Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Woman in the Mirror Rebecca James

I'm delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James. This is a dual time novel with two heroines; past and present, and both strands of the story are equally compelling and intriguing. Alice Miller is a governess in 1947 who hopes to heal the wounds of her past with a job at Winterbourne on the isolated Cornish coast. While in the present day, Rachel a New York gallery owner with questions about her past receives a letter telling her she has inherited Winterbourne from an aunt she never knew. There are definite shades of Daphne du Maurier here and the story plays brilliantly and successfully on the tropes of the Gothic novel. There is the isolated house with the ghostly, howling wind, the brooding father damaged by war and the mysterious twins, who say strange things and sleepwalk. I was very excited when I heard about this book as it seemed to be just the kind of book I love; ghostly, mysterious, tragic and full of tangled webs which the modern heroine Rachel must unravel to understand her family and the legacy she has inherited and I was not at all disappointed. I flew through the pages desperate to know more and anxious for a happy outcome for the characters I was rooting for while all the time intrigued by the idea that the family had been cursed and wondering why? I read this in a day and I would highly recommend it to fans of Tracy Rees, Lucinda Riley, Daphne du Maurier or Kate Morton.

You can follow the blog tour over the next few days and check out some other great book blogs, details below.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan

The cover, the description and the title of this book made it an instant must have for me. I added it to my wish list as soon as I heard about it. I went to the bookshop looking for it on publication day. I spotted it on the shelf, bought it and started reading it straight away. The book features five heroines; mothers and daughters of the OrchiĆ©re family. They are Roma and hereditary witches who flee persecution in early 19th century Brittany and find refuge firstly in Cornwall and later in Wales and England. Full of wonderful storytelling and compelling characters; both good and bad, the book details the women's fight to preserve their magical power, hand down their craft and traditions to each subsequent generation, avoid detection and keep their secrets. From the humble farm they restore in Cornwall to Buckingham Palace this is a sweeping saga of strong women and the changing world around them. I raced through the pages desperate to know what was coming next. If you loved Practical Magic or Ami Mckay's The Witches of New York then this is for you. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

A Baby's Bones by Rebecca Alexander

Blog Tour

A Baby's Bones is the brand new novel from Rebecca Alexander author of the Jackdaw Hammond trilogy of supernatural adventures. While A Baby's Bones is slightly different in style, it has the hallmarks of Rebecca's previous books; well rounded characters, a compelling plot and more than a hint of the dark and thrilling. A Baby's Bones is a dual time narrative featuring stories in the present day and in the sixteenth century, with The Isle of Wight as the setting for both. Archaeologist Sage Westfield is working on a sixteenth century well in the garden of a private residence when she discovers the bones of a newborn baby. The sixteenth century story details the daily lives of the Banstock family; purchases and sales, births, marriages and deaths, carefully building a picture of a community at peace and then in crisis.  The book blends crime procedural with historical mystery, who done it with why done it and adds a sprinkling of witchcraft, folklore and the supernatural. Rebecca Alexander's gift for period detail shines through as does her passion for history. While the drama and suspense will make you turn the pages, it's the careful character details that will hold you there and the supernatural elements will send a shiver up your spine, even if you take this to the beach to read. The character of Sage is fascinating and I'm delighted to discover that this is the first of a series. I look forward to reading much more about Sage and her extended family and friends. This book is a must read for fans of Elly Griffiths and James Oswald. Thanks so much to Titan books for asking me to be involved in this blog tour. Check the banner above for further info. A Baby's Bones is out in paperback now. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Shipyard Girls in Love Blog Tour

I'm delighted to have a Q&A today with the fantastic Nancy Revell author of the wonderful Shipyard Girls series of historical novels which tell the story of just a handful of the many tough and resilient women who worked at Sunderland Shipyards during The Second world War. This month sees the release of the fourth in the series Shipyard Girls in Love. The latest instalment is set in 1941 and sees Gloria face her violent former husband while trying to hide the secret of her baby's true parentage. For Rosie the respite in air raids means a chance to fall in love. Fans of the series will be delighted to hear that there are more books on the way.

Q1.    What's the one piece of essential writing advice you would give to an author who wants to write historical fiction?

I’d say to really research the period you’ve chosen to write about, but equally so, don’t get so immersed in the research that you forget the fiction. It’s so easy to become engrossed in exploring the past and lose sight of your main objective which, of course, is to write a good story. It can be a tenuous balance!

