What secrets hide beneath the veil? When her mother departs for a tour of the continent, Georgina is sent from the rural backwaters to stay with her cousin, George Talbot, in London.
The 1835 season is at its height, but Georgina is determined to attend neither balls nor plays, and to eschew Society. She hides her face beneath an impenetrable veil. Her extraordinary appearance only sets off gossip and speculation as to her identity. Who is the mysterious lady beneath the veil?
The Lady in the Veil continues the story of the Talbots in The House in the Hollow but stands equally well alone.
I have loved stepping back in time through the pages of this book, and following the story of Georgina, who is one of those characters that you find yourself immediately taken with and just wanting the best for her.
When her mother remarries, Georgina finds herself shipped off to a distant relative to start life over and find a husband. But Georgina is far from appreciative of this new chapter in her life, especially as she’s been brought up to hide herself away, behind a veil, and living in fear of the reaction she will receive from others when they see her face.
And this mystery lies behind the bulk of the story and it was wholly encapsulating as you tried to put pieces together and discover the truth. There are always family secrets to be revealed and that becomes much clearer when her veil is removed! We watch as Georgina discovers this new life ahead of her, and the lessons she needs to learn to be part of this new society and to discover who will treat her with the kindness and respect she so clearly deserves.
The Lady in the Veil represents the third entry in Allie Cresswell’s Talbot Saga, filling the role of the sequel to The House in the Hollow, while serving as a prequel to Tall Chimneys, the final book in the chronology but is easily read as a standalone – and then you can have fun catching up on the back story later as you’ll be captivated by the characters and settings!
In 2017, Simon Moreton’s father fell suddenly ill and died. His death sent the author back to his childhood home in rural Shropshire trying to process his grief by revisiting his family’s time as transplants to the countryside. In a memoir that that combines prose, illustration, photos, archival texts, and more, WHERE? weaves a gentle story that slips and slides in time and geography, creating connections across geographies, histories, families, times, and circumstance all to answer the question – ‘where are you from?’
This a personal but relatable collection of memories triggered by the loss of a father, and it’s perfectly poignant and reflective as the author returns home to the area he grew up in and is just overwhelmed with recollections of the past and the life of his father.
Told in a mixed media way, you are transported back via illustrations, prose, maps, photos, even diary entries from when he was a child and it strikes a chord with so many perceptions that you find yourself thinking about your own childhood.
It also recollects the devastation that a cancer diagnosis provokes in a family, and how they all felt when his father was initially diagnosed and how we all deal with the prognosis, followed by the devastation of death and how grief affects us all in different way.
I loved the way the author shared his thoughts and feelings and seeing how your mind works when you’re processing such bad news. Those little memories locked away in your head of a special time in your life that mean so much and how the person you’ve lost has impacted on your life in such a positive way and link you to an area for ever.
The author looks back at his childhood, how the area he lived in aided his love of nature and how his father worked the area, and included the local landmarks that were so prominent in his mind.
This is an ode to Shropshire, an ode to family and how reconnecting with an area at a time of loss can become such a comfort and spark off so many memories. I thought it was beautifully written and the illustrations were a fabulous contrast in their black and white style, that helped portray the loss felt so well.
My thanks to Little Toller for the advanced copy, in return for a fair and honest review.
Hello! Happy Saturday! And farewell to another month…it doesn’t feel like it’s almost July! Especially not on the weather front! Lots of recent rain has made the garden explode but at least the bumblebees seem to be enjoying the abundance of flowers! A fairly decent bookish week for me – thankfully! Managed to finish 4 books, made just one visit to Netgalley – came away with 3 books! -, some lovely bookpost arrived and found myself in The Works so that meant leaving with 3 new books to add to the mountain! Oops! Here’s my look back..
