Even happy families have their secrets…

Since the sudden death of her husband, Naomi has steadily rebuilt the life they shared in the village of Tilsham by the sea.

Her eldest daughter, Martha, is sensible and determined – just like her father was – and very much in control of where her life is going. If she could just get pregnant with her husband, life would be perfect.

Willow, the youngest, was always more sunny and easy-going, yet drifted through life, much to her father’s frustration. But now, with charming new boyfriend, Rick, she has a very good reason to settle down.

The three women are as close as can be. But there are things Naomi has kept from her daughters. Like the arrival of Ellis, a long-lost friend from way back, now bringing the fun and spark back into her life. And she’s certainly never told them that her marriage to their father wasn’t quite what it seemed…

The Sunday Times bestselling author Erica James returns with this gloriously compelling tale of mothers and daughters, secrets and love.





I loved this!! One of those stories when you’re sad to leave the characters as you immediately feel at ease with them and want to carry on watching over them as they come to terms with the loss in their lives, but begin to move on.

It’s a story about family relationships, mostly those between mother and daughters and the different personalities they have. Naomi is the mum, recently widowed, so trying to begin a new life for herself now that her main priority is herself. Martha and Willow are her 2 daughters, both very different in character but dealing with their own issues along with the grief of losing their father.

So the story revolves around the different positions they find themselves in – Martha, happily married and in control of her life, but unable to fall pregnant, and Willow who is really easy going and drifts through life, much to the horror of her big sister! Martha is a very strong character who likes to take control of every aspect, and she thinks it would be best for her mum to sell up and move nearer them. Not so easy for Naomi who has happy memories in her home, along with the fact that she’s now making a life for herself, and it’s fascinating to see how that relationship with her daughters plays out.

These are changing times for all of them and the author has done a wonderful job of capturing the different emotions that each family member goes through, and the impact on the other people in their life. I just adored the interaction between the family and the discovery of things that happened in the past that the mother kept from the girls really added to the drama.

This was one of those books that you totally lose yourself in. The main characters are really well crafted and the dilemmas they face never go OTT and it just gripped me as the drama played out, especially towards the end when they’re faced with some challenging times. Wonderful!



#BookReview LUCKY by ED JACKSON #nonfiction #sports


From tragedy to triumph, one step at a time – an inspirational story of triumph over adversity against the odds

At just 28 years old, Ed Jackson was told he would never walk again. After a miscalculated dive into a pool, he suffered multiple cardiac arrests, a broken neck and a partially severed spinal cord. Lying paralysed in intensive care, the former rugby player knew his life would never be the same. But he wasn’t ready to give up hope.

Driven by relentless determination, Ed embarked on an incredible journey to independence. Millimetre by millimetre, he began to regain movement in his fingers and toes. Defying the expectations of even the most optimistic doctors, step by step, Ed began to walk again.

Fuelled by a renewed appreciation for life and a determination to help others suffering similar injuries to his own, Ed set his sights on a new challenge: mountaineering. Embarking on a gruelling climb to raise funds for a spinal unit in Kathmandu, Ed realises that, once again, the odds are stacked against him. Will he be able to overcome his own life-changing injury and transform others’ lives for the better?

Lucky is the story of how Ed faced the impossible when it seemed all hope was lost, and shows how you, too, can overcome the biggest challenges that life sends your way.





In this book Ed Jackson shares an astonishingly powerful message and I’m in total awe of him and the impact of the positive mental attitude that has helped him come to terms with his accident and not let it stop him! The bravery and determination he shows throughout is inspiring!

As he looks back over the accident that changed his life, he shares important messages about the power of the mind and how being supported by equally positive friends and family, gave him the fight within to look for new opportunities and challenges. It shows how quickly life can change in the blink of an eye and I was left in total admiration as he shared those moments as they unfolded. He would keep setting himself little challenges to inspire himself to keep moving forward mentally and physically and also looked to others who had suffered spinal injuries before him to keep pushing himself.

A brilliant read and an inspirational man!!


