Thursday 30 May 2019

BLOG TOUR: The Whisper Man - Alex North

      If you leave the door half open,     
                       you will hear the whispers spoken... 

Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a fresh start. 

But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys. Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’. 

Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home. Except that now another young boy has gone missing, stirring up rumours that the original killer was always known to have an accomplice. And then Jake begins acting strangely. 

      He says he hears a whispering at his window...

What did I think?

I usually write notes as I'm reading books but I ended up with a blank page whilst reading The Whisper Man because to write notes would have meant that I had to tear my eyes away from the page and I was completely incapable of doing so.  The prologue is a letter to Jake from his father, Tom, about what happened in a hungry fish I gulped at this tasty worm on a hook - I just had to know what happened in the innocently named town of Featherbank.

I read The Whisper Man in one day and felt rather aggrieved that I had to put it down to do such tiresome tasks as eat and use the facilities, so there was no way I was putting it down to go to sleep.  Everything is completely perfect about this book; the storyline, the characters, the setting and the pacing.  I was as scared as I was intrigued and I knew it was a good book when I experienced my Cinderella emotion of not wanting it to finish yet simultaneously needing to find out what happens at the end.

Jake completely stole my heart in this book; he is grieving for his mother, Rebecca, and has imaginary friends which help him to cope.  Tom, as a single father is naturally disturbed by this, especially when he hears one of the imaginary friends talk back.  The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end several times whilst reading this book; it's scarily creepy in addition to being a disturbing story about missing children over several years.  As the layers are peeled away we eventually unearth the rotten black heart of Featherbank, so put on your speed reading glasses to find out the truth!

I was pretty creeped out a lot of the time at the whispering at the windows and I totally blame sneaking a peek at Salem's Lot on TV when I was an impressionable 4 year old.  I still can't sleep with a crack in the curtains so the thought of a monster at the window literally covered me in goosebumps every time it was mentioned.  It's giving me goosebumps just thinking about something at the window and even though the special effects of the 70's are pretty non-existent I'm actually creeping myself out with the below image.

A lot of books these days are cleverly marketed and labelled 'the best', 'the biggest', 'the most disturbing' or 'the most gripping' but in the case of The Whisper Man you can definitely BELIEVE THE HYPE!  This book is AMAZING!  It is the most chilling, disturbing and scarily creepy crime novel I have ever read.  If you only read one book this year, make it The Whisper Man - you won't regret reading it but you'll definitely regret missing it.

I'm not in the least surprised to learn that The Whisper Man has been snapped up by Hollywood and I can't wait to see it on the big screen, even though it might creep me out more than Salem's Lot did 40 years earlier.  Bring on the creepfest!

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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Wednesday 29 May 2019

BLOG BLITZ: Not Having It All - Jennie Ensor

Neuroscientist Bea Hudson fears she is a bad mother and that her career will be thwarted by family life. When her husband suspects Bea of having an affair with her best friend, a chain of events is triggered, leading to a crisis in Bea’s life.

Bea Hudson, a neuropsychologist living in Godalming, is struggling to cope with the challenging behaviour of her obsessive husband Kurt and their disruptive four-year-old daughter Fran. On top of this, her boss is pressuring her to get results from her research. Bea has her work cut out.

Things come to a head when Kurt goes away on an extended business assignment. While sacking staff and drinking heavily, Kurt’s insecurities run amok and he becomes convinced that Bea’s close friend Madeleine is seducing his wife and unduly influencing his daughter.

Meanwhile, childless artist Madeleine sees her friend torn between the demands of work and offers to help with Fran. But when she reveals a startling desire to her unsympathetic therapist Mr Rowley, he advises her to focus on the attention of Colin, a man she met in a lift.

Can Bea survive the demands of her career and the turmoil in her marriage without having a breakdown? Can Madeleine survive Kurt’s anger and find happiness with Colin? And can love survive marriage, middle-age, alcohol and ambition?

