#BookReview A HISTORY OF WHAT COMES NEXT by SYLVAIN NEUVEL @MichaelJBooks

ABOUT THE BOOK


Imagine everything you thought you knew about human progress was wrong. What would you do?

Mia is not sure what she is, but she isn’t human. Smarter, stronger than her peers, all she knows are the rules: there can never be three for too long; always run, never fight.

When she finds herself in Germany, 1945, she must turn the Nazi’s most trusted scientist with an offer: abandon the crumbling Nazi party, escape Germany with your life, come to work for the Americans building rockets.

But someone is watching her work. An enemy who’s smarter, stronger, decidedly not human and prepared to do anything to retrieve something ancient that was long lost.

If only she had any idea what it was . . .

PUBLISHED BY MICHAEL JOSEPH

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

blackwell’s

goldsboro books – signed edition

MY REVIEW

This was an exciting and imaginative piece of speculative fiction, that features some really strong female characters, who are front and centre of the plot to try and save the world – despite the humans doing their best to destroy it all with the advancement of rocket technology.

The women, mothers and daughters, are seen at various times throughout history, but the main characters, Mia and her mother Sara, are based around Germany in 1945 as the world is busy destroying itself with another war, and the race is on to expand the rocket technology to cause even more destruction. The women work on the premise ‘Take Them to the Stars’, and you watch as they try and engineer their way into a male dominated world to try and steer humans to a different path. Added to the mix is ‘The Tracker’ whose task over the years is to stop these women, by any means necessary, and it really is often a race against time to save themselves or those around them when the tracker closes in on their new location.

What I loved about this book is the pure strength of the characters – with history repeating itself over and over – we see these women faced with constant hurdles, and their own emotions of anger at the world they witness. We get to see the impact of wars on the countries after the events, how it affected the population and how the bond between mother and daughter never waivers. There’s more show of humanity in their behaviour than amongst the humans they encounter at times!

This was a book with a great mix of sci-fi and history, and I found it to be really compelling and had a great ‘spark’ about it. There’s also some fascinating author notes at the end, along with a playlist that really added something extra to the whole reading experience.

★★★★

My thanks to Lucy at Penguin Randomhouse for sending me an advanced copy to read in return for a fair and honest review.

Advertisement

#BlogTour CROW COURT by ANDY CHARMAN #BookReview #CrowCourt @AndyCWriter @unbounders @RandomTTours

Delighted to be sharing my thoughts on CROW COURT today on the fabulous Blog Tour! My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of  Random Things Tours for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

‘Debut novels shouldn’t be this perfectly formed. Its subject is historic, yet its exploration of morality feels utterly modern. A rarity in historical fiction: it truly places you in the here and now of a world once removed. Crow Court already looks, feels and smells like a classic’ – Ben Myers, author of The Gallows Pole and The Offing 

‘Inventive, original and deeply moving. There is a warmth and humanity, an acceptance of the vagaries and challenges of life’ – Alice Jolly, author of Mary Anne Sate, Imbecile

Unbound’s lead fiction title for 2021: a stunning debut from a breathtakingly assured new voice in fiction Spring, 1840. In the Dorset market town of Wimborne Minster, a young choirboy drowns himself. Soon after, the choirmaster—a belligerent man with a vicious reputation—is found murdered, in a discovery tainted as much by relief as it is by suspicion. The gaze of the magistrates falls on four local men, whose decisions will reverberate through the community for years to come.

 So begins the chronicle of Crow Court, unravelling over fourteen delicately interwoven episodes, the town of Wimborne their backdrop: a young gentleman and his groom run off to join the army; a sleepwalking cordwainer wakes on his wife’s grave; desperate farmhands emigrate. We meet the composer with writer’s block; the smuggler; a troupe of actors down from London; and old Art Pugh, whose impoverished life has made him hard to amuse. Meanwhile, justice waits… 

‘A confident and exciting debut: exactly observed, densely textured and richly flavoured, Crow Court is throbbing with life’ – Rick Gekoski, author of Darke 

‘This clever narrative is both page-turning and original – an innovative and beautifully-written historical novel that features an array of diverse characters and voices from its vividly-realised Dorset setting’ – Jane Harris, author of Sugar Money

 ‘A gripping mystery, beautifully teased out over several decades, full of intrigue and ambiguity’ – Andy Hamilton, author of Longhand