“A dark world of emotional complexity and betrayal, where twist follows twist and nothing is what it seems. A masterful narrative voice, and a compulsive thriller from one of our greatest writers. I absolutely loved it.” – Alex Michaelides, No.1 bestselling author of THE SILENT PATIENT
From the Sunday Times and internationally bestselling, multi prize-winning author Joanne Harris, comes A NARROW DOOR – an explosive psychological thriller about one woman who, having carved out her own path to power, is now intent on tearing apart the elite world that tried to hold her back . . . piece by piece
THE UNRAVELLING by POLLY CROSBY
out September 2021
The captivating new novel from the author of The Illustrated Child
’Like a surreal cabinet of curiosities – haunting, eerie, evocative’ Bridget Collins, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Binding
Tartelin has been employed by Marianne Stourbridge to hunt for butterflies, but she quickly uncovers something far more intriguing. The island and Marianne share a remarkable past, and what happened all those years ago has left its scars.
The island has a strange effect on Tartelin, too, finally allowing her to confront her own, painful, memories. As she does, Marianne’s story begins to unravel around her, revealing an extraordinary tale of two girls, an obsession with pearls, and a truth beyond imagination.
Atmospheric and deeply emotional, The Unravelling is a captivating novel about the secrets we can only discover when we dare to look beneath the surface.
HOW ICASIA BLOOM TOUCHED HAPPINESS by JESSICA BELL
out September 2021
Imagine being put to death for the crime of your child’s unhappiness.
This is the tale of Icasia Bloom: how she is caught up in a story not initially her own, and how it changes her world.
In a Globe controlled by a trusted yet elusive leader who has granted immortality to those who live by The Book, misfit Icasia Bloom is doomed to die young for the crime of her child’s unhappiness.
Like all ‘Tatters’ she gets food by bartering, and when she brings customers to the new local bakery, she meets another borderline outcast, Selma Beyett, whose plight touches her.
Selma’s husband Jerome must die in six months if his quest for perpetual happiness is not successful.
What starts as a desperate attempt to save Jerome takes the two women on a profoundly enlightening search for happiness. Icasia questions the Globe’s judgement on its people and on the nature of happiness itself.
Heart-warming, yet strangely unsettling, ‘How Icasia Bloom Touched Happiness’, questions everything we take for granted, and takes a long, hard look into our souls.
For review, I received a copy of this in the post…
DARE TO KNOW by JAMES KENNEDY
out September 2021
Dark Matter meets Annihilation in this mind-bending and emotional speculative thriller set in a world where the exact moment of your death can be predicted–for a price.
Our narrator is the most talented salesman at Dare to Know, a prestigious and enigmatic company in the death-prediction business. While he has mastered the art of death, the rest of his life is an abject failure. Divorced, estranged from his sons, and broke, he’s driven to violate the cardinal rule of his business by forecasting his own death day. The problem: apparently he died 23 minutes ago.
The only person who can confirm his prediction is Julia, the woman he loved and lost during his rise up the ranks of Dare to Know. As he travels across the country to see her, our narrator is forced to confront his past, the choices he’s made, and the terrifying truth about the company he works for–and his role there.
Highly ambitious and totally immersive, this adrenaline-fueled thriller explores the destructive power of knowledge and collapses the boundaries between reality, myth, and conspiracy as it races toward its stunning conclusion.
AND THEN THERE WAS A TRIP TO THE WORKS! 3 BOOKS LATER…
THE TENTH GIFT by JANE JOHNSON
In an expensive London restaurant Julia Lovat receives a gift that will change her life. It appears to be a book of exquisite 17th-century embroidery patterns but on closer examination Julia finds it also contains faint diary entries. In these, Cat Tregenna, an embroideress, tells how she and others were stolen out of a Cornish church in 1625 by Muslim pirates and taken on a brutal voyage to Morocco to be auctioned off as slaves. Captivated by this dramatic discovery, Julia sets off to North Africa to determine the authenticity of the book and to uncover more of Cat’s story. There, in the company of a charismatic Moroccan guide, amid the sultry heat, the spice markets, and exotic ruins, Julia discovers buried secrets. And in Morocco, just as Cat did before her, she loses her heart. Almost 400 years apart, the stories of the two women converge in an extraordinary and haunting manner that will make readers wonder – is history fated to repeat itself?