Not Having It All is about a scientist torn between her stalling career and the demands of her family. With themes of trust, deception and obsession, it is a mercilessly playful take on modern friendships, relationships and family life.

What did I think?

I have been a fan of Jennie Ensor's books since I read her stunning debut, Blind Side, so I was very excited to read Not Having It All.  This is very different to Jennie Ensor's other books but it really shows the depth of talent that Jennie has.

The format of the book is very unusual comprised of emails, letters, journal entries and texts, but the variety really held my interest.  It rather feels as if you are spying on the characters as you become privy to their innermost thoughts and fears.  This all helps to create well rounded characters that I really felt as if I got to know over the course of the book.  

There is a lot of humour woven into the pages of Not Having It All; I frequently laughed out loud, mainly at Katie's journal as she looked after four year old Fran, aka Little Fiend.  I also found Kurt's escalating paranoia totally hilarious as his imagination ran wild and he took completely over the top steps to keep an eye on things at home while he worked away.

Although Bea is the main character, she has a stunning supporting cast in addition to those I've already mentioned.  There's Bea's friend, Maddie who is mad by name and mad by nature, Maddie's new man Colin, who is sick of denying pet insurance claims as well as Maddie's therapist, Nigel, who seems to get some reverse therapy from Maddie and Bea & Kurt's next-door neighbour, Adrian, who Kurt enlists for operation Get Rid of Madeleine.

There is so much going on that you can't help but race through the book; Not Having It All is highly entertaining and completely action packed.  It is literally laugh out loud hilarious at times and I read most of the book with a smile on my face; a fabulous bit of feel-good fiction from Jennie Ensor.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Jennie Ensor lives in London and has Irish roots. During a long trip overseas she obtained a Masters in Journalism and began her writing career as a journalist, covering topics from forced marriages to accidents in the mining industry. Her debut novel BLIND SIDE was published by Unbound in 2016. In January 2018 her short story ‘The Gift’ was placed in the Top 40 of the Words and Women national prose competition. Her poetry has appeared in many UK and overseas publications, most recently Ink Sweat and Tears. She sings in a chamber choir.

Author website & blog:
Twitter: @jennie_ensor 
Blind Side on Amazon

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Tuesday 21 May 2019

BLOG TOUR: The Lost Letters of William Woolf - Helen Cullen

Inside East London's Dead Letters Depot, William Woolf unites lost mail with its intended recipient. White mice, a miniature grandfather clock and a full suit of armour are among the more unusual items lost then found thanks to William's detective work. But when he discovers a series of letters addressed only to 'My Great Love', everything changes.

Written by Winter to a soulmate she hasn't yet met, her heartfelt words stir William in ways he has long forgotten. Could they be destined for him? But what about his troubled marriage? Following the clues in Winter’s letters is the only way for William to solve the mystery of his own heart. 

What did I think?

There is something so very magical about receiving letters through the mail, an event that happens far too infrequently in this day and age of email and text messaging, but cast your mind back 30 years into the era of The Lost Letters of William Woolf and experience the magic of handwritten letters. 

I was vaguely aware of the UK having a 'dead letter office'; a place were undelivered mail is attempted to be passed to the intended recipient or returned to the original sender.  It's actually really fascinating when you google this and I was astounded to read about a postcard sent to Aberdeen, Scotland from Queensland, Australia in 1889 but was delivered more than a century later in 2001.  You can read the fascinating story here but I must get back to what I thought about the book.

I rather liked the character of William Woolf; he seems pretty comfortable in his own skin and likes the comfort of cardigans, despite it making him appear older than his years.  William is an aspiring writing and takes a job in the Dead Letter Depot until his inspiration to write returns but it is clear that William loves his job of reuniting mail with its rightful owners and his book remains unwritten, something that he has kept hidden from his wife, Clare.  This isn't the only clue that the marriage is in difficulty though; after several years of marriage, William and Clare have gotten out of sync and both are wondering if their marriage is worth saving.

