**The brand new novel from Holly Hepburn, perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley and Katie Fforde.** Originally published in four parts this is the full story in one package.
When Hope loses her husband, she fears her happiest days are behind her. With her only connection to London broken, she moves home to York to be near her family and to begin to build a new life.
Taking a job at the antique shop she has always admired, she finds herself crossing paths with two very different men. Will, who has recently become the guardian to his niece after the tragic death of her parents. And Ciaran, who she enlists to help solve the mystery of an Egyptian antique. Two men who represent two different happy endings.
But can she trust herself to choose the right man? And will that bring her everything she really needs?
The brand new novel from Holly Hepburn, author of Coming Home to Brightwater Bay.
This was a wonderfully heartwarming story following Hope who is on a journey to find some happiness again, after recently losing her husband. She moves to York to be nearer family, and finds herself drawn to a little treasure trove of a shop that she was always drawn to as a child, who are advertising for a part time role! It’s almost like her destiny to be at that shop! And what a shop it is! Full of hidden treasures, and wonderful objects that always have the customers, and staff!, intrigued and ready to buy!
she’s a perfect fit for the shop as she has a great imagination which helps put a story behind each item and when Will and young Brodie enter the shop, they are smitten with all the items, especially an old puzzle box, which young Brodie helps to open – and that leads to an Egyptian mystery to be solved!
This is a story full of wonderful characters overcoming various challenges in their lives, and the need to find out more about the past revealed in the puzzle box allows them to detach a little from reality and escape into a different time and place. Just as I did as a reader as I could picture myself in the little shop and on the streets of York.
Just one of those books that you find yourself savouring every page of! Loved it!
Delighted to be with you today as part of the Blog Tour for the wonderful THE VISITORS by CAROLINE SCOTT. 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!
ABOUT THE BOOK
From the highly acclaimed author of The Photographer of the Lost, a BBC Radio 2 Book Club Pick, comes a tale of a young war widow and one life-changing, sun-drenched visit to Cornwall in the summer of 1923…
Esme Nicholls is to spend the summer in Cornwall. Her late husband Alec, who died fighting in the war, grew up in Penzance, and she’s hoping to learn more about the man she loved and lost.
While there, she will stay with Gilbert, in his rambling seaside house, where he lives with his former brothers in arms. Esme is fascinated by this community of eccentric artists and former soldiers, and as she gets to know the men and their stories, she begins to feel this summer might be exactly what she needs.
But everything is not as idyllic as it seems – a mysterious new arrival later in the summer will turn Esme’s world upside down, and make her question everything she thought she knew about her life, and the people in it.
Full of light, laughter and larger-than-life characters, The Visitors is a novel of one woman finally finding her voice and choosing her own path forwards.
Praise for Caroline Scott:
‘A page-turning literary gem’ The Times, Best Books of 2020
‘A touching novel of love and loss’ Sunday Times
‘A beautifully written must-read’ heat
‘A gripping, devastating novel’ Sarra Manning,RED
‘A powerful novel’ Good Housekeeping
‘A heartbreaking read’ Anita Frank
‘Breathtaking exploration of loss, love and precious memories’ My Weekly, Pick of the Month
‘Achingly moving and most beautifully written’ Rachel Hore
‘This beautiful book packs a huge emotional punch’ Fabulous
‘Drew me in from the first line and held me enthralled until the very end’ Fiona Valpy
‘Quietly devastating’ Daily Mail
‘A compulsive, heart-wrenching read’ Liz Trenow
‘Powerful’ Woman & Home
‘Page turning, mysterious, engrossing and compelling’ Lorna Cook
‘A carefully nuanced, complex story’ Woman’s Weekly
‘Caroline Scott evokes the damage and desolation of the Great War with aching authenticity’ Iona Grey
‘Momentous, revelatory and astonishing historical fiction!’ Historical Novel Society
‘Wonderful and evocative’ Suzanne Goldring
‘Based on true events, this is a powerful story’ Bella
‘A poignant hymn to those who gave up their lives for their country and to those who were left behind’ Fanny Blake
‘I was utterly captivated by this novel’ Isabelle Broom
PUBLISHED BY SIMON & SCHUSTER
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Caroline completed a PhD in History at the University of Durham. She developed a particular interest in the impact of the First World War on thelandscape of Belgium and France, and in the experience of women during the conflict – fascinations that she was able to pursue while she spent several years working as a researcher for a Belgian company. Caroline is originally from Lancashire, but now lives in southwest France. The Photographer of the Lost was a BBC Radio 2 Book Club pick.