A WATERMELON, A FISH AND A BIBLE by CHRISTY LEFTERI
It is July 1974 and on a bright, sunny morning, the Turkish army has invaded the town of Kyrenia in Cyprus. For many people, this means an end to their ordinary lives. But for some, it is a chance to begin living again. For one young woman, brought up without her mother and shunned by the community, the invasion brings an opportunity to, at long last, share her side of the story. To an invading soldier, it becomes a search for his one true love, lost years ago. And for a man far from the action, it brings memories of the past flooding into his mind – a woman, a child and a secret never told. A Watermelon, A Fish and a Bible is a breathtaking novel about love, loss, identity and what family really means.
A WITCH IN TIME by CONSTANCE SAYERS
A young woman in Belle Epoque France is cursed to relive a doomed love affair through many lifetimes, as both troubled muse and frustrated artist.
In 1895, sixteen-year-old Juliet LaCompte has a passionate, doomed romance with the married Parisian painter Auguste Marchant. When her mother — a witch — botches a curse on Marchant, she unwittingly binds Juliet to the artist through time, damning her to re-live her affair and die tragically young lifetime after lifetime as the star-crossed lovers reincarnate through history.
Luke Varner, the worldly demon tasked with maintaining this badly crafted curse, has been helplessly in love with his charge, in all her reincarnations, since 19th century France. He’s in love with Nora, a silver screen starlet in 1930s Hollywood. He’s in love with Sandra, a struggling musician in 1970s Los Angeles. And he’s in love with Helen, a magazine exec in present-day DC who has the power to “suggest” others do her bidding.
In this life, Helen starts to recall the curse and her tragic previous lives. But this time, she might have the power to break the cycle…
Totally gripping and brilliantly told, Murder: The Biography is a gruesome and utterly captivating portrait of the legal history of murder.
The stories and the people involved in the history of murder are stranger, darker and more compulsive than any crime fiction.
There’s Richard Parker, the cannibalized cabin boy whose death at the hands of his hungry crewmates led the Victorian courts to decisively outlaw a defence of necessity to murder. Dr Percy Bateman, the incompetent GP whose violent disregard for his patient changed the law on manslaughter. Ruth Ellis, the last woman hanged in England in the 1950s, played a crucial role in changes to the law around provocation in murder cases. And Archibald Kinloch, the deranged Scottish aristocrat whose fratricidal frenzy paved the way for the defence of diminished responsibility. These, and many more, are the people – victims, killers, lawyers and judges, who unwittingly shaped the history of that most grisly and storied of laws.
Join lawyer and writer Kate Morgan on a dark and macabre journey as she explores the strange stories and mysterious cases that have contributed to UK murder law. The big corporate killers; the vengeful spouses; the sloppy doctors; the abused partners; the shoddy employers; each story a crime and each crime a precedent that has contributed to the law’s dark, murky and, at times, shocking standing
PUBLISHED BY HARPER COLLINS
This was a fascinating and detailed exploration of the art of Murder! The infamous, and not so famous, cases over the years that have shaped the way we view murder and how the lines blur from case to case, showing up the gaps in law that can’t cope with the dark and disturbing acts committed by humans.
The author has done a brilliant job of looking back over time at a number of different cases over hundreds of years. How crimes have changed and how the punishments too have differed over the years. From the death penalty to the use of secure hospitals for those claiming mental instability.
Some of the cases I’d heard of so they did resonate, but I was equally fascinated by the cases that had passed me by showing the dark and disturbing and it does a brilliant job of opening topics up to debate – from the appeal system, the difference between murder and manslaughter and how we all become ‘armchair lawyers’ when a high profile case hits the media. And even goes into how crimes cross over into films and tv, and how the public fascination with these horrific crimes never seems to wane.
I learnt so much from this book – including the background to the phrase ‘sweet fanny adams’ to what used to be built on the site of Liverpool Street Station – along with a greater understanding of the process behind the scenes and how cases are dealt with and I found it to be a real eye-opening read.
How the rewilding of eight acres of Norfolk marshland inspired a family and brought nature even closer to home.