It's no surprise that William latches on to letters from Winter, addressed to 'My Great Love', when he is feeling so lost.  Feeling that connection to somebody doesn't come along that often so William is determined to track down Winter but, as time goes on, it is more a case of revealing himself as her great love than reuniting her with her lost mail.  William has to choose between his tangible wife Clare and his imaginary idea of Winter; it sounds like a no-brainer but William Woolf's life is a lot more complicated than that.

Ultimately, this is a story of a marriage in difficulty but Helen Cullen injects a bit of magic and warmth into the story by setting part of it in the Dead Letter Depot.  Some of the stories of items passing William's desk were very moving and one in particular actually brought a lump to my throat.  It gave the story a nice weighting as we switched from the despair of William's marriage to the joy he brings to recipients through his job.  If only he could transfer his job to his life, then everyone could live happily ever after, although this rarely happens in real life.

The Lost Letters of William Woolf is a beautifully written debut, sparkling with the natural lyricism that Irish authors are blessed with.  I suspect that people will be talking about The Lost Letters of William Woolf for a long time to come and I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for Helen Cullen's next book.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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Monday 20 May 2019

BLOG TOUR: Because of You - Hélene Fermont

How desperate are you to get the one you love?

When Hannah and Ben meet at a friend's party, he knows she's The One. But Hannah's in an intense relationship with Mark and planning to return to her native Sweden to embark on a teaching career.

Desperate to make Ben fall in love with her, rich spoilt heiress Vanessa sets in motion a devious string of events that ultimately changes the course of four people's lives indefinitely.

Hannah is the love of Ben's life, yet Vanessa will stop at nothing to claim the man she is convinced is her destiny.

Because of You is a dark, morally complex and cross-generational story of enduring love, fate and destiny.  

What did I think?

Because of You is an epic saga spanning the 1970's to the present day and crossing the continent from England to Sweden.  Hannah is such a lovely caring character that you feel yourself looking out for her as the story progresses.  I've never seen such an extent of growth in a character as I saw in Hannah; she evolved from a quiet young lady to a strong beautiful woman, in spite of all the bumps in the road on her journey.

Hannah comes to London in 1978 to study and lodges with her grandmother's friend, Ella.  It was hard for her to leave her family and Sweden behind, but she quickly makes friends with another Swedish girl, Sanna, and gains entry into her circle of friends.  As Hannah is introduced to the sparkly discos of the 1970's she catches the eye of reputed bad boy Mark.  Mark pursues Hannah and she agrees to give him a chance to prove he's not the bad boy that everyone thinks he is.  I was with Hannah's friends on this one and knew he wasn't good enough for her, but the heart wants what the heart wants.

While Hannah is still in a relationship with Mark, she meets Ben at a friend's party.  It is clear that Ben is the man for her but Hannah has such strong values that she won't consider taking anything further with Ben whilst she is seeing Mark.  Ben cannot forget Hannah and knows that they are destined to be together, and he doesn't care how long he has to wait.

As the years go by, Hannah splits up with Mark (hurrah), starts a relationship with Ben (hurrah) and goes back to Sweden to work as a teacher.  She is loved by the children and her colleagues, in fact loved a little bit too much by one of them.  Linus is a creepy colleague who is completely infatuated with Hannah.  She thinks she can handle him by telling him she's not interested but he doesn't seem able to take 'no' for an answer.  Linus is insanely jealous of Hannah's relationship with Ben and the threat of just how unhinged he is seemed to hang over the story like the Sword of Damocles.  Linus isn't the only one threatening the happiness of Ben and Hannah. Rich-bitch Vanessa has her eye on Ben and will do anything to get her claws into him, even resorting to joining forces with Mark in an elaborate scheme to break them up.  Oh it's all going to end in tears, but for whom?