#BookReview Q by Christina Dalcher


Elena Fairchild is a teacher at one of the state’s new elite schools. Her daughters are exactly like her: beautiful, ambitious, and perfect. A good thing, since the recent mandate that’s swept the country is all about perfection.Now everyone must undergo routine tests for their quotient, Q, and any children who don’t measure up are placed into new government schools. Instead, teachers can focus on the gifted.Elena tells herself it’s not about eugenics, not really, but when one of her daughters scores lower than expected and is taken away, she intentionally fails her own test to go with her.But what Elena discovers is far more terrifying than she ever imagined…





This is a horrifying but totally engrossing glimpse into a world that doesn’t seem too far away – which is what makes it even more terrifying! We are used to being judged on how we look, what products we have etc in our world, but here you are tested to see your quotient, Q, and that will determine the school you go to – either one that nurtures you and encourages the gifted members of society, or sent off away from you family to a school, more like an institution, that is run by the government.

Elena Fairchild is living a blessed life – teaching at one of the elite schools, married to Malcolm who is working for the government behind the scenes, and mother to 2 daughters. They see those who haven’t ‘succeeded’ in life but the way that life is run it is best not to think too much about them. If you have a higher Q it allows you a life of privilege such as extra items at the supermarkets, different queues at the tills, even the school buses are different for children with higher and lower Q’s. In this world, even illness requires verification so no playing poorly for a day off work!

But her world is about to change when one of her daughters scores low in her Q test and she sees the other side of the coin – and she doesn’t like it. You’d think she’d get support from her husband to try and save their daughter from being sent away, but you’d be wrong! And her life starts unravelling as she looks back at different points in her life and starts to regret certain decisions she made that have led to this moment.

The more that Elena looks into the whole system on which their lives are based, the more she is horrified and desperate to find a way out of it all. You really can sense her devotion to her daughter and imagine yourself in that situation, battling both your other half and the society you live in. go

This is a scary glimpse of a future reality and I loved how real it all felt!! The despair shown by Elena, the harshness of her husband as he towed the government line, and the uncovering of the true reality of the institutions was truly shocking!! A brilliant read!!




A late 30s The Wrong Knickers meets Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Eleanor finds herself in her late 30s on a beach in India with three old ladies, trying to ‘find herself’ and ‘discover her family history’ like some sad middle-class crisis cliché. How did she get here?

Truthfully, it could be for any one of the below reasons, if not all combined:

• Stepmum dying/Stepdad leaving – family falling apart, subsequent psychotic break; both parents now on third marriage
• Breaking up with J after 12 years – breaking up a whole life, a whole fucking universe – for reasons that may have been… misguided?
• New boyfriend moving in immediately, me insisting ‘it’s not a rebound!’ even after everyone has stopped listening, being cited in his messy divorce, him being sectioned, then breaking up with me
• Going into therapy after dating a potentially violent, certainly threatening, narcissist (the most pertinent point of which should be noted: I did not break up with him – he ghosted me)

How to address this situation? Take a trip to India with your octogenarian nan and two great aunts of course. The perfect, if somewhat unusual, distraction from Eleanor’s ongoing crisis.

But the trip offers so much more than Eleanor could ever have hoped for.

Through the vivid and worldly older women in her life, she learns what it means to be staunch in the face of true adversity.

published by HQ

publication date – 19th March 2020


Amazon   £11.99

hive.co.uk £10.49

whsmith  £11.99


What better time to pick up a book about being ‘Staunch’ – overcoming things that are put in your way and finding a way to try and turn a negative into a positive – and for that reason alone I’m extremely glad that the shocking pink cover caught my eye and led me to read this inspiring memoir from Eleanor.

It’s about her struggles in the past and the way that she is choosing to deal with them – for many of us that would be tough but on a trip to India with her nan and her 2 sisters, she finds a new meaning to life and a new way to approach the world. She learns so much from her elder relatives and I think they could teach us all a thing or two about confidence! They were an inspiration and I loved to hear the stories they told about their lives – how they moved from India to find a new life in the UK.

Eleanor had really gone through some struggles in her life – depression, bad boyfriends, loneliness, drugs, and the fact you become more invisible the older you get! So this trip to India was her chance to start over – she needed a break from life – and time in a new country gave her the space to focus on herself in a new environment and be inspired by those around her. It takes a look at her family and the dynamics within which were really interesting and her relatives on the trip taught her to laugh again!

It was really easy to read and the pages flew by as I got engrossed in her adventures. She talks about how therapy helped her too and I found it a really good read.


#BookReview THE DILEMMA by B.A.PARIS @HQstories @BAParisAuthor #TheDilemma


It’s Livia’s fortieth birthday and tonight she’s having a party, a party she’s been planning for a long time. The only person missing will be her daughter, Marnie.

