The Winter That Made Us by Kate Field @katehaswords #BookReview #amreading

This was such a good book. It was one of those books where you’re desperate to get to the end but at the same time you don’t want it to finish because you’re enjoying it so much.

I’d already read and enjoyed The Magic of Ramblings by the same author and it was good to be back in the same setting and to be able to have a bit of a catch up with some of the characters from that earlier book.

But I’d say this return to Ramblings was even better than my first visit. I loved the main characters Noah and Tess. The author drew them so beautifully and made them so likeable despite their flaws. Their back stories were fed in gradually, and their continuing stories – with the setbacks they had to face and the testing of their vulnerabilities they had to cope with – made for a truly beguiling novel.

This was one of my top three reads of 2018 so far. And I’d love it if the Kate Field were to write more of Tess and Noah’s story…

From the Back Cover:

When Tess finds herself unexpectedly alone and back in Ribblemill, the childhood village she thought she’d escaped, she’s sure she can survive a temporary stay. She’s spent a lifetime making the best of things, hasn’t she?

Determined to throw herself into village life, Tess starts a choir and gathers a team of volunteers to restore the walled garden at Ramblings, the local stately home. Everything could be perfect, if she weren’t sharing a cottage and a cat with a man whose manner is more prickly than the nettles she’s removing…

As winter approaches, Tess finds herself putting down her own roots as fast as she’s pulling them up in the garden. But the ghosts of the past hover close by, and Tess must face them if she’s to discover whether home is where her heart has been all along.

The Winter That Made Us is published by Accent Press and is available as an ebook and as paperback here.

New Book

Out Now

Yes, at last it’s here! My new novel Settlement is now available. It’s the book I never planned to write – the sequel to Displacement. I thought I’d told all of Rachel and Jack’s story but readers of Displacement told me no. They insisted there was more to tell. And they were right. So much so – I’m now planning the third and final – yes final – part of this unexpected trilogy.

And, although it’s a sequel, I’ve written it so it can be read as a standalone – but of course I’d love it if people read both.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed spending more time with Rachel and Jack and their families and friends. I hadn’t realised how much I missed them and I can’t wait to get cracking on the final instalment.

 

So what’s it about?

Falling in love is the easy bit. Happy ever after requires work, commitment and honesty.

She wants him to be her friend and lover. He wants her as his wife. Can a compromise be reached? Or are things truly over between them?

When former Edinburgh policeman Jack Baxter met crofter and author Rachel Campbell at her home on the Scottish island of Skye, they fell in love. It was a second chance at happiness for them both.

But after Jack proposes marriage, it becomes clear they want different things.

Then, as Rachel prepares to return to the Middle East to work on a peacemaking project that’s close to her heart, and as Jack’s past catches up with him, it seems their relationship is doomed.

Can Rachel compromise on her need to maintain her hard-won independence?

Can Jack survive the life-threatening situation in which he finds himself?

Will they get the chance to put things right between them?

If you like a complex, grown-up romance with lots of raw emotion, dramatic and exotic settings, all mixed in with some international politics and laced with elements of a crime thriller, then this is the book for you.

Availability:

Settlement is available online as a paperback and as an ebook or, if you prefer, your local bookshop should be able to get it for you.

Online links:

Amazon UK Kindle

Amazon UK Paperback

Amazon US Kindle

Amazon US Paperback

Isobel’s Promise by Maggie Christensen @MaggieChriste33 #bookreview #MondayBlogs #amreading

This book is one of several books I read while on holiday in Australia. I actually read most of it on the long flight home to Scotland – which was slightly weird but very fitting considering where the book is set. And not only is one of the best books I read on holiday, it’s one of my favourite reads of the year so far.

 Back Cover Blurb

A promise for the future. A threat from the past. Can Bel find happiness?

Back in Sydney after her aunt’s death, sixty-five year-old Bel Davison is making plans to sell up her home and business and return to Scotland where she has promised to spend the rest of her life with the enigmatic Scotsman with whom she’s found love.