When writer Simon Barnes heard a Cetti’s warbler sing out as he turned up to look at a house for sale, he knew immediately that he had found his new home. The fact that his garden backed onto an area of marshy land only increased the possibilities, but there was always the fear that it might end up in the wrong hands and be lost to development or intensive farming. His wife saw through the delicate negotiations for the purchase. Once they’d bought it, they began to manage it as a conservation area, working with the Wildlife Trust to ensure it became as appealing as possible to all species. For their son Eddie, who has Down’s syndrome, it became a place of calm and inspiration.
In Wildness and Wet, we see how nature can always bring surprises, and share in the triumphs as new animals – Chinese water deer, otters and hedgehogs – arrive, and watch as the number of species of bird tops 100 and keeps on growing. As the seasons go by, there are moments of triumph when not one but two marsh harrier families use the marsh as a hunting ground, but also disappointments as chemical run-off from neighbouring farmland creates a nettles monoculture in newly turned earth.
For anyone who enjoyed books such as Meadowland, or the writing of Stephen Moss, Roger Deakin or Adam Nicolson, this is a vivid and beautifully written account of the wonders that can sometimes be found on our doorsteps, and how nature can transform us all.
PUBLISHED BY SIMON & SCHUSTER
I listened to the audioversion of this book.
This was such a lovely listen. One of those books that transports you away and helps you look at the wonders of nature through the eyes of someone with a deep passion for wildlife and the conservation of his local area.
The author lives by a marsh, so when a larger plot of marsh was available to buy he jumped at the chance and this book is an ode to the natural world, and how he and his family have worked to keep this area as wild as possible for the benefit of the local wildlife, and their own enjoyment.
Their son has down’s syndrome so he also shares his experiences of how that changes his outlook and how his son thrives with the connection of the birds and animals surrounding them and it was really touching to see his compassion for the surrounding wildlife.
The author explores the local sights and sounds that he and his family are lucky to see and hear, along with comments on how many humans are seemingly hellbent on the destruction of these natural areas and the devastating consequences that these have on the wildlife.
It’s such a gentle and pleasant book, that helps to share the pleasure in spotting the little things that go on around you and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole relaxing and immersive experience of their story shared.
Hello and thanks for joining me today as I’m taking part in the wonderful Publication Day Blogger Blitz for the fabulous HAPPY DREAMS AT MERMAID COVE by MARIE LAVAL. And not only will I be sharing my review, but there is also a great giveaway for you to take part in!!
Happy Dreams At Mermaid Cove
From the big city to a little yellow mobile library on the Isle of Skye … When Jenna Palmer agrees to the new position of mobile librarian on the tiny Arrandale peninsular of the Isle of Skye, she knows she’s signing up for difficult working conditions and mediocre wages. But Jenna needs to get away, and a little yellow mobile library called Buttercup could be her escape to happier dreams … However, whilst Jenna can get to grips with foggy island roads, local mermaid legends and even big purple monsters, she never expected to have to contend with a boss as grumpy as Daniel McGregor, or a young book lover as enthusiastic as his niece, Katrina. Arrandale might represent Jenna’s safe port in a storm, but could she and Buttercup also become a beacon of hope to Daniel, Katrina and the entire island community?
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire for the past few years. She writes both contemporary and historical romance. Her novels include best selling contemporary romantic suspense novels LITTLE PINK TAXI and ESCAPE TO THE LITTLE CHATEAU, which was shortlisted for the 2021 RNA Jackie Collins Romantic Suspense Awards, as well as A PARIS FAIRY TALE and BLUEBELL’S CHRISTMAS MAGIC. Her latest novel, ANGEL OF THE LOST TREASURE, was released in February 2021. Marie also contributes to the best selling Miss Moonshine’s Emporium anthologies together with eight author friends from Authors on the Edge.
Giveaway to Win 2 bracelets with glass found on a Northumberland beach, a pack of pencils, a mystery gift and some chocolate. (Open to UK Only) *Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Mermaids, mobile libraries and a swoonsome hero?!! Yes please!! I loved this book and am now extremely jealous of Jenna and buttercup – her fab little yellow mobile library – as they start life afresh on the Isle of Skye!
