s only then that she starts to see problems with the system and the more she finds out, the more horrified she is about the lies she’s been told.  

She’s also forced to seek out her sister, Sofia, who has a completely different experience of the way this world works, and when the sisters meet up you can’t help but notice how much hostility there is between them and realising how broken their relationship has always been.

I was totally transfixed by this story – horrified too – and it is a fascinating debut from this author.  It’s one of those books that really gets under your skin.  The way the residents are portrayed in their compliance with a system that we see as being so wrong, but they see it as a world with order and purpose and see no reason for why those in charge would lie to them.  A classic case of the ‘Divide and Rule’ way of life and it made for such a chilling and captivating read that I’m eagerly anticipating more from this author in the future!  

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

My thanks to the publisher for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BlogTour The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox #BookReview @HQDigitalUK

Happy Halloween!!! Delighted to be part of this ghostly Blog Tour – my thanks to the author and publisher, HQ for letting me be part of it all!

👻👻👻👻👻

The must-have historical read for the autumn, perfect for fans of A Discovery of Witches and Outlander.

Years after the Salem witch trials one witch remains. She just doesn’t know it… yet.

Growing up Lydia Montrose knew she was descended from the legendary witches of Salem but was warned to never show the world what she could do and so slowly forgot her legacy. But Willow Hall has awoken something inside her…

1821: Having fled family scandal in Boston Willow Hall seems an idyllic refuge from the world, especially when Lydia meets the previous owner of the house, John Barrett.

But a subtle menace haunts the grounds of Willow Hall, with strange voices and ghostly apparitions in the night, calling to Lydia’s secret inheritance and leading to a greater tragedy than she could ever imagine.

Can Lydia confront her inner witch and harness her powers or is it too late to save herself and her family from the deadly fate of Willow Hall?

‘Steeped in Gothic eeriness it’s spine-tingling and very atmospheric.’

Nicola Cornick, author of The Phantom Tree

‘With its sense of creeping menace… this compelling story had me gripped from the first page… ’
Linda Finlay, author of The Flower Seller
‘The Witch of Willow Hall is so spookily good I feel haunted by it. It was literally the first thing on my mind when I opened my eyes this morning. I absolutely loved it from start to finish’
Sarah Bennett, author of the Butterfly Cove series
 
Published by HQ
 
Purchase Links
 
 
 
 
 
MY REVIEW
 
Prepared to be spooked!!  I was completely entranced by the story of Lydia and her family as they are forced to move to Willow Hall after a scandal.  But the past isn’t easily outrun and soon catches up with them again!
 
Lydia is such a fascinating character. And the relationship she shares with her sister Catherine is very relatable – they bicker, there is jealousy – it’s very easy to be #TeamLydia as a reader!!  But the relationship with her younger sister Emmeline is very sweet and endearing.  
 
With very little to in this new town, the villagers tell the girls of the haunting past of Willow Hall and when strange things begin to happen around the house and outside, then things start to get a little freaky for Lydia and not all of it she is able to control.
 
Their father has moved to the area for business reasons and his business partner, John Barrett, is a little shocked to find out he has a family.  He has a past with the house and as you learn more about events from his past then things turn darker, and the significance of things happening now begin to make a little more sense.
 
With Catherine desperate to marry, and dark secrets of the family and their new home – both past and present – coming to light there is so much more that draws you into this chilling story and it was the perfect read for this time of year!  A wonderful debut!
 
👻👻👻👻👻
 
 

#BookReview A Little Bird Told Me by Marianne Holmes #PublicationDay @AgoraBooksLDN

About the book

In the scorching summer of 1976, Robyn spends her days swimming at the Lido and tagging after her brother. It’s the perfect holiday – except for the crying women her mum keeps bringing home.

As the heatwave boils on, tensions in the town begin to simmer. Everyone is gossiping about her mum, a strange man is following her around, and worst of all, no one will tell Robyn the truth. But this town isn’t good at keeping secrets…

Twelve years later, Robyn returns home, to a house that has stood empty for years and a town that hasn’t moved on, forced to confront the mystery that haunted her that summer.

And atone for the part she played in it.