Caroline Scott has done it again!! Created a storyline and characters that captivate and affect you emotionally as you connect with their plight and watch the drama unfold as they try to make sense of the world, and do their best to move on.
Set in 1923 Cornwall, this is the story of Esme who is looking to try and come to terms with the grief she feels after losing her husband in the Great War. She comes to the area as that is where he grew up, and she wants to see if that will help her. She stays amongst a group of artists/soldiers who are all dealing with their own pain and suffering, but the community brings them some peace and comfort.
What stuck me most about this book was the link with nature. There are so many mentions that it just brings the surroundings to life and that healing feeling that only nature can bring to a soul.
One of the soldiers she meets is Rory, and he deals with his past by writing about it and that not only helps him, but helps Esme too as she reads his experiences of the war to help her connect with her husband.
The connection with nature is there again as you read about his experiences in the war – at times it feels like they’re on a birdwatching break, but it cleverly shows that by them noticing the nature around them, helps them to cope with the brutality of war that they are facing on a daily basis. It makes them feel more human – they’re just young men who have been sent off to be part of something so horrific and totally alien to the normal side of human behaviour. Watching the local wildlife helps them detach.
Esme is then rocked by a mystery visitor arriving in the area and you get the sense that maybe the past will never leave her, despite her desire to try and move on with her life.
This was a beautifully written story set over a few different timelines that blend seamlessly. The connection between characters was wonderfully touching and I adored it!!
Delighted to be with you today as part of the Blog Tour for the wonderful UNDERNEATH THE CHRISTMAS TREE by HEIDI SWAIN. My thanks to the author and publisher for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!
ABOUT THE BOOK
***The sparkling new Christmas novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author Heidi Swain!***
Wynter’s Trees is the home of Christmas. For the people of Wynmouth it’s where they get their family Christmas tree, and where Christmas truly comes to life.
But for Liza Wynter, it’s a millstone around her neck. It was her father’s pride and joy but now he’s gone, she can’t have anything to do with it. Until her father’s business partner decides to retire and she must go back to handle the transition to his son Ned.
When Liza arrives, she discovers a much-loved business that’s flourishing under Ned’s stewardship. And she’s happy to stay and help for the Christmas season, but then she has other plans. But will the place where she grew up make her change her mind? And can it weave its Christmas cheer around her heart…?
Underneath the Christmas Tree is the perfect festive read, promising snowfall, warm fires and breath-taking seasonal romance. Perfect for fans of Milly Johnson, Carole Matthews and Cathy Bramley.
Praise for HEIDI SWAIN:
‘Full of Heidi’s trademark gentle charm. Lock the door, pour some mulled wine and settle into this wonderful Christmas treat!’ Milly Johnson
‘More Christmassy than a week in Lapland – we loved it!’ heat magazine
‘Sprinkled with Christmas sparkle’ Trisha Ashley
‘Give yourself a Christmas treat and curl up with this magical book!’ Sue Moorcroft, author of The Little Village Christmas
‘A real Christmas cracker of a read!’ Penny Parkes, author of Practice Makes Perfect
‘Cosy, Christmassy and deeply satisfying! Another wonderful read!’ Mandy Baggot, author of One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill
Cosy. Cheery. Charming! I’m smitten!! This was such a wonderful read, full of all the feels and has me wanting to start up my own Christmas Tree business!!
Liza has a dilemma! Her father passed away, and his pride and joy was the business he set up in Wynmouth selling Christmas trees. But with her father gone she doesn’t want anything to do with the business, so handed the day to day running over to his business partner. It was a deal that suited everyone!
But he’s set to retire, and wanting to hand over the reigns to his relative, and they need Liza home to sort a few things out. She is looking to cut ties and head off travelling and can’t think of anything worse than returning ‘home’.
Ned has a number of new ideas for the business but Liza is a little hesitant about his plans so there’s a bit of early tension. But with a lovely local community around them, and her starting to get a bit more hands on with the business, you wonder what is going through her mind. Should she stay or should she go?!
I fell immediately in love with all the characters! They all had such wonderful hearts and you just want to be part of their community! The setting was magical and the situations they found themselves facing were touching and felt ‘real’ so you could just imagine yourself in similar situations!
A real feelgood and fun Christmas read!! And it’s never too early to read a festive tale so I highly recommend grabbing your copy ASAP!!