 Published by UNBOUND

PURCHASE LINKS

hive.co.uk
blackwell’s

About the author: 


Andy Charman was born in Dorset and grew up near Wimborne Minster, where Crow Court is set. His short stories have appeared in various anthologies and magazines, including Pangea and Cadenza. Crow Court is his first novel, which he worked on at the Arvon course at The Hurst in Shropshire in 2018. Andy lives in Surrey and is available for interview, comment and events

.MY REVIEW


I was drawn to this book because of the links to Wimbourne, a place where I spent many happy holidays as a child, and it was brilliant to be transported back in time for this ‘history mystery’ that had me anxiously turning the pages to see how things would pan out for all the characters.  And it was a novel experience not to be having much sympathy for the choirmaster victim!! His death shook the local community albeit tinged with relief, but as the story evolves and widens you see behind the facade and the beliefs, and get the reality of someone abusing their power but people keeping quiet about it.  


When a choirboy drowns in Wimbourne, nobody has any idea of the chain of events that  his death will lead to.  But the whispers begin and we get to see various stories of local characters who are linked with the tragedy and how the gossip affects them and their behaviour. 

The story is told in such a way that you get a real feel for the history of the times – the goings on, the way of life and the local dialect used, which has a handy glossary at the back of the book so you can understand phrase used a little more!


There are many secrets being kept and many ‘naysayers’ who won’t even entertain the idea that the claims about the choirmaster and his ‘indiscretions’ – even as a reader, you are really left doubting the rumours at times, and struggle to pin down the accused as they all have seemingly good stories behind them!  So what really did happen that night?!  There’s always more to the story than meets the eye!


I really loved the pace of this story.  The language did take some getting used to, but once I was accustomed to it I really felt that I was on the fly on the wall watching the crime being solved in front of me.  The different storylines are woven together very carefully and link brilliantly together! An impressive debut!
★★★★★

#BookReview THE SURPLUS GIRLS’ ORPHANS by POLLY HERON @CorvusBooks @SusannaBavin

ABOUT THE BOOK

Manchester, 1922

Molly Watson has had enough. Engaged for the last three years to a penny-pinching pedant, she finally decides she’d rather be a ‘surplus girl’ than marry a man she doesn’t truly love. Aware of the need to support herself if she is to remain single all her life, Molly joins a secretarial class to learn new skills, and a whole world opens up to her.

When she gets a job at St Anthony’s Orphanage, she befriends caretaker Aaron Abrams. But a misunderstanding leaves them at loggerheads and damages her in the eyes of the children she has come to care about so deeply. Can Molly recover her reputation, her livelihood and her budding friendship before it’s too late?

PUBLISHED BY CORVUS

AUTHOR WEBSITE

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON


MY REVIEW

The second book in The Surplus Girls series, and another brilliant storyline that centres around the women after the war and the expectations that were placed on them by their family and society, no matter what their own hopes and dreams were!

Molly is the main character in this book and she has a spirited story to tell. She is back working at the local sweet shop and engaged to a man whose behaviour will leave you aghast as it did me! But it was the respectable thing for her to do, to tow the line, to marry, to become a mother.. so when Molly decides she wants more for herself it really is frowned upon.

I loved her determination so she sets out to improve her education and prospects and ends up working at the local orphanage, where a whole other set of emotional circumstances let you see another side of life at the times. The story of some of the children -especially Danny – is enough to break your heart and as Molly spends more time with them, along with Aaron the caretaker, they open others’ eyes to the plight of these children and to ‘think outside the box’, so to speak, in how to get through to them and make their lives better.

Molly is a really wonderful character, especially in the era the story is set in. She has a belief in herself and she doesn’t just want to settle for the norm! She wants choices and a future and seeing how others perceive her because of these decisions is quite enlightening and makes you cheer her on even harder!

A wonderful read and highly recommended!

★★★★★

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

#AudiobookReview CHARLOTTE by HELEN MOFFETT

ABOUT THE BOOK


Everybody thinks that Charlotte Lucas has no prospects. She is twenty-seven years old, unmarried, plain, and seemingly without ambition. When she stuns the neighbourhood by accepting the proposal of buffoonish clergyman Mr Collins, her best friend Lizzy Bennet is angry at her for undervaluing herself. Yet the decision is the only way Charlotte knows to provide for her future, and marriage will propel her into a new world, of duty, marriage, children, grief and ultimately illicit love, and a kind of freedom.

