#BlogTour Old Bones by Helen Kitson #BookReview #OldBones @Jemima_Mae_7 @LouiseWalters12 @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

Delighted to be part of the Blog Tour today for OLD BONES by HELEN KITSON. My thanks to the author, publisher and Emma of Damp Pebbles Blog Tours for putting this all together and letting me be part of it all!

Book Blurb:

Diana and her sister Antonia are house-sharing spinsters who have never got over their respective first loves. Diana owns a gift shop, but rarely works there. Antonia is unemployed, having lost her teaching job at an all girls’ school following a shocking outburst in the classroom after enduring years of torment. Diana is a regular at the local library, Antonia enjoys her “nice” magazines, and they treat themselves to coffee and cake once a week in the village café. Naomi lives alone, haunted by the failure of her two marriages. She works in the library, doesn’t get on with her younger colleagues, and rarely cooks herself a proper meal. Secretly she longs for a Boden frock.

 When a body is discovered in the local quarry, all three women’s lives are turned upside down. And when Diana’s old flame Gill turns up unexpectedly, tensions finally spill over and threaten to destroy the outwardly peaceful lives all three women have carefully constructed around themselves. 

Helen takes us back to the fictional Shropshire village of Morevale in this, her brilliant second novel which exposes the fragilities and strengths of three remarkably unremarkable elderly women.

Publishing Information:

Published by Louise Walters Books in paperback and digital formats on 18th January 2021

PURCHASE LINKS

 Louise Walters Books: http://bit.ly/37dpwKM 

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2LPuDKI

 Foyles: https://bit.ly/3pdjamn 

Waterstones: http://bit.ly/3660WMc 

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/365gdwN

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Helen lives in Worcester with her husband, two teenaged children and two rescue cats. Her first poetry collection was nominated for the Forward Best First Collection Prize. She has published three other poetry collections and her short fiction has appeared in magazines including Ambit, Feminist Review and Stand. She holds a BA (Hons) in Humanities.

Helen’s debut novel The Last Words of Madeleine Anderson was published in March 2019. Her second “Morevale” novel, Old Bones, will be published on 16 January 2021.

Social Media: Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jemima_Mae_7

MY REVIEW

What is it about the ‘quiet’ characters that just make them so fascinating and appealing to read about?! We have 3 female characters in this book who grab your attention in the way they look at the world, the way they interact with each other and those around them, and prove the adage that you should never judge a book by its’ cover – on the outside these women  are seemingly living a very peaceful, monotonous life, but scratch the surface and there’s so much to be found out!

A body discovered in the local quarry brings them all together.  Diana and Antonia are spinster sisters – they have their own beefs with the world, and both seem never to have recovered from their first loves.  Naomi lives alone and works in the local library, so she gets to know people through contact there.  

They all seem to live with the mantra of ‘suffer in silence’!  They live in their heads too much, playing back past regrets, and you’ll have moments when you want to shake them into action! But there’s something settled about the way they deal with life. But sometimes ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away.

I was enthralled with the story as it played out. The mystery of the identity man in the quarry, the secrets from the past that begin to reveal themselves, and the impact it has on the relationships of these women. One of those books that quietly lures you in and doesn’t let go of you easily!

★★★★★ 

#BookReview IN THE SWEEP OF THE BAY by CATH BARTON

ABOUT THE BOOK


This lyrical, warm-hearted tale explores marriage, love, and longing, set against the majestic backdrop of Morecambe Bay, the Lakeland Fells, and the faded splendour of the Midland Hotel.

Ted Marshall meets Rene in the dance halls of Morecambe and they marry during the frail optimism of the 1950s. They adopt the roles expected of man and wife at the time: he the breadwinner at the family ceramics firm, and she the loyal housewife, but as the years go by, they both find themselves wishing for more…

After Ted survives a heart attack, both see it as a new beginning… but can a faded love like theirs ever be rekindled?

Cath Barton lives in Abergavenny. She won the New Welsh Writing AmeriCymru Prize for the Novella in 2017 for The Plankton Collector, which was published in September 2018 by New Welsh Review under their Rarebyte imprint. She also writes short stories and flash fiction and, with her critical writing, is a regular contributor to Wales Arts Review. In the Sweep of the Bay is her second novella.


PUBLISHED BY LOUISE WALTERS BOOKS


PURCHASE LINKS

Publisher Website

Amazon

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

For a book that just has over 100 pages, this was pure quality! It’s a gentle, quietly written book with a devastating exploration into a marriage. How time spent with the one you love often becomes a duty, just going through the motions, settling into a routine and not wanting to rock the boat.

I loved how this was full of those little observations that we often take for granted and miss, you become that fly on the wall as you look back at Ted and Rene as their life passes them by. The highs and the many lows. The trials and tribulations that face us all and how we should take time to treasure the good moments instead of dwelling on the bad!