Delighted to be with you today as part of the Blog Tour for the fabulous THE HEIGHTS by LOUISE CANDLISH. My thanks to the author and publisher for putting the tour together, and letting me be part of it all!!
He thinks he’s safe up there. But he’ll never be safe from you.
The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among the warehouses of Shad Thames, its roof terrace so discreet you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there – a man you’d recognize anywhere. He’s older now and his appearance has subtly changed, but it’s definitely him.
Which makes no sense at all since you know he has been dead for over two years.
I found this to be a book that horrifies, terrifies, excites and thrills in equal measures!! You just can’t get over the intensity as the hate builds and the twists and turns end up punching you in the gut with their verocity!! I’m still in shock!!
It’s the story of parents dealing with grief, and in the case of Ellen she isn’t coping well! She’s doing her best to get on with her life after losing her son, but you’re always aware with her that there is an edge and she’s obsessed with what happened – and how what she has just seen has sent shockwaves through her. The case has consumed her and there is no limit to how far she’ll go to get what she wants! After losing her son, she had a media campaign to be involved with wanting longer sentences and it’s almost as if she got addicted to the feeling of power and control. Is it justice she wants? Or revenge?! I know where I’m putting my money!!
As well as seeing the story from her point of view, we get the viewpoint of Vic, the father of Lucas, and how the case impacted on and how he sees what Ellen is up to now and how it changed her as a person back then.
I loved the slow build up in this book. It really sets the scene to the characters state of mind, so their actions begin to make sense and allows you to put yourself in the same position and wonder if you’d be driven to such extremes if faced with the same situation!
This was such an engrossing read that I raced through it and didn’t want it to end – especially with all the twists and turns ramping up the tension!!
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.
This is a story about taking a leap of faith And believing the unbelievable
They say those we love never truly leave us, and I’ve found that to be true. But not in the way you might expect. In fact, none of this is what you’d expect.
I’ve been visiting my mother who died when I was eight. And I’m talking about flesh and blood, tea-and-biscuits-on-the-table visiting here.
Right now, you probably think I’m going mad. Let me explain…
Although Faye is happy with her life, the loss of her mother as a child weighs on her mind even more now that she is a mother herself. So she is amazed when, in an extraordinary turn of events, she finds herself back in her childhood home in the 1970s. Faced with the chance to finally seek answers to her questions – but away from her own family – how much is she willing to give up for another moment with her mother?
Space Hopper is an original and poignant story about mothers, memories and moments that shape life.
This is one of those books where the story shouldn’t really work! Time travelling back to your youth to see your mother and re-connect once more?! But the way it is written, you truly believe in the concept and appreciate the ability of somebody being able to go back and appreciate those final memories a little more, so it makes for a touching and fun read as you just want to do the same to go back and see loved ones.
Faye is a normal 30 something – married with 2 kids – but something is missing from her life. She lost her mother when she was 8, so her memories of time with her mother are very sketchy. She clings on to a photo taken when she was 6 and just wants to be back there again to relive those times and savour them a little more. When she finds her old spacehopper box in the loft, she doesn’t realise it has the magical powers of time travel so she soon finds herself face to face with her beloved mum – and her younger self!
What follows for Faye is the dilemma – does she dare get too close to her mum again and try and change the past, whilst forgetting to spend time with her family in the present? It is a story that does get you thinking – ooh how i wish time travel was a real thing! – and makes you cling on to hope and savouring all those little memories before it is too late.
I thought the ending was a little too fantastical, but that didn’t spoil the overall story for me as it was written with great heart and tenderness.
**The BRAND NEW series from Holly Hepburn, perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley and Katie Fforde**
‘Joyous – a treat of a tale that whisks your heart away to the beautiful shores of Orkney. Prepare to fall in love with this fantastic series!’ MIRANDA DICKINSON
On paper, Merina Wilde has it all: a successful career writing the kind of romantic novels that make even the hardest hearts swoon, a perfect carousel of book launches and parties to keep her social life buzzing, and a childhood sweetheart who thinks she’s a goddess. But Merry has a secret: the magic has stopped flowing from her fingers. Try as she might, she can’t summon up the sparkle that makes her stories shine. And as her deadline whooshes by, her personal life falls apart too. Alex tells her he wants something other than the future she’d always imagined for them and Merry finds herself single for the first time since – well, ever.