Jane Austen cared deeply about the constraints of women in Regency England. This powerful reimagining takes up where Austen left off, showing us a woman determined to carve a place for herself in the world. Charlotte offers a fresh, feminist addition to the post-Austen canon, beautifully imagined, and brimming with passion and intelligence

PUBLISHED BY MANILLA PRESS

MY REVIEW

I listened to the audioversion of this book

This is the ‘what might have happened next’ once Pride & Prejudice was finished and it surprised me as to how much I wanted to know! And it worked! There’s some artistic licence throughout, obviously, but it made for such an engaging and endearing read as we get to see what happened to Charlotte in her married life.

Charlotte is one of those characters that you struggle to find things to dislike about – she’s a realist, she’s pragmatic and resilient. In her marriage to Mr Collins, they have children and are drawn together over the loss of a child – it makes her look at him through different eyes. But she’s still fighting the times of nothing being expected of women other than being married and having children, and she struggles with where that leaves her daughters in the future.

She goes to stay with Lizzie and Darcy for sometime to help her friend through some sadder times, and her eyes are opened to different experiences and viewpoints of the world.

The only thing that felt out of place for me was the rather OTT sex scene, but other than that this book a brilliant little look at the now and then for Charlotte – seeing how she got to where she was, the life she imagined and the life she got and was good to see how the attitudes towards women were starting to change amongst society.

★★★

#BlogTour THE SMALLEST MAN by FRANCES QUINN #BookReview #TheSmallestMan @franquinn @RandomTTours @simonschusteruk

Hugely delighted to be taking part in the Blog Tour today for THE SMALLEST MAN by FRANCES QUIN.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for letting me be part of it all!!


ABOUT THE BOOK

The smallest man. The biggest heart. The mightiest story. A compelling story, perfect for fans of The Doll Factory and The Familiars.


 Nat Davy longs to grow tall and strong and be like other boys, but at the age of ten, he’s confronted with the truth; he’s different, and the day when the stares and whispers stop is never going to come. 


Narrowly escaping life in a freak show, he’s plucked from his family and presented as a gift to the new young queen of England – a human pet to add to her menagerie of dogs and monkeys. But when Nat realises she’s as lost and lonely as he is, the two misfits begin an unlikely friendship – one that takes him on an unforgettable journey, as England slides into the civil war that will tear it apart and ultimately lead the people to kill their king. 


Inspired by a true story, and spanning two decades that changed England for ever, The Smallest Man is narrated by an irrepressible hero with his own unique perspective on life. His story is about being different, but not letting it hold you back. About being brave enough to take a chance, even if the odds aren’t good. And about how, when everything else is falling apart, true friendship holds people together. 


PUBLISHED BY SIMON & SCHUSTER


PURCHASE LINKS


Amazon
hive.co.uk

THE AUTHOR 


Frances Quinn read English at King’s College, Cambridge, and is a journalist and copywriter. She has written for magazines including Prima, Good Housekeeping, She, Woman’s Weekly and Ideal Home. She lives in Brighton with her husband and who Tonkinese cats. The Smallest Man is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter @franquinn.

 
‘An enchanting tale about a small man with a big heart. Nat Davy is so charming that I couldn’t bear to put this book down. I loved it’ Louise Hare, author of This Lovely City

MY REVIEW

I always love to learn about different characters in history, and this book has introduced me to such a character! The story of ‘Nat’ is based on the real life character Jeffrey Hudson, who found himself close to the royal action during the very turbulent times of the 17th Century.  Using this character gave a really fascinating insight into that period of history and to get his perspective of the goings on at Court, obviously with some artistic licence!

But in creating the character of Nat, it also allowed the story to develop as seeing life through the eyes of someone who was ‘different’ from everyone else and was stared at from a very young age.  This bought him to the attention of those with money, and coming from a very poor family, his father used this to his advantage to sell Nat to a wealthy family, who would then gift him to the new Queen as her ‘toy’.  

The Queen herself was very young and very new to society, so in Nat she found an ally and someone who could understand her feeling out of place.  I think the story gives a really good lesson in how to love yourself just as you are and not to try and be someone else. 

As the  reign of  King Charles I is show to be more and more rocky, I loved how the story showed the darker times for the Royal Family building up to ‘that’ moment in history that still shocks to this day.