But the reappearance of her ex-husband combined with other unexpected drawbacks turns her life into chaos, leading her to have doubts about the wisdom of her promise.

In Scotland, Matt Reid has no such doubts, and although facing challenges of his own, he longs for Bel’s return.

But when an unexpected turn of events leads him to question Bel’s sincerity, Matt decides to take a drastic step – the result of which he could never have foreseen.

Can this midlife couple find happiness in the face of the challenges life has thrown at them?

A sequel to ‘The Good Sister’, ‘Isobel’s Promise’ continues the story of Bel and Matt which began in Scotland

If you enjoy reading about strong women who have learned to live and love in later life, you’ll love Maggie Christensen’s books.

 My Review

Isobel’s Promise is the sequel to The Good Sister which I also very much enjoyed. But even if you haven’t read the first book this new one works well as a standalone. Although I have to say I’d recommend reading the first one too.

The novel is set in Sydney Australia, and in Glasgow and the Loch Lomond area in Scotland – and these settings provide the perfect backdrop to the story.

The plot is nicely balanced – not only between the two countries in which it takes place, but also between the differing points of view of the two main characters – Isobel and Matt. The reader is on both their sides – and is kept wondering if and how they will ever be able to resolve the problems and difficulties that stand in the way of them being together.

But it’s the characters who really make this book a page-turner. Isobel and Matt are in their sixties but they are not in any way stereotypically old. They are warm, likeable and flawed. They have full lives, families and friends who need them, and are open to new experiences – including falling in love. And they look forward – not back.

So, if you’re a fan of a good romantic story and you agree that age is neither a protection from, nor a barrier to, falling in love – then get this book. You’ll love it.

I was lucky enough to be given a pre-publication copy to read and was asked to give an unbiased review.

Isobel’s Promise is available to pre-order online and will be published as a paperback and as an ebook on the 2nd of August 2018.

Here a few links:

Amazon UK

Amazon Australia

Amazon US

Amazon Canada

The Homecoming by Rosie Howard @RosieHowardBook #BookReview #MondayBlogs #amreading

The Homecoming

This was a most enjoyable read. The Homecoming is a first-class example of intelligent, contemporary and credible romantic fiction.

From the Back Cover:

Maddy fled the idyllic market town of Havenbury Magna three years ago, the scene of a traumatic incident she revisits most clearly in her dreams. Even so, when she is called back to help at the Havenbury Arms when her godfather Patrick suffers a heart attack, she is unprepared for the welter of emotions her return provokes. Psychologist and ex-army officer Ben is sure he can help Maddy to resolve her fears, until he finds himself falling for her, and struggling with a recently uncovered family secret of which Maddy is blissfully unaware. Then Maddy’s mother, Helen, arrives and Patrick himself must confront a few uncomfortable truths about his history and the pub’s future.

My Review:

This was such a good read. The two main protagonists, Maddy and Ben, despite being relatively young (she’s in her 20s and he’s in his 30s), have enough life experience for their approach to any sort of romantic relationship to be realistic. They are also portrayed in way that gets the reader on their side and to care about how things will turn out. I also liked the supporting cast of characters who were also well drawn by the author. And it was good to see the older characters – Maddy’s mother and her godfather Patrick – being presented in a realistic way.

The story is engaging with just the right blend of jeopardy, mystery and things at stake to keep the reader hooked.

If you’re looking for a heart-warming holiday read, this book definitely fits the bill.

My only minor gripe is the ending felt slightly too abrupt. I wanted a bit more of a sigh and a wallow. Maybe there needs to be a sequel…

The Homecoming is currently available as an ebook and is available to preorder as a paperback due out on 19th July 2018. The Homecoming by Rosie Howard @RosieHowardBook #BookReview #MondayBlogs #amreading

Book Review: The Good Sister by Maggie Christensen @MaggieChriste33 #bookreview

This is Maggie Christensen’s latest book and it’s her best yet. It’s romantic, heart-warming and completely charming. I loved spending time with this novel’s engaging characters and, even although the story was brought to a satisfying conclusion, I was also left wanting to know what would happen next in the lives of these lovely people.