Watching this couple over the years often left me with an overwhelming sadness! Their union seemed to become a marriage of resentment and bitterness and I found the tears falling down my face at certain points as you just felt so sad for them both and what their lives had become. Even more so when their daughter was going through their possessions and realising just how little she knew about her parents and that brings home that we often don’t realise how much we don’t know about those closest to us.

Being set from the 50’s onwards really showed the attitudes of those towards marriage back then. The fact that the woman was just expected to give up her life for her husband and future children, despite the life she was missing out on … she just kept quiet and let the bitterness build up inside her. You just wanted her to scream or shout – just to react and let her feelings out!

This is an exquisite little novella – small in stature, but huge in style and impact!!

★★★★★

#BlogTour THE NASEBY HORSES by DOMINIC BROWNLOW #BookReview @DominicBrownlow @LouiseWalters12 @damppebbles

Delighted to be the latest stop on the wonderful Blog Tour for THE NASEBY HORSES. My thanks to the author, publisher and Emma of Damp Pebbles Blog Tours for letting me be part of it all and to share my thoughts on this stunning book!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Seventeen-year-old Simon’s sister Charlotte is missing. The lonely Fenland village the family recently moved to from London is odd, silent, and mysterious. Simon is epileptic and his seizures are increasing in severity, but when he is told of the local curse of the Naseby Horses, he is convinced it has something to do with Charlotte’s disappearance. Despite resistance from the villagers, the police, and his own family, Simon is determined to uncover the truth, and save his sister.

Under the oppressive Fenland skies and in the heat of a relentless June, Simon’s bond with Charlotte is fierce, all-consuming, and unbreakable; but can he find her? And does she even want to be found?

Drawing on philosophy, science, and the natural world, The Naseby Horses is a moving exploration of the bond between a brother and his sister; of love; and of the meaning of life itself.

Published by Louise Walters Books

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naseby-Horses-Dominic-Brownlow/dp/1999630564/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1574678393&sr=8-1 

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Naseby-Horses-Dominic-Brownlow/dp/1999630564/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1574679865&sr=8-1

 Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-naseby-horses/dominic-brownlow/9781999630539 

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Naseby-Horses-Dominic-Brownlow/9781999630560

 Blackwells: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/The-Naseby-Horses-by-Dominic-Brownlow-author/9781999630560 

Foyles: https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/the-naseby-horses,dominic-brownlow-9781999630539

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dominic Brownlow lives near Peterborough with his two children. He lived in London and worked in the music industry as a manager before setting up his own independent label. He now enjoys life in the Fens and has an office that looks out over water. The Naseby Horses is his first novel. It was long listed for the Bath Novel Award 2016.

Social Media: 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DominicBrownlow 

Louise Walters Books: https://www.louisewaltersbooks.co.uk/dominic-brownlow

MY REVIEW

Haunting, Absorbing, Unsettling. Just 3 words I think perfectly captures my thoughts on this book which has totally entranced me from start to finish!  And I think it takes a very special kind of writer who can elevate such a simple storyline of someone being missing into something so beautiful and captivating.  It’s fair to say I loved this book!

It’s told from the point of view of 17 year old Simon. It is his twin sister, Charlotte, that has gone missing and without her he’s trying to make sense of the world he lives in as they shared such a close bond.  He’s having to deal with his own feelings along that of his parents who are obviously both distraught at their daughter going missing.

He’s also an epileptic which means that he experiences everything around him so vividly, especially after a seizure and some of the descriptions that the author uses during these times were so staggering.  

They’ve recently moved into a new house from London to the Fenlands and Simon has felt unsettled about certain things from the moment they walked in the door.  As the story unfolds, you are aware he’s not the most reliable of narrators but you are transfixed by his way of thinking and the way his mind processes things.

His voice is a wonderful breath of fresh air – I do love a quirky character and he is definitely one of those!  His determination to find out what has happened to his sister never lets up, and leads him down the path of looking into local history and folklore.  It often feels like many of the adults around him aren’t being totally honest with him and you get a real sense of his frustration at being shut out of the search and investigation.

This was one of those books that really surprised me with how invested I became in the characters and setting.  He seeks comfort though his hobby of birdwatching and it was always interesting to watch him seemingly go into shut down mode as he tried to cope with his sister not being there for him by returning to watching out for birds and devoting his outlook towards them when things got tough for him in the ‘real world.

A stunner of a book!!