Q2.      What draws you to writing about the hard working women of the North East?

When I started throwing around ideas for a new saga series and found out that there were women who worked in the Sunderland shipyards during WW2 (and WW1), I couldn’t believe I had not heard about them before. I was even more incredulous that not many other people had heard about them either. In fact, they seemed to have been totally overlooked. There had been next to nothing written about them. I felt passionate about shining a spotlight on these incredible women, who were spending up to twelve hours a day doing backbreaking and dangerous work. Many of them then went home to cook, clean and bring up their families and most of them had loved ones on the front line. I’m very proud to say that plans have been put in place for a statue to be made which pays tribute to this amazing and inspirational women.

 Q3.      Do you think you will write about other women during WW2? As this period is full of amazing stories or do you have other ideas tucked away for after this series?

At the minute I’m more than happy concentrating on my women welders. I feel the story has really just got going and there is so much more to come. The more research I do, the more ideas I have – but, it’s mainly ideas for The Shipyard Girls series. When I write, my focus has to be one hundred percent on what I am doing, and for the foreseeable future that focus is The Shipyard Girls. But you’re right, this period is full of so many amazing true life stories – especially about the women who were not just keeping the home fires burning – but doing just about everything else as well!

Thank you, Lisa, for having me on your blog.

If you enjoyed Ambulance Girls by Deborah Burrows or Milly Adams Sisters at War then you will love Nancy Revell's brilliant books. 

You can find out more about the Shipyard Girls Series at the Penguin Random House website HERE

The blog tour continues all this week, details below

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Madwoman in the Attic #9 Anne Fuller

Very little is known about Anne Fuller, there is scant evidence of her life and her work is these days obscure and long since out of print. She hailed from Kerry and died in Cork in 1790. She is important however, as she was one of the first women to work in the Gothic tradition and one the first writers of historical fiction. Her work was dismissed by many early twentieth century critics; as was a lot of women's writing. However more recent critical texts which examine the Gothic tradition such as The Emergence of Irish Gothic Fiction by Jarlath Kileen of Trinity College Dublin and The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the Gothic have included her as an important part of the early Irish Gothic tradition along with Regina Maria Roche, Ann Burke and Sydney Owenson. She is being restored to her place in the canon of Irish Literature by the rise in studies of both Gothic fiction writers and of women writers of the 18th Century in general. The acclaimed scholar Ellen Moody in particular sees The Convent or, The History of Sophia Nelson (1786) as a precursor to Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. 
For further information on the connections between Fuller's work and that of her contemporaries, the following essay is particularly useful. Ellen Moody

Monday, February 26, 2018

Kin by Snorri Kristjansson

Kin is the first book in the Helga Finnsdottir series. It marks a new departure for the author who is already established in the fantasy genre having penned the epic Valhalla Saga. Kin will undoubtedly thrill Kristjansson's established fan base but also earn him a legion of new fans as the book melds Viking historical fiction with scandi-noir to create a stunning mystery. As Unnther Reginsson prepares to welcome back his grown up children, his adopted daughter is keen to finally meet them all. But as family tensions simmer it's up to Helga to investigate when it seems there is a killer in their midst. This book will appeal to fans of Bernard Cornwel's Last Kingdom series, fans of the Vikings TV show, fans of historical mysteries and fantasy fans. This series is set to be a huge success not least because it's leading lady is one of the smartest and funniest you will encounter.
Publishing on 8th of March, thanks a million to Olivia Mead at Jo Fletcher for a proof copy. 

In Love and War by Liz Trenow

I was delighted to be involved with the blog tour for In Love and War in January. I have read three of Liz Trenow's books now and she is definitely a writer that has earned a place on my shelf of favourites. In Love and War is set in the aftermath of the Great War and highlights the search for graves and information that many families faced after losing their loved ones. As early as 1919 there were battlefield tours which met with a mixed response. Many families felt it gave them comfort to see where their sons, brothers and husbands had fought and died while others felt it was shocking and distasteful. This novel tells the story of three women who have each lost someone and of how their lives interweave as they come to terms with those loses while visiting the battlefields of Belgium. I raced through this book in two days, becoming utterly wrapped up in the lives of these brave, strong and interesting characters. Liz Trenow is a powerful storyteller and In Love and War is a powerful book which despite the gravity of its subject is ultimately uplifting.

Available in paperback and ebook from Pan now.