The Good Sister is similar to this author’s earlier novels in that it’s romantic fiction and it features a couple who are no longer young when they fall in love. However it differs from the others in that it’s set in Scotland – as opposed to Australia.

This is a multi-generation story with three vividly drawn and credible main characters and a well-judged supporting cast.

There’s romance, mystery and a little bit of history. I particularly like that this a romantic story where the contemporary couple who fall in love are in their sixties – and who – the young may want to turn away now – enjoy a full sexual relationship. How life-affirming is that! It was a nice touch too that the character who is in her nineties refers to the couple in their sixties as young. Age really shouldn’t be a barrier to a full life and this is a theme Maggie Christensen is an expert at weaving into her romantic but realistic stories.

All in all a great and absorbing read.

Back Cover Blurb:

Two Isobels. A lifetime of regret. A love that spans the years

 In 1938, as the world hurtled towards war, twenty-year-old Isobel MacDonald fell madly in love. But fate and her own actions conspired to deny her the happiness she yearned for. Many years later, plagued with regrets and with a shrill voice from the past ringing in her ears, she documents the events that shaped her life.

In 2015, sixty-five-year-old Bel Davison returns from Australia to her native Scotland to visit her terminally ill aunt. Reading Isobel’s memoir, she is beset with memories of her own childhood and overcome with guilt. When she meets her aunt’s solicitor, events seem to spiral out of control and, almost against her will, she finds herself drawn to this enigmatic Scotsman.

What is it that links these two women across the generations? Can the past influence the future?

Set in Scotland and moving from the nineteen-thirties to the present day, The Good Sister is a women’s fiction book featuring compelling real-life characters, fascinating plot twists and a strong mid-life heroine. If you like feel-good stories of second chances, you’ll love this new book from Maggie Christensen.

 

The Good Sister is due to be published on 23rd November and is available to pre-order now.

I have pre-ordered my own copy but I also received a free pre-publication copy from the author in return for an honest review.

Book Review: Champagne For Breakfast by Maggie Christensen @MaggieChriste33 #MondayBlogs #BookReview

 

My Review:

I suspected I’d enjoy this book as I’ve liked earlier books by this author. And I was right. I enjoyed Champagne for Breakfast very much. I usually gauge how much a book has got me hooked by how late I stay up reading it. This one was took me into ridiculously late territory.

The book is a contemporary, feel good, romance, and, refreshingly, for more mature readers like myself, the main characters are in their fifties. Rosa is damaged, lost and vulnerable, but so is Harry. Both are struggling with major problems in their lives but they can each offer the other some much needed support. The cast of other characters are well-judged too and the pace is just right.

The story is set in Queensland, Australia, and the author brings the Sunshine Coast area vividly to life.

There’s plenty of romantic tension throughout, and, along with well-judged love scenes, a hint of jeopardy and a thread of credible hope, it all makes for an entertaining and captivating read.

Back Cover Summary:

Rosa Taylor is celebrating her fiftieth birthday with champagne. By the river. On her own.

Just because you are over 50 doesn’t mean there isn’t any romance and fizzle left to be had. This book makes you believe in second chances and never giving up no matter how old you get.

After finishing her six-year long affair with her boss, Rosa is desperate to avoid him in the workplace and determined to forge a new life for herself.

Harry Kennedy has sailed away from a messy Sydney divorce and is resolute in kick-starting a new life on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Thrown together at work, Rosa and Harry discover a secret. One that their employer is desperate to keep hidden. To reveal it they must work together, but first they must learn to trust not only each other but their own rising attraction.

Are these two damaged people willing to risk their hard won independence for the promise of love again?

 

Book Review: People We Love by Jenny Harper

 

I enjoyed this book so much that I immediately read another by the same author.