Her first impression isn’t too great though, as very bad weather makes her journey across the water to the Isle of Skye a rather treacherous and unforgettable journey. And it also makes her first meeting with her new boss, Daniel, rather unusual and leaves a lasting impression!
Jenna is looking for a simple, quiet life while she’s there and Mermaid Cottage is definitely the perfect place for getting away from it all. She soon finds herself fully immersed into local life as she travels around in Buttercup, and finds a big fan in Kat who is the niece of Daniel, and a massive bookworm. She’s full of stories of mermaids although Daniel is eager to squash those kind of stories. That sets off your intrigue as to more about his past and what he’s hiding.
I loved the setting, the characters and all the myths and legends we get to hear about as the past begins to reveal itself showing Daniel in a different light. He also finds himself with a rival for the attention of Jenna!
The time away gives Jenna a new lease of life and you can sense her confidence beginning to grow as she comes up with new ideas, and plans to renovate the cottage garden at her new home. It’s the kind of book that swallows you up, lets you escape and dream of pastures new and spending time with Jenna, Daniel and Kat was just pure joy!! More please!!
Delighted to be handing over the blog today to the lovely Marie Laval to help celebrate publication day for HAPPY DREAMS AT MERMAID COVE!! 🥳 Over to you Marie…….
Release Day: Happy Dreams at Mermaid Cove by Marie Laval
My inspiration for writing Happy Dreams at Mermaid Cove was the photo of a yellow mobile library on a deserted Scottish road that author friend Melinda Hammond posted on Facebook at the beginning of 2020. It captured my imagination so much that I had to start writing a story about it straight away. I knew a little about mobile libraries already because a long time ago I actually worked in one in the Wigan area for a few weeks, and what fun it was! I remember driver Don’s smile and perpetual good humour, and mobile librarian Julie’s kindness and energy, and our chats during the tea breaks. I had always dreamt of spending time in England and didn’t hesitate for one minute when the chance came up to do a three month work placement in Wigan as part of my secretarial course.
Of course Wigan and its surroundings are very flat, unlike Arrandale – the made-up part of Skye where the novel is set, and of course there were no Highland cows crossing the road or fierce storms battering the countryside… and no mermaids.
I had a wonderful time in Wigan. People were so kind and welcoming, and I quickly got used to strangers calling me ‘love’, ‘pet’ or ‘flower’. I read Lord of the Rings for the first time, and discovered the pubs, baked beans and fish fingers, and Miss Selfridge!
More importantly, during my time in Wigan I met the man who was to be my love, my companion and my happy dream for the following thirty-one years, and this story is dedicated to him…
About Marie Laval
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire. She writes both contemporary and historical romance. Her novels include best selling contemporary romantic suspense novels LITTLE PINK TAXI and ESCAPE TO THE LITTLE CHATEAU, which was shortlisted for the 2021 RNA Jackie Collins Romantic Suspense Awards, as well as A PARIS FAIRY TALE and BLUEBELL’S CHRISTMAS MAGIC. Her historical novel, ANGEL OF THE LOST TREASURE, was published in February 2021, and HAPPY DREAMS AT MERMAID COVE is her latest contemporary romance. Marie also contributes to the best selling Miss Moonshine’s Emporium anthologies together with eight author friends from Authors on the Edge.
ABOUT THE BOOK
From the big city to a little yellow mobile library on the Isle of Skye …
When Jenna Palmer agrees to the new position of mobile librarian on the tiny Arrandale peninsular of the Isle of Skye, she knows she’s signing up for difficult working conditions and mediocre wages. But Jenna needs to get away, and a little yellow mobile library called Buttercup could be her escape to happier dreams … However, whilst Jenna can get to grips with foggy island roads, local mermaid legends and even big purple monsters, she never expected to have to contend with a boss as grumpy as Daniel McGregor, or a young book lover as enthusiastic as his niece, Katrina. Arrandale might represent Jenna’s safe port in a storm, but could she and Buttercup also become a beacon of hope to Daniel, Katrina and the entire island community?
HAPPY DREAMS AT MERMAID COVE is available as an ebook on Amazon and Kobo.