But Livia has a secret, a secret she’s been keeping from Adam, her husband, until the party is over. Because how can she tell him that although she loves Marnie, she’s glad their daughter won’t be there to celebrate with her?

Adam is determined everything will be just right for Livia and the party is going to be perfect… until he learns something that will leave him facing an unbearable decision



Amazon UK  £8.92

whsmith  £9.09

goldsboro books – signed first edition £12.99


Another stunner of a story from B.A.Paris and this one centres around the hidden cost of keeping a secret, so as not to spoil a big day – one of those that has you constantly thinking ‘what would you do in the same situation?’. And I still don’t know what I’d do, and if there’s a wrong or right way of dealing with such a traumatic event.

Livia is eagerly awaiting her 40th birthday party. When many want to forget their age and not make a big fuss, she’s been planning this for years. It’s a big deal to her! And her husband Adam knows this, that is why he’s faced with an awful decision when he hears horrific news. Dare he tell her straight away? Maybe if he waits, then things won’t be as bad as he first fears? He’s in a no win situation.

The story is told in alternating points of view – from the wife and the husband – and I found myself totally immersed in their lives and seeing the story unfold in this manner. The tension really builds up as you get caught up in the excitement Livia feels for her party, alongside the devastation that her husband feels as he waits for news on the horrific event that has caused him so much worry and anxiety. You live every moment with him and my heart kept breaking as he tried to put a brave face on things knowing he and Olivia’s world could be changing forever and there was nothing he could do about it.

There are darker secrets revealed along the way which just add to the complexities of family life and how tragedy can often reveal a side to people that you may not wish to confront. It explores the dynamics within a family and how relationships are pushed to the extremes.

This story briliantly portrays the toll a devastating secret takes on the person in the know and I loved every single second of it!!!


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



Some houses are never at peace.

England, 1917
Reeling from the death of her fiancé, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeleine, at her imposing country mansion, Greyswick – but she arrives to discover a house of unease and her sister gripped by fear and suspicion.

Before long, strange incidents begin to trouble Stella – sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs – and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic history of the house.

Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greyswick’s dark and terrible secrets – secrets the dead whisper from the other side…

In the classic tradition of The Woman in Black, Anita Frank weaves a spell-binding debut of family tragedy, loss and redemption.

Praise for The Lost Ones

‘Haunting, emotional and exquisitely written’  Amanda Jennings

‘For fans of Henry James and Susan Hill, this chilling supernatural mystery is written in the classic mould.  Intriguing, moving and assured’  Essie Fox

‘I loved it SO MUCH – so creepy and compelling, full of atmosphere and gave me goosebumps…’   Lisa Hall

‘My coffee is stone cold. My palms are sweaty. I’ve raced to the shocking final twist of this lush, beautifully written historical novel. A gripping ghost story with an achingly poignant family mystery at its heart’ Samantha King 

published by HQ


Goldsboro Books – signed first edition





If you are a fan of creepy houses and ghost stories then look no further! I have found this book to be a real rollercoaster of a read, chilling and compelling, and it’s left me listening out for noises when I’m in the house alone….. and thankfully I’ve not found any toy soldiers placed strategically in my room! Yet!!

This is the story of two sisters, and Greyswick, a large country house where Stella goes to stay with her sister Madeleine , and her husband Hector, as they are both dealing with different emotional moments in their lives. Stella has just lost her fiancee in the war and the grief for her is unbearable. She sees no point in living, and if it wasn’t for her maid Annie, then she wouldn’t still be here. Her family seem to be of the ‘snap out of it’ opinion and think it’s best for her to visit her sister who is currently pregnant and seemingly having a few issues of her own!

Their time at Greyswick is immediately plagued by ghostly goings on! Baby cries, toy soldiers appearing in rooms, and while many in the house seem to willingly ignore what is going on, Stella and her sister are never allowed to settle and start to poke around in the history of the family and house, and enter those rooms supposedly out of bounds! What follows is a pulsating story that quickly unravels into something much darker and deeper.

What captured me was the attitude of the menfolk putting it all down to hormones! Those hysterical women imagining things because they had emotional issues!! Quite shocking to us now! I do love a good ghost story and this one fits brilliantly into the genre! Using the emotions of the sisters, the history of the family and their secrets and the setting of the house to perfection!