★★★★★

#BookReview DON’T THINK A SINGLE THOUGHT by DIANA CAMBRIDGE

ABOUT THE BOOK

1960s New York, and Emma Bowden seems to have it all – a glamorous Manhattan apartment, a loving husband, and a successful writing career. But while Emma and her husband Jonathan are on vacation at the Hamptons, a child drowns in the sea, and suspicion falls on Emma. As her picture-perfect life spirals out of control, and old wounds resurface, a persistent and monotonous voice in Emma’s head threatens to destroy all that she has worked for…

Taut, elegant and mesmerising, Don’t Think a Single Thought lays bare a marriage, and a woman, and examines the decisions – and mistakes – which shape all of our lives.

published by LOUISE WALTERS BOOKS

publication date – 26th September 2019

PURCHASE LINKS

Publisher Website 

Amazon 

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

A really stylish and magnetic story centred around a truly fascinating character, who seemingly had it all along but also had many demons which impacted the way she lived her life from childhood to adulthood, and no matter how many pills she took or therapists she talked to, it was never enough to set her on the path for a quiet life.

Set in the Hamptons it’s a story of Emma who is plagued by ill health which would leave her in bed for days, unable to function normally and despite the best efforts of her husband and a move to the beach, it seemed nothing would ever make her life an easier one.

The story often goes back to Emma and her childhood, where she witnessed a traumatic event and had a poor relationship with her parents and as you watch over this character as time goes on, you get to see the struggles she has with herself, whilst wondering over her reliability as a narrator. There’s always that unease about her as you see her struggle through, acting erratically and even when she gets back to writing she is plagued by events that she cannot shake out of her mind.

Her honesty as a writer earns her huge success and many fans but that success doesn’t last forever, and the voices in her head start to get louder once more – is tragedy always going to follow her around?

I really enjoyed how involved you became as a reader with this book. The anxiety Emma suffers is brilliantly portrayed and by repeating the past is she just hoping that things will change in the end or is there no other way out for her? A sophisticated and engaging read, which I highly recommend.

★★★★

#BookReview The Last Words of Madeleine Anderson by Helen Kitson #LastWordsMaddie @LouiseWalters12 @Jemima_Mae_7

About the book

Once upon a time Gabrielle Price wrote and published an extraordinary novel. 

But twenty years on her literary star has dimmed, her “work of genius” is all but forgotten, and no further novels have materialized. She now lives an unremarkable life: middle-aged, living alone in the sleepy village she grew up in, and working as a housekeeper for the local vicar. Her lonely existence is dominated by memories of her best friend Madeleine, who died young, in tragic and mysterious circumstances. 

Gabrielle’s quiet world is turned upside down when she meets and befriends Simon – young, attractive, a would-be writer, and enthusiastic fan of the astonishing novel that Gabrielle published all those years ago. Charmed and flattered, she recklessly invites him into her home and her heart. But Simon is mysterious and manipulative, and it’s not long before he forces Gabrielle to confront the demons in her past. Gabrielle’s obsession begins to destroy her carefully cultivated life, and she comes to feel increasingly threatened by Simon’s presence. Who is he? Why did he seek her out? And what does he really want?

Published by Louise Walters Books

Purchase Links

Publisher Website  £8.99 with free postage

waterstones £8.99

amazon £8.99

Kindle pre-order – out 7th March 2019 £2.99

MY REVIEW

I will be forever grateful to the world of book blogging/reviewing for allowing me to read books that would normally pass me by – and that is exactly how I feel about this book which  had me well and truly spellbound from the moment I picked it up and I’m still thinking about the characters many hours later and cannot recommend it highly enough!

The character of Gabrielle Price is at the centre of this story – she’s a writer and published a work of ‘genius’ many years earlier but nothing has followed since and she’s never really settled or found her place in life.  Happy to be a housekeeper for the local vicar, she’s content – or so she thought  – doing her own thing and keeping to herself.  But there’s always been the death of her close friend – Madeleine – hanging over her and she is plagued by memories o their friendship and what could have been.  We get to read flashbacks of their time together through childhood and into their young adult life, when they both changed as people and different feelings bubbled up between them causing them to drift apart.

When Gabrielle receives a ‘fan letter’ from a young writer she is shocked that her book still has people taking notice of it, and agrees to meet this fan who turns out to be a young man named Simon, who claims to want to write his own book and is looking for advice and inspiration from her.

What follows is a tale of an older woman being secretly flattered by this attention and the hold that Simon begins to have over her is intoxicating.  She knows she should know better but just can’t seem to help spending time with him and their friendship is soon the talk of the local village.  

I found the strength of this book to be the attention to detail and the characters, who have been crafted so beautifully.  It’s a slow burn of a novel which jumps seamlessly between the now and to the past when we get to explore the intricacies of being young  female friendships.  There is so much unknown about Simon but he has such a way with words that the story he tells Gabrielle allows her  to trust him and confides some of her darkest secrets to him.  

A exhilarating book that is full of dark secrets, obsessive behaviour and mind games.  Stunning!!

🐟🐟🐟🐟🐟

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