🐦🐦🐦

Published by Agora Books

Publication Date – 13th September 2018

Purchase Link

Amazon UK

MY REVIEW

When a story constantly makes reference to a family with the same surname as you, you find yourself a little more invested in a book and that is exactly how I felt whilst reading this!  It was quite a shock to see the surname ‘Mace’ when it first popped up in this gripping drama, and I just kept hoping that terrible things weren’t about to befall this family!! It became personal haha!!

But the tension throughout this book was the hook that kept me transfixed! It follows 2 siblings – Robyn and Kit – as we see the in childhood and then as adults as they try and make sense of the goings on that Summer, and why they feel compelled to go back ‘home’ to try and get some answers.

Setting the book in 1976 made for some great retro mentions that really brought back the era to me!  And knowing how hot and sunny it was that Summer really made the contrast to some of the darker goings on around the family work so well.  Robyn and Kit never really knew why their mum would take in these crying women to their home, and then when a man in a cowboy hat would start hanging around trying to talk to them, things started to turn a little sinister and the panic set in for their mother who kept things very close to her chest.  

When they go back home after years away, they are still viewed with suspicion by many of their friends and neighbours and you become intrigued as to what really happened to make so many people feel so strongly about their return.    The more they discover, the more the importance of telling the truth becomes  Telling lies is a dangerous game for all those involved.

There is an awful lot to explore with this book and I loved how effortlessly the story flowed from then to now – Robyn was clearly damaged by events in 1976 and it was fascinating to see how such a carefree childhood could quickly become so tarnished.

A gripping debut and I can’t wait to read more from this author in the future!

🐦🐦🐦🐦

My thanks to the author and publisher for the advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review

The Boy Made of Snow by Chloe Mayer #bookreview

THE BLURB

In 1944, in a sleepy English village, Daniel and his emotionally-distant mother, Annabel, remain at home while his father is off fighting a war that seems both omnipresent and very, very far away.

When mother and son befriend Hans, a German PoW working on a nearby farm, their lives are suddenly filled with excitement – though the prisoner comes to mean very different things to each of them. To Annabel, he is an awakening from the darkness that has engulfed her since Daniel’s birth. To her son, a solitary boy caught up in the mythical world of fairy-tales, he is perhaps a prince in disguise or a magical woodchopper. But Daniel often struggles to tell the difference between fantasy and reality, and Hans has plans to spin a special sort of web to entrap mother and son for his own needs.

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support your local bookshop

Book Depository

Waterstones

Follow the author on Twitter –  @ThatChloeMayer

Author Website – https://www.chloemayerauthor.com/

MY REVIEW

If you adore fairy tales then you need this book in your life! And just like fairy tales this is a book with a very dark side that only adds to the impact it has on you when you read it, and I loved every minute spent with these characters in the remote Kent setting.

Told from 2 points of view – a mother and her young son – it is the story of a family set in 1944 so the impact of the War is close by, with the father/husband away for most of the book, and is a fascinating study of how those left behind dealt with things, and how the son sees his life as a giant fairy tale as he has been brought up on them, and everyday he sees as a new chapter in his own fairytale. He wants to be the hero, to save his mother as he watches her struggle with life, and Daniel is such an innocent character in his outlook on life, but also quite old with his approach to life. He’s adventurous, imaginative with a childlike innocence that draws you into his viewpoint and all that he witnesses and encounters.

His mother, Annabel, is another fascinating character as you can sense that she is not coping well with life and often turns to drink to get through the days. But she gets a glimpse of hope in the form of a german POW who is sent to work on a nearby farm, and they soon strike up a connection. He is her escape from the world – her own fairytale so to speak.

You also get to see the impact that war had on those fighting, when Reggie returns home for a short while but he is a broken man. Often heartbreaking to read of the suffering he has seen, and the guilt he feels that life is carrying on whilst he and others are fighting and losing their lives on a daily basis.

I loved the pace of this story – it starts quite slowly but things soon start to happen at a much faster speed and the connection with various other fairy tales were woven throughout so seamlessly that made for a heartbreaking, haunting captivating, emotional and endearing read from beginning to end.

HAPPY READING