I really enjoyed the way the story was written and allowed a different perspective to a momentous time in British history and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

★★★★

#BookReview HOLLY’S CHRISTMAS SECRET by KIRSTY FERRY

ABOUT THE BOOK


Once upon a Cornish Christmas …

It’s almost Christmas at the Pencradoc estate in Cornwall which means that, as usual, tea room owner Sorcha Davies is baking up a festive storm. And this year Sorcha is hoping her mince pies will be going down a treat at ‘The Spirit of Christmas Past’ exhibition being organised at the house by new local antiques dealer, Locryn Dyer.


But as Locryn and Sorcha spend more time together, they begin to uncover a very special story of Christmas past that played out at Pencradoc more than a century before, involving a certain ‘Lady’ Holly Sawyer, a festive dinner party and a magical secret encounter with a handsome author …


PUBLISHED BY CHOC LIT


PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hollys-Christmas-Secret-perfect-heart-warming-ebook/dp/B08GSM8519/  

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/hollys-christmas-secret/id1529429721?itsct=books_toolbox&itscg=30200&at=11lNBs&ls=1

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/holly-s-christmas-secret

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hollys-christmas-secret-kirsty-ferry/1137551652?ean=2940162757702

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kirsty_Ferry_Holly_s_Christmas_Secret?id=G9j7DwAAQBAJ

MY REVIEW

We return to Pencradoc for another magical time slip story, and once again it just sweeps you away with the history and the mystery and I loved it!

This is book 3 in the Cornish Secrets series, but can easily be read as a standalone as each story follows a different character and experience.

This time Sorcha, the tearoom owner, is the main focus of this story as she helps get things ready for the Spirit of Christmas Past exhibition being held there. Locryn is the new local antique dealer, and he’s also involved so that means they have to start spending a lot of time together! And that’s when the fun starts!!

They both begin to watch the past unfold in front of their eyes and it’s always such a remarkable sight to see characters of the past play out their storyline. We get to travel back to 1906 for the ghostly goings on, and are introduced to Elsie Pencradoc and her friend Holly who are planning a big Christmas party!

This had such a fairytale feel to it throughout – from the setting to the storyline – and I just adored my time spent in the company of all these characters! A spectacular supernatural story!!

★★★★★

#BlogTour THOSE WHO KNOW by ALIS HAWKINS @DomePress @Alis_Hawkins

A huge delight to be stop today for the fabulous Blog Tour for THOSE WHO KNOW by ALIS HAWKINS.  My thanks to Emily Glenister at Dome Press for putting this tour together and letting me be part of it all!  


ABOUT THE BOOK

Harry Probert-Lloyd has inherited the estate of Glanteifi and appointed his assistant John as under-steward. But his true vocation, to be coroner, is under threat. Against his natural instincts, Harry must campaign if he is to be voted as coroner permanently by the local people and politicking is not his strength.


On the hustings, Harry and John are called to examine the body of Nicholas Rowland, a radical and pioneering schoolteacher whose death may not be the accident it first appeared. What was Rowland’s real relationship with his eccentric patron, Miss Gwatkyn? And why does Harry’s rival for the post of coroner deny knowing him? Harry’s determination to uncover the truth threatens to undermine both his campaign and his future.

PUBLISHED BY DOME PRESS

PURCHASE LINKS

Publisher Website

hive.co.uk

blackwell’s

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alis Hawkins grew up on a dairy farm in Cardiganshire. After attending the local village primary school and Cardigan County Secondary school, she left West Wales to read English at Oxford. Subsequently, she has has done various things with her life, including becoming a speech and language therapist, bringing up two sons, selling burgers, working with homeless people, and helping families to understand their autistic children. And writing. Always. Nonfiction (autism related), plays (commissioned by heritage projects) and, of course, novels. Alis’s first novel, Testament, was published in 2008 by Macmillan and was translated into several languages. (It has recently been acquired for reissue, along with her medieval trilogy of psychological thrillers by Sapere Books). Her current historical crime series featuring blind investigator Harry Probert-Lloyd and his chippy assistant, John Davies, is set in Cardiganshire in the period immediately after the Rebecca Riots. As a sideeffect of setting her series there, instead of making research trips to sunny climes like more foresighted writers, she just drives up the M4 to see her family. Now living with her partner on the wrong side of the Welsh/English border (though she sneaks back over to work for the National Autistic Society in Monmouthshire) Alis speaks Welsh, collects rucksacks and can’t resist an interesting fact.