Desperate to get her life back on track, Merry leaves London and escapes to the windswept Orkney Islands, locking herself away in a secluded clifftop cottage to try to heal her heart and rediscover her passion for writing. But can the beauty of the islands and the kindness of strangers help Merry to fool herself into believing in love again, if only long enough to finish her book? Or is it time for her to give up the career she’s always adored and find something new to set her soul alight?
?The brand new series from Holly Hepburn, first published as four ebook parts: BROKEN HEARTS AT BRIGHTWATER BAY, SEA BREEZES AT BRIGHTWATER BAY, DANGEROUS TIDES AT BRIGHTWATER BAY and SUNSET OVER BRIGHTWATER BAY
This book started life as 4 novellas, but I’m extremely glad to have discovered it in its’ new format! This had all the feelgood boxes ticked, full of characters that you instantly warm to and will have you ready to move to Orkney in a heartbeat to be part of the friendly community!
Merry is a writer who has hit the dreaded writer’s block phase of her life, alongside recently being dumped by her boyfriend of 15 years! She needs a change of scenery so when the opportunity to go to Orkney for a 6 month writer in residence position she is fully up for it!
She finds herself living in a remote croft in a stunning setting – I want to live there! – and ready for this next chapter of her life, whatever that may bring her way. She is taking to the bosom of the local community straight away as they love a writer, treating them like rock stars!!
The characters she meets along the way are so warm and friendly, from Niall the perfect host showing her all the local sights, Magnus the hot viking, and Sheila her elderly neighbour, who is only old in numbers and not in spirit! She finds herself adapting to Orkney life really easily and starts taking inspiration from local history to spark her back into writing again.
Ooh and not forgetting Gordon the goat who causes chaos wherever he roams!! This was one of those books that I raced through as I just adored seeing how life would pan out for Merry – both professionally and personally! – and it didn’t disappoint in the choices she made!! Wonderful!!
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.
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
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.
A huge delight today to be part of the start of the Blog Tour for the wonderful WHEN I COME HOME AGAIN by CAROLINE SCOTT. My thanks to the author, publsher and Anne of Random Things Tours for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!
ABOUT THE BOOK
**From the highly acclaimed author of The Photographer of the Lost, a BBC Radio 2 Book Club Pick**
They need him to remember. He wants to forget. 1918.
In the last week of the First World War, a uniformed soldier is arrested in Durham Cathedral. When questioned, it becomes clear he has no memory of who he is or how he came to be there.
The soldier is given the name Adam and transferred to a rehabilitation home where his doctor James is determined to recover who this man once was. But Adam doesn’t want to remember. Unwilling to relive the trauma of war, Adam has locked his memory away, seemingly for good.
When a newspaper publishes a feature about Adam, three women come forward, each claiming that he is someone she lost in the war. But does he believe any of these women? Or is there another family out there waiting for him to come home?
Based on true events, When I Come Home Again is a deeply moving and powerful story of a nation’s outpouring of grief, and the search for hope in the aftermath of war.
Praise for The Photographer of the Lost ‘[An] impressive debut… a touching novel of love and loss’ – Sunday Times
Caroline completed a PhD in History at the University of Durham. She developed a particular interest in the impact of the First World War on the landscape of Belgium and France, and in the experience of women during the conflict – fascinations that she was able to pursue while she spent several years working as a researcher for a Belgian company. Caroline is originally from Lancashire, but now lives in southwest France. The Photographer of the Lost was a BBC Radio 2 Book Club pick.
Further praise for The Photographer Of The Lost ‘This excellent debut is a melancholic reminder of the rippling after-effects of war’ – The Times
‘There’s only one word for this novel… and that’s epic… A beautifully written must-read’ – heat
‘A gripping, devastating novel about the lost and the ones they left behind’ – Sarra Manning, RED
Wow Wow Wow!! After being blown away by the release last year of The Photographer of the Lost (if you’ve not read it yet, go buy it now!!), I was equally excited and nervous for the release of When I Come Home Again, not knowing what to expect! But my fears were quashed within the first page as I was instantly grabbed by the opening scene and stayed gripped throughout as the story of ‘Adam’ unfolds.
You join the story in 1918, with this soldier who has no memory, not even knowing his name. You can only begin to imagine the horrors that he has faced over the previous years. Step forward Dr Haworth who is brought in to try and help unlock his memories. Adam is plagued by nightmares and you can just feel the despair that he feels in not knowing who he is, what he’s been through and why he can’t remember. Does he want to remember?