#BlogTour A TAPESTRY OF TREASON by ANNE O’BRIEN #bookreview @HQStories @anne_obrien

Hugely delighted to be the latest stop on the fabulous blog tour for A TAPESTRY OF TREASON by ANNE O’BRIEN.  My thanks to the author and publisher for letting me be part of it all!


‘Gripping’ The Times

Her actions could make history – but at what price? 

1399: Constance of York, Lady Despenser, proves herself more than a mere observer in the devious intrigues of her magnificently dysfunctional family, The House of York.

Surrounded by power-hungry men, including her aggressively self-centred husband Thomas and ruthless siblings Edward and Richard, Constance places herself at the heart of two treasonous plots against King Henry IV.  Will it be possible for this Plantagenet family to safeguard its own political power by restoring either King Richard II to the throne, or the precarious Mortimer claimant?

Although the execution of these conspiracies will place them all in jeopardy, Constance is not deterred, even when the cost of her ambition threatens to overwhelm her.  Even when it endangers her new-found happiness.

With treason, tragedy, heartbreak and betrayal, this is the story of a woman ahead of her time, fighting for herself and what she believes to be right in a world of men.

Giving voice to the forgotten women of history, this is the next brilliant historical novel from Sunday Times bestselling author Anne O’Brien.

Praise for A Tapestry of Treason

‘A wonderful novel . . . a rich, gripping, enchanting read. Anne’s vivid writing took me straight to the year 1400 and kept me wonderfully lost there throughout’ Joanna Courtney

Praise for Anne O’Brien

‘O’Brien cleverly intertwines the personal and political in this enjoyable, gripping tale’ The Times

‘O’Brien is a terrific storyteller’ Daily Telegraph

‘A gripping story of love, heartache and political intrigue’ Woman Home

‘Packed with drama, danger, romance and history … the perfect reading choice for the long winter nights’ The Press Association

‘A gripping historical drama’ Bella

published by HQ


Amazon UK  £10.75

hive.co.uk  £8.99

whsmith  £10.49


The Queen of getting me more interested in history is back with another fascinating and gripping historical story that gives flesh to those names of the past that we’ve all heard so much about, but brings their stories to the fore and gives them a voice.

In this book that character is Lady Constance Despenser, who is a daughter of the influential House of York.  Set in 1399 there are troubled times on the horizon surrounding the  battle over taking the throne. I have to admit to knowing very little about the ins and outs of this period of history, but this book was so brilliant in explaining the power struggles, the family disputes and the lengths people were going to to make sure they were on the ‘right side’.  There’s politics, plots and plenty of scandal to devour in this story and it all felt so relevant and relatable despite the complicated times they were living in!  You got the feeling that many of the players were only interested in self preservation so would allign themselves strategically just to take care of themselves!

Constance is an enthralling character to follow and focus on – she’s very pragmatic, a realist but she’s very clever and very loyal to her family and that comes across forcefully in this story.    In a time where women were not really heard from, she knew how to play the game, knew her role and was willing to make difficult decisions when needed.    But despite her family loyalty she doesn’t appear to be that maternal, and not very emotional when it comes to matters concerning members of her family.

What I love about these type of books is the journey that the story takes you on, and that you can then do your own research afterwards to find out more about the times and characters. I loved that there were afternotes in this book that allowed you to find out what happened to certain characters along with places to visit that had connections with the time and events in this period of history.

I found this to be an intelligent, feisty and captivating historical story and I can’t wait to see what period of history and what character Anne turns her attention to next!!


My thanks to the author and Lily Capewell at HQ Stories for the advance reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview Mr Doubler Begins Again by Seni Glaister @HQstories #MrDoubler

about the book

Not every journey takes you far from home…
Mr Doubler lives all alone at Mirth Farm, on top of a hill.

Back when she was around, Doubler’s wife was always surrounded by friends. But Doubler is different. The only company he needs are his potato plants and his housekeeper, Mrs Millwood, who visits every day.

So when Mrs Millwood is taken ill, it ruins everything – and Doubler begins to worry that he might have lost his way. But could the kindness of strangers be enough to bring him down from the hill?

Published by HQ

Purchase Links




A wonderfully touching, funny and inspiring book about a man who finds solace in routine, and potatoes!, but once he is coaxed out of his home he realises there’s a world out there for him and people he can help, and who can help him!

