#BlogTour THE VISITORS by CAROLINE SCOTT #BookReview @RandomTTours @CScottBooks @simonschusterUK



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

‘Poignant’  Best

‘Momentous, revelatory and astonishing historical fiction!’ Historical Novel Society

‘Wonderful and evocative’ Suzanne Goldring

‘Based on true events, this is a powerful story’  Bella

‘Immersive, poignant, intricately woven’ Judith Kinghorn

‘An evocative read’  heat

‘The story left me breathless’ Kate Furnivall

‘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.

MY REVIEW

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!!

★★★★★

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#BlogTour THE NAME BENEATH THE STONE by ROBERT NEWCOME #UnknownSoldier #BookReview @NewcomeRobert @UnicornPubGroup @Bookollective

An honour to be the stop today on the Blog Tour for the wonderful THE NAME BENEATH THE STONE by Robert Newcome. My thanks to the author, publisher and Bookollective for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Three generations, one family, connected by an historic secret. 1917 Private Daniel Dawkins fights at Messines Ridge and Passchendaele. He writes home to his true-love Joyce, but reveals little of his extreme bravery, his kindness, his loyalty to his comrades and the horrors they experience on the Western Front.

 1920 Captain Peter Harding is tasked with a secret mission to assist in the selection of a body dug up from the battlefields of Flanders to be buried in Westminster Abbey as the ‘Unknown Warrior’. Events take place on that expedition that come to haunt him for the rest of his life.

 2011 Sarah Harding discovers Daniel s letters and Peter s diaries. Together with historian James Marchant she pieces together the hidden truth behind the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and must decide what to do with it. Values are challenged and characters are tested in this gripping novel which asks what if the identity of the Unknown Soldier was discovered – and should that secret ever be revealed? 

published by Unicorn Publishing Group

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon £10.11

whsmith  £10.11

hive.co.uk  £9.55

MY REVIEW

I think it’s books like these that show you just how important it is to keep the stories of the bravery and sacrifice that many made in times of war, and I found myself totally absorbed by this story and all the many layers and timelines it encompasses.  

Set over 3 timelines, each chapter of the story is brilliantly told as a work of fiction based on fact.  In the later timeline, 2011, we have Sarah Harding who is nursing her father has he approaches the end of his life and she uncovers many letters in his possession from his time in the war and they start a chain of research and discovery off as she wishes to find out more about the past and her family link to the story of the unknown soldier.

The timelines also go back to 1917 and 1920 – in 1917 Daniel Dawkins shares his thoughts on all he has seen on the front line and the tragedies he was close to.  The banter that the soldiers shared – men and boys who came from normal backgrounds who were thrown into extraordinary circumstances, and I really loved these moments in the story.  It took you right back to try and gain a little understanding of just how they made sense of what they were witnessing and what they were being expected to do by those in charge. How the different personalities amongst them all dealt with the many horrific sights they came face to face with, and how they tried to help those struggling.

And then the 1920 storyline was that of the Unknown Soldier. How it was thought that bringing home a body from France to bury at Westminster could unite the country and those grieving their lost loved ones.  So many different emotions spring to mind when you think of those lost, and those who are at home not knowing where their loved ones are buried. And to those involved in choosing and transporting this unknown soldier back to the UK as well.

As Sarah starts to put all the pieces together of this astonishing family drama, it became a book that I found it difficult to put down.  There were so many threads to follow that each had so much intrigue that you could easily have had a book written just about each timeline!

What I loved was the human aspect of the storyline.  When we read about history we see the numbers and the cold hard facts, but this kind of book gives you a glimpse behind the scenes – the kind of people involved, how those left at home dealt with not knowing or hearing reports on the radio or in papers, the decisions that had to be made on the frontline and just how they even managed to keep going when they were faced with impossible missions and they’re constantly losing their friends and colleagues but they had to keep on fighting.

This was an enthralling and emotional book and one I’m very glad to have had the pleasure of reading. Alongside the ‘fiction’ element, there’s also a clever use throughout the book of newspaper articles of the time, telegrams from the King and all the goings on behind the scene which helped give more depth and perspective to the news that was filtering back to those in the UK.  

Highly recommended!

★★★★★

YouTube footage of the 1920 funeral of the Unknown Soldier

#BlogTour The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott #BookReview @SimonschusterUK @CScottBooks #RandomThingsTours #PhotographerOfTheLost

Truly delighted to be the latest stop on this Pre-Publication Blog Tour for this astonishing book and to give you a little taste of what you have to look forward to come publication day in October! 

My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for the early copy of the book and putting this tour together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Until she knows her husband’s fate, she cannot decide her own… An epic novel of forbidden love, loss, and the shattered hearts left behind in the wake of World War I 1921. Families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors of the Great War have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. He is considered ‘missing in action’, but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph taken by Francis in the post, hope flares. And so she beings to search. Harry, Francis’s brother, fought alongside him. He too longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last things they ever said. Both brothers shared a love of photography and it is that which brings Harry back to the Western Front. 

Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, as he travels through battle-scarred France gathering news for British wives and mothers, Harry also searches for evidence of his brother. And as Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to a startling truth. An incredibly moving account of an often-forgotten moment in history, The Photographer of the Lost tells the story of the thousands of soldiers who were lost amid the chaos and ruins, and the even greater number of men and women desperate to find them again.

Published by  Simon & Schuster

Publication Date – 31st October 2019

PRE-ORDER LINKS

Amazon UK  £12.99

hive.co.uk  £10.69

WHSMITH  £9.35

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

photo thanks to Johnny Ring

Caroline Scott is a freelance writer and historian specializing in WWI and women’s history. The Photographer of the Lost is partially inspired by her family history.

Twitter @CScottBooks

MY REVIEW

I don’t even know where to begin with my thoughts on this book – other than that I adored every single blooming page!! I found it to be such a stunning read that really captured the atmosphere of the time, the grief shared by so many and the limbo that many families were left feeling after the First World War when their loved ones were missing in action.  At a time when many were celebrating the War being over, many were left with so many unanswered questions with no word on the missing soldiers and they were left clutching to the faint hope that these men were in a French hospital, unable to get in contact with those back home.

It’s the story of brotherhood and the bonds between loved ones with 3 brothers going off to fight in the Great War – Francis, Harry and Will – and the desperate search for Francis after the war by his brother Harry and Francis’s wife Edie who was desperate to know what happened to him – even more so when she receives an envelope containing a photograph of him, 4 years after he’d gone missing. When was it taken? Where was it taken? Who was it from? Was he still alive?

 Harry becomes a ‘photographer of the lost’ on his return, which means he goes back to France often to take photos of gravestones for those back home who want a picture of the final resting place for their loved ones and  the surrounding areas – while there he devotes much of his time to trying to track down the likely places his brother may have gone, and also meets others doing similar searches for their family members.

The story changes effortlessly from the time in France after the War, to the past when the brothers were setting off to war together – their experiences on the front line, their fears, the banter they used to lighten the mood – they were just young boys and you just can’t even begin to imagine the sights they were witness to.  

Edie too sets off to France to try her best to get some answers for herself, and her storyline also looks back on how she and Francis met and how close they all were – she can’t move on until she knows the truth about her husband.

This was often a very sombre and haunting read, but so beautifully descriptive and made you totally understand just how lost people were when they didn’t know what had happened to those who didn’t come back home – they felt restless until they knew and would cling on to the hope that they’d turn up on the doorstep one day.  It brilliantly showed the human aspect of war – on those who went to fight and on those who were left behind waiting for letters and contact.

An outstanding and memorable book. Easily one of my favourite reads of 2019!

★★★★★