Social Media & Links 

Twitter: @Alis_Hawkins

 Website: http://www.alishawkins.co.uk

MY REVIEW

Book 3 in the series and Harry and John are back! And this time their cases prove to be more complex than ever.  Especially with Harry having his head turned by the lure of local politics.  He is aiming to be elected coroner full time, but it isn’t proving an easy task.

The death of a popular local teach has raised some alarm bells. He was found on the floor, seemingly having fallen out of a loft.  Did he fall or was he pushed?   And when the local magistrates want the case closed quickly, the irks Harry as he’s never one to just settle!  He wants to find out what really happened and if he has to ruffle some feathers to get to the truth, he doesn’t care!

As always, we have the alternating points of view of Harry and John which works so well for these characters as it gives you time with them both to watch things unfold.

The more they delve into the life of the deceased teacher, the darker the plot becomes. His aim was to prove how good small welsh schools could be, but many were against this, and they uncover family feuds too so the list of suspects begins to grow.  Despite their own battles personally, their focus rarely waivers from the case.

The sense of history surrounding the story is as strong as ever, showing up the treatment of women and how society expected them to behave was especially illuminating.

This is a story full of secrets and scandal, and I just loved how determined and clever Harry and John were in getting to the bottom of the mystery of just how the teacher died.  I also really appreciated the notes at the back of the book that gave more historical insight into the times when the book was set. 

A fantastic novel, and a series that I hope will carry on for some time to come!!

★★★★★

#BlogTour ANYONE FOR EDMUND? by SIMON EDGE #BookReview @EyeAndLightning @DamppebblesBT

Delighted to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for the fabulous ANYONE FOR EDMUND? by SIMON EDGE today. My thanks to the author, publisher and Emma at Damp Pebbles Blog Tours for putting it all together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

They dug up his bones. They didn’t know he had a mind of his own.

Under tennis courts in the ruins of a great abbey, archaeologists find the remains of St Edmund, once venerated as England’s patron saint, but lost for half a millennium.

Culture Secretary Marina Spencer, adored by those who have never met her, scents an opportunity. She promotes Edmund as a new patron saint for the United Kingdom, playing up his Scottish, Welsh and Irish credentials. Unfortunately these are pure fiction, invented by Mark Price, her downtrodden aide, in a moment of panic.

The only person who can see through the deception is Mark’s cousin Hannah, a member of the dig team. Will she blow the whistle or help him out? And what of St Edmund himself, watching through the prism of a very different age?

Splicing ancient and modern as he did in The Hopkins Conundrum and A Right Royal Face-Off, Simon Edge pokes fun at Westminster culture and celebrates the cult of a medieval saint in another beguiling and utterly original comedy.

PUBLISHED BY  Lightning Books on 10th August 2020 in paperback and digital formats

Purchase Links:

 Eye & Lightning Books (Free UK P&P)https://bit.ly/30XKfz9 

Amazon UKhttps://amzn.to/3feyTfc

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Simon Edge was born in Chester and read philosophy at Cambridge University.

He was editor of the pioneering London paper Capital Gay before becoming a gossip columnist on the Evening Standard and then a feature writer on the Daily Express, where he was also a theatre critic for many years. He has an MA in Creative Writing from City University, London, where he also taught literary criticism.

He is the author of three previous novels: The Hopkins Conundrum, which was longlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award, The Hurtle of Hell and A Right Royal Face-Off.

He lives in Suffolk.

Social Media: Twitter: https://twitter.com/simonjedge 

Website: https://www.simon-edge.com/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/simonjedge/

MY REVIEW

What a blast of a read!! A wonderful mix of historical and political farce!! Who knew that mix would work so well!! But it does and I found myself laughing away on many occasions as the worlds of history and politics clash in spectacular fashion!

Hannah is part of an archeological dig and they hit the jackpot with their recent find!!  The remains of St Edmund are discovered and politicians start sniffing around to use this in only ways that politicians know how!!

Mark Price is a special advisor to a rising star in politics and is also cousin to Hannah! When he finds out about the link, he wants in on a way to boost his own standing in his line of work – there’s lots of egos about in the offices of Whitehall – and who cares if the truth needs to be bent a little…. ok, a lot!! The art of spin is showcased in amazing fashion in this book and you just know there are people like this walking around Westminster right now!! 