Mr Doubler lives alone at the top of a hill in Mirth Farm. He seeks to be the best potato grower in the country,and devotes his every waking hour to their care and seeking to find the perfect formula to grow and create the best potatoes. He is visited daily by Mrs Millwood who is his housekeeper and keeps him in check, but she always worries about him.. When she is taken poorly it shakes him as his routine is broken, and her daughter Midge starts to visit to help him and offers him a new perspective on life and asks for his help with her mother so poorly.

What I found striking about this story is the mix of characters that we are introduced to. Many of them are very stubborn and set in their ways, but they have hearts of gold and often aren’t appreciated by those closest to them. It takes others to see them for what they are and treat them as real human beings, and it only takes a short time to hear their stories and take their feelings into account. Throughout the book we are aware that some of the characters have bad relationships and feelings towards their children, who have seemingly done little to understand them and though they might perceive what they are doing is best for the elderly parent, it is often not what the parent wanted or had hoped for and they become quite bitter in how they have been treated.

But that doesn’t stop them from caring about those around them, and as Mr Doubler finds himself more involved in the community he starts to listen to the stories of people he meets and comes up with the most delightful solutions to problems and giving meaning back to people who have been forgotten about in their retirement. It focuses on their mental health and wellbeing and how being involved and having a purpose gives them pleasure – there’s more to life than daytime TV and bingo for these characters!

I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with these characters and loved the charming feel to this story! A delightful read!


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

#BookReview The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan #bookblogger

About the book

Join Sarah Morgan this Christmas and treat yourself to this feel-good festive read about mothers and daughters, romance and drama, and Christmastime in Scotland!

It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree, but who’s around it that matters most.

All Suzanne McBride wants for Christmas is her three daughters happy and at home. But when sisters Posy, Hannah and Beth return to their family home in the Scottish Highlands, old tensions and buried secrets start bubbling to the surface.

Suzanne is determined to create the perfect family Christmas, but the McBrides must all face the past and address some home truths before they can celebrate together . . .

This Christmas indulge in some me-time and enjoy this uplifting and heart-warming story from international bestseller Sarah Morgan. Full of romance, laughter and sisterly drama, The Christmas Sisters is the perfect book to curl up with this festive season.

* * * * *

What readers are saying about The Christmas Sisters:

‘Perfect to snuggle up with in front of a fire with a mug of hot chocolate’

‘Practically perfect in every way!’

‘Likeable characters, the dialogue was spot on and it’s all wrapped up in the wonderful Scottish Highlands setting

‘It’s warm and cuddly and cosy – perfect switch-off, feel-good reading’

Published by HQ

Purchase Links

Amazon UK


book depository


This is Christmas writing at its’ very best! A story full of heart that just lets you wallow in all the warmth of a wonderful cast of characters!
A tragedy that happened 25 years ago still plays a major role in the lives of the McBrides, and when they all come together to spend Christmas with each other, the tensions and guilt are still plain for all to see and it’s how that affects their relationships with one another that is the strength of this story and just keeps you wanting more!
Suzanne and Stewart love seeing their 3 daughters – Beth, Hannah and Posy – but with all 3 girls having such different personalities and lives it isnt very often that they can all be together. But this Christmas is different and they’re all set for a lovely family reunion in the mountains that have been home to the McBrides for many years.
Posy is already there living and working, so she sees close up what effect the past has taken on everyone, but she’s such a lovely personality (and definitely my favourite of the sisters!) that she always tries to be the one doing the right thing and never puts herself first. That may be about to change though with the arrival of Luke who is staying at the resort but has clicked with Posy over their shared interests!
Beth and Hannah are both living in America but very different lifestyles – Beth is a mother and gave up a successful career to do the family thing, but that is beginning to take its’ toll and she is thinking about dipping her toe back into work again – if only her husband Jason was thinking the same way! And as for Hannah, she’s all about work!! Even her family don’t normally get a look in, so they’re surprised when she shows up early and seems a little preoccupied with things.
The connection between all the characters was what hooked me. You could tell they all loved one another so much, but there was still so much that was unsaid between them that had caused resentment and assumptions over the years that gave this reunion an edge. Definitely a case of them thinking the grass is always greener on the other side as they looked at their siblings lives and envied different aspects.
Each sister was given plenty of time in this book to share their stories and even had plenty of time to look back at the tragedy that struck them all so early in their lives. And that made it such a joy to read as you felt you knew where each sister was coming from as they struggled to decide what to do that was right for them. 
Loved it!! 


My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the e-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
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!