So there are actually two reviews in this post.

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Fiction

I have to thank fellow author and blogger Alison Morton for alerting me to Jenny Harper’s books in the first place. Alison did an interview with Jenny on her writing blog here. Do pop over to Alison’s blog and read the interview for yourself.

I was intrigued by what Jenny said in the interview about her use and development of characters across her novels. So intrigued, in fact, that in spite of the main characters in People We Love being rather younger than in the romantic fiction I normally read, I felt compelled to give Jenny’s novels a try.

And I’m very glad I did. People We Love is not chick-lit. Yes, it’s romantic, but the story of Lexie and Patrick is a romance rooted in realism. All the characters are fully rounded, engaging and non-stereotypical. It’s an interesting, thought-provoking and very satisfying read. The story interweaves the themes of love (in many of its forms), bereavement, artistic endeavour and loyalty. There is also an air of mystery at times.

I particularly liked the way the author began each chapter with reference to the objects i.e. shoes that Lexie is collecting for her art exhibition. It was original and well handled.

I read this book quickly because I so wanted to see how it would all turn out, but at the same time I didn’t want to end. And when it did end it stayed with me. I wanted to spend more time with the characters – especially Patrick who I think I fell in love with. Well he is handsome, wealthy and charming but also flawed and vulnerable – so no-brainer really.

mistakes-we-make

Then came, for me, the bonus read in the shape of Mistakes We Make in which the author tells us the story of Molly and Adam. Molly features in People We Love. She is Lexie’s best friend. And yes Lexie and Patrick do feature in this story as well.

This idea of taking a supporting cast member from one book and giving them a starring role in another is something Jenny Harper does well. Mistakes We Make could be read as a standalone. You wouldn’t have to have read People We Love. But I guess it would probably be an even better reader experience if you did.

And again, in Mistakes We Make, as in its predecessor, there’s much more than just boy meets girl going on. Yes, the main characters are relatively young, but they’ve lived long enough to have interesting back stories. And they’re so well drawn that readers can’t help but care about them. As well as the emotional turmoil of the main plot, there’s also a satisfying subplot and a mystery to keep the reader engaged.

All in all two excellent novels.

Type of Read: An indulgent afternoon on the sofa, or early to bed for a long read – way past lights out time.

Back Cover Blurbs:

People We Love

A year after her brother’s fatal accident, Lexie’s life seems to have reached a dead end. She is back home in small-town Hailesbank with her shell-shocked parents, treading softly around their fragile emotions. As the family business drifts into decline, Lexie’s passion for painting and for her one-time mentor Patrick have been buried as deep as her unexpressed grief, until the day her lunch is interrupted by a strange visitor in a bobble hat, dressing gown and bedroom slippers, who climbs through the window. Elderly Edith’s batty appearance conceals a secret and starts Lexie on a journey that gives her an inspirational artistic idea and rekindles her appetite for life. With friends in support and ex-lover Cameron seemingly ready to settle down, do love and laughter beckon after all?

 

Mistakes We Make

Sometimes you have to dig deep to discover what you really need. Marketing events manager Molly Keir doesn’t realise how much she still cares for her ex until she meets him with another woman. Her answer is to seize the chance of a glittering job in London – even though this will mean leaving behind her aging father and pregnant best friend Lexie Gordon. Adam Blair is in the wrong job. Pressured by his father to join the family law firm, the stress of work helped break his marriage. Now Molly is moving to London, and he knows he needs to move on – but events soon overtake his best intentions. A year ago, Caitlyn Murray quit her well-paid job to avoid becoming a whistleblower. Now she is stuck at home with her overworked mother and four needy step-siblings. Tempted by the offer of a good wage, she returns to her old firm – where her nightmare comes back to haunt her. Molly and Adam seem to have gone too far to recover the love they once had, and when Caitlyn finds the courage to speak out, she brings all their worlds tumbling down.

Both books are published by Accent Press and are available as paperbacks and ebooks.