The despair is shared by his Dr and his wife who live at the rehab facility. They can see that Adam is an intelligent man, but there’s something that holding him back from unlocking that part of his mind that has shut down.
Putting his photograph in a newspaper to see if anybody can recognise him opens up yet more heartache – this time for those desperate back home for loved ones who have gone missing. I loved the way these different characters were introduced and just brought home to me how the war had affected everybody – they waved off their love ones at the start and never heard from them again. So to have this mystery man, they could see a sliver of light at the end of the tunnel and convinced themselves that Adam really was their missing loved ones. They just need to convince Adam of the same….
I found myself so drawn into the mystery of Adam, and the role he played in bringing comfort or closure to the women he met claiming that he was known to them. The way he got on with his life and sought solace in gardening and drawing. And it wasn’t only Adam who was seeking help in the end, as the Doctor was dealing with his own issues and you get the impression that he found the Adam ‘project’ an initial distraction from facing up to problems he was having.
A beautifully written and crafted book. It’s a book that made me think more of the impact the war had on everybody, not just those who had been on the frontline, and it is a story that will stay with me for a very long time!! Stunning!!
A huge delight to be the stop today on the Blog Tour for the beautiful THE GLITTERING HOUR by IONA GREY. My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for the copy of the book and for putting the tour together, and letting me be part of it all!
17th October 2019 | Paperback Original | £8.99
‘An epic story of joyous hedonism and desperate heartache. Just beautiful’ CATHERINE ISAAC
‘Stunning’ VERONICA HENRY
‘Gorgeously written … I loved it’ JILL MANSELL
‘An enchanting, evocative read ‘THE SUN
1925. The war is over and a new generation is coming of age, keen to put the trauma of the previous one behind them. Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing whose life is dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure; to parties and drinking and staying just the right side of scandal. Lawrence Weston is a struggling artist, desperate to escape the poverty of his upbringing and make something of himself.
When their worlds collide one summer night, neither can resist the thrill of the forbidden, the lure of a love affair that they know cannot possibly last. But there is a dark side to pleasure and a price to be paid for breaking the rules. By the end of that summer everything has changed. A decade later, nine year old Alice is staying at Blackwood Hall with her distant grandparents, piecing together clues from her mother’s letters to discover the secrets of the past, the truth about the present, and hope for the future.
Iona Grey has a degree in English Literature and Language from Manchester University, an obsession with history and an enduring fascination with the lives of women in the twentieth century. She lives in rural Cheshire with her husband and three daughters. She tweets @iona_grey.
A book that made time reading it fly by and totally transported me back in time and into the lives of Selina and Lawrence, who were from totally diffeent backgrounds but for one summer circumstances brought them together. And that Summer has big consequences for little Alice 10 years later, and it was mesmerizing to see what transpired through her eyes and the letters she uncovered.
In 1925 the war is over and Selina is living a footloose and fancy free life! She is on the ‘bright young things’ and her biggest struggles in life are deciding what to wear to the numerous parties she frequents! One of the parties she’s at is a treasure hunt party and while she’s out with her friends deciphering the clues, she finds herself taking care of an animal and gets help from Lawrence. He’s a struggling artist who is aware of who she is, but goes out of his way to help her that night and that kindness really strikes a chord with her and she can’t stop thinking about him. She finds herself spotting him at various exhibitions and parties and the more time they spend together, the more they find they can’t live without one another – despite it not being the done thing considering their backgrounds. Selina has never been one to follow the rules anyway so any chance she gets to spend time with him, she grabs it!
Fast forward 10 years and we follow the story of Alice, who is 10 and living with her grandparents at Blackwood Hall. Her life is one of being left alone, aloof grandparents and governesses, and she clings to the letters that her mother sends her while she’s away on business with her father. Her mother sets her a treasure hunt through the letters in the form of riddles to help her understand who she is and where she comes from as she gets to see the events of 1925 played out through memories of her mother.
The switching of timelines is perfectly played out throughout this story. And it really adds to the emotional aspect that runs from the first page to last. You can’t help but feel sad for Alice who is seemingly so alone and just wants the comfort of her family. The riddles she is set are wonderful for her inquisitive mind though and gives her hope that she’ll be back with her family soon.
Events of 1925 aren’t all fun and games though and it was so fascinating to see the light and dark aspects of what appeared to have been so glamorous and carefree. As more revelations of what happened over that summer and the years after come to light, I was enthralled to see just how the stories would resolve and didn’t realise just how emotionally I had become attached to Alice in her journey of discovery. Captivating!