Using St Edmund to try and unite the United Kingdom is a bold gesture, even more bolder when the past reveals he wasn’t the great uniter than many thought but all is not fair in love and politics so the wheels are set in motion to alter history!  Hannah sees through it all and wonders what her cousin is playing at. As does the leading expert on St Edmund who seems to be a little baffled by all this ‘new’ information about an historical figure he thought he knew everything about.  

Add to the mix, the voice of the dug up Saint – he doesn’t seem to be a fan of the modern world! – and you’re left with a hilariously absurd story that left me laughing out loud, along with being horrified of the levels that some will go to boost their own careers!  

Highly recommended if you’re looking for something just that little bit different to raise a smile in these strange times we find ourselves living in!!

★★★★★

#BookReview WITCHBORN by NICHOLAS BOWLING #20BooksOfSummer20


ABOUT THE BOOK

It’s 1577. Queen Elizabeth I has imprisoned scheming Mary Queen of Scots, and Alyce’s mother is burned at the stake for witchcraft. Alyce kills the witchfinder and flees to London – but the chase isn’t over yet. As she discovers her own dark magic, powerful political forces are on her trail. She can’t help but wonder: why is she so important? Soon she finds herself deep in a secret battle between rival queens, the fate of England resting on her shoulders…

PUBLISHED BY CHICKEN HOUSE LTD


MY REVIEW

This is Book 13 of my 20 Books of Summer 2020.

Seduced by the beautiful cover, and the promise of a mix of history and witches I was itching to read this book, but found myself feeling a little underwhelmed by the storyline as it never, for me, seemed to get going.

I really enjoyed the start with the story of Alyce finding herself in Bedlam after escaping home, when her mother was accused of witchcraft and Alyce was told to run far away. I’m fascinated by the period of history this was set in so was excited to see various historical figures of the time featuring in the storyline but it just didn’t seem to sit quite right. Alyce seemed to find herself being captured or escaping which seemed to be a little overdone and it was only right towards the end that the truth about her mother and more of the witchcraft element which I wish had been more prominent during the rest of the book.

It was an easy read and entertaining in patches as you tried to work out what was so special about Alyce to have all these people hunting her down!

★★★

#BookReview THE REVOLT by CLARA DUPONT-MONOD @QuercusBooks #historical #TheRevolt

ABOUT THE BOOK


It is with a soft voice, full of menace, that our mother commands us to overthrow our father . . .

Richard Lionheart tells the story of his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine. In 1173, she and three of her sons instigate a rebellion to overthrow the English king, her husband Henry Plantagenet. What prompts this revolt? How does a great queen persuade her children to rise up against their father? And how does a son cope with this crushing conflict of loyalties?

Replete with poetry and cruelty, this story takes us to the heart of the relationship between a mother and her favourite son – two individuals sustained by literature, unspoken love, honour and terrible violence


PUBLISHED BY QUERCUS


PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon


hive.co.uk

Blackwell’s

MY REVIEW

Royals sure know how to do family feuds well don’t they!? And what a story Richard Lionheart has to share in this book as he tells the story of his mother, Eleanor of Aquitane. I’m ashamed to say I knew very little of her story, only the very basics, but this book has made me want to research this remarkable and resilient woman even more as what an amazing character she was.

I wasn’t sure how it would work with her son telling her story, but I found it to be an intriguing viewpoint as he watches his family torn apart by power and greed, and having to pick sides when your mother and father are so headstrong wasn’t the easiest for them all. What did make it easy was the way their father seemed to despise them all which is why so many took their mothers side and helped her fight the battles ahead.

And Eleanor herself was such a powerful woman, even before she married Henry, as she was Queen of France for 15 years. No wife had ever left a King before so when she left King Louis she made people sit up and take notice – she was pretty ruthless and suffered no fools gladly! 2 months after she left Louis, she married Henry who was set to be King of England!! She was a woman who knew what she wanted, and got it!!

Even at her lowest points she seemed to have the belief that all would work out in her favour in the end and I loved that about her and the journey that she went on. She went through some emotional times as a mother, but refused to wallow and always seemed ready to bounce back.

I really enjoyed how this book made history more accessible. It’s not just a list of names and dates but brilliantly tells the pulsating story of a family divided – the ultimate dysfunctional family!! With so many strong characters, it’s inevitable there was going to be trouble and I found it to be a really enjoyable read! Highly recommended for all historical fans!!

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

★★★★