Hello and Happy Saturday! And my garden is finally a bit happier as there has been rain this week! After the scorching heat, we had a storm and it was wonderful! Nice to have the water butt refilled too! And on to books – and it’s been a much quieter week here for me and I’m not sure why! The heat zapped away my reading ability! So only 2 books finished this week – and zero netgalley or bookhaul goings on!! What is happening??!!! This must be rectified … immediately!! 😉
‘NOW, DAUGHTER, I’M TO TELL YOU A STORY TO COAX YOU INTO THE WORLD…’
London 1797. Mary Wollstonecraft awaits the arrival of the midwife who will help bring her child into the world, and support her through the testing eleven days that follow.
After the birth, both mother and daughter fight for survival. Even as Mary’s strength wanes, she urgently weaves the tale of her life to bind her frail Little Bird close.
Wollstonecraft’s journey to vindicate the rights of women spanned Europe and broke the conventions of the time. Amid the triumph and loss, she blazed a trail and passed that legacy on to her child, the future Mary Shelley.
Love and Fury reclaims the all too brief moment when the stories of mother and daughter overlapped. It is a lyrical and moving tribute to an influential thinker and a remarkable woman.
I found this to be a brilliantly written and poignant read, allowing me to learn so much more about Mary Wollstonecraft, mother of Mary Shelley, who I ashamedly knew very little about. Not any more!!
The story is told through her eyes and those around her as she prepares to give birth to her 2nd daughter – both she and the girl are poorly so it’s touch and go whether either or both make it through.
Seeing the story unfold through the eyes of the midwife was also a great viewpoint. She’s seen it all before in her work, but calm soon turns to nerves as things take longer to progress than they should and she finds herself spending more and more time at the house with Mary and becomes so involved with the family as she watches over her and the little one.
And as Mary lies battling poor health, she is telling her life story to her young daughter and what a story it is. It really gives you a great insight into just how tough things were for women throughout her childhood when nothing is expected of them, other than to marry and reproduce. But the young Mary had different ideas and was a wonderful trailblazer and it was inspiring to read her story and support her struggles. Despite society saying otherwise, she was always determined that women should be able to do what they wanted and not live a restricted life, just because of their gender.
She wasn’t only fighting against society, but her family so you can’t help but be in awe of her commitment and spirit. It never waivered and this book is a beautiful way of telling her story.
When her daughter, Ellie, brings home a new boyfriend, Clare can’t put her finger on why she feels troubled by it. Is it because he’s attractive and closer to her in age? Or maybe she’s just jealous because all of her own husband’s passion seems to go into maintaining his wine cellar.
Ellie’s colleague, Anna, is feeling restless too. She’s much younger than her husband and is still in her prime, and definitely isn’t ready for crosswords and comfy slippers. When a new colleague starts to show a great deal of interest in her, it ignites a spark of attraction that feels impossible to ignore.
They say age isn’t everything – can the women focus on what really matters and live life, and love, to the full?
PUBLISHED BY ONE MORE CHAPTER
This was an entertaining and often thought provoking read, looking at life through the eyes of women who are dealing with the realities of life and the paths they have chosen.
Ellie is one character who is starting out in life and is super excited to be engaged to Tom. He’s 19 years older – she doesn’t see this as an issue but some around her, including her mum, are keen to warn her that this could be a problem. Her mum knows only too well, as she married someone older so Ellie just sees her being hypocritical – instead of heeding the advice given.
Anna works with Ellie, and is at the point in her life when she’s feeling lonely. Her son and his family live a distance away, and life just isn’t making her excited anymore.
There are lots of fun, silly moments but there is also a deeper look at women coming to terms with where they are in life, wanting different things in relationships and wondering whether to ‘stick or twist’ so to speak. With Ellie, she is just swept up in the romance of it all and sees her other half can do no wrong!
I liked that this book is mainly aimed at an older audience – people who’ve maybe been through the same thing or approaching that stage of life, when you’re not impressed by flashy behaviour and just want something different from life and a little bit more substantial and to feel fulfilled.