My heart was breaking on several occasions as Hannah always thinks of other people before herself.  She deserves to be happy but she puts her happiness at the bottom of the list and puts other people before herself, even doing what she thinks is best for them rather than what they actually want.  There is so much going on in Hannah's life that some part of it with resonate with every single reader.  It is written so warmly that I almost felt as if I was part of the family, eating Zipporah's apple cake or celebrating Zadie and Walther's wedding anniversary with a glass of fizz.

A beautiful epic story of life, love and destiny, Because of You captured my heart and captivated me from start to finish.  It is so true to life with so many ups and downs but the strong sense of family was a shining beacon of hope throughout.  One thing I will say about the characters in this book, they sure do have big babies!  Two babies are born in the book, both weighing one stone with not a raised eyebrow in sight.  It was enough to make my eyes water!

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.  

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Born into a bilingual family (Swedish/ English) Hélene Fermont enjoyed an idylic childhood on the outskirts of Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city and major cultural hub. Growing up in the 1970s she had a brief musical career on Swedish TV and radio. Hélene lived in London for over 20 years but has recently returned to Sweden. Hélene is a former teacher, a practising psychologist, and currently the author of three novels, all of which are psychological suspense with a nordic noir flavour. Her fourth novel is coming soon!

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Saturday 18 May 2019

BLOG TOUR: Never Be Broken (D.I. Marnie Rome 6) - Sarah Hilary

Children are dying on London's streets. Frankie Reece, stabbed through the heart, outside a corner shop. Others recruited from care homes, picked up and exploited; passed like gifts between gangs. They are London's lost. 

Then Raphaela Belsham is killed. She's thirteen years old, her father is a man of influence, from a smart part of town. And she's white. Suddenly, the establishment is taking notice.

DS Noah Jake is determined to handle Raphaela's case and Frankie's too. But he's facing his own turmoil, and it's becoming an obsession. DI Marnie Rome is worried, and she needs Noah on side. Because more children are disappearing, more are being killed by the day and the swelling tide of violence needs to be stemmed before it's too late.

NEVER BE BROKEN is a stunning, intelligent and gripping novel which explores how the act of witness alters us, and reveals what lies beneath the veneer of a glittering city.

What did I think?

I jumped into the DI Marnie Rome series at book 5 (Come and Find Me) and although I planned to read the earlier books to fill in a bit more the backstory, my TBR pile had other ideas and I haven't managed to read them yet.  Sarah Hilary very kindly allows for readers picking up her books mid-series as she gives enough information about the characters so you don't feel disadvantaged by not having read the whole series.

Never Be Broken is so scarily realistic that it gave me goosebumps whilst reading it and again now when I'm just thinking about the story.  It seems like not a day goes by when there isn't a stabbing or shooting on the news, particularly in London.  Building a story around these horrific crimes really highlighted the effect that such devastating events have on the affected families and community.

DI Marnie Rome is such a strong established character that Sarah Hilary is confident enough to let Marnie take more of a back seat in Never Be Broken as DS Noah Jake's story comes to the fore.  Both detectives have heartbreaking backstories but putting the spotlight on Noah kept me absolutely riveted.  I mean there's a gripping, gritty and devastating story going on already so adding this extra layer of bringing the characters to life ensured that I remained glued to the page.  

I don't know whether Sarah Hilary intended it, but I did pick up a South Park reference which made me smile.  My standard answer to 'how are you?' is always 'I'm super, thanks for asking' so it did make me chuckle when Noah said the same thing.  There's also a reference to Brexit which makes it a very current and realistic story as you'd have to live under a rock to avoid hearing or seeing something about Brexit these days.  I'm not a fan of politics at all but I was rather surprised that one of the characters mentioned that there is a 'right way' to vote.  I thought putting an X in the box of your choice was the right way; I do hope I haven't been voting the wrong way all of these years!  It's always good to have different opinions, so I do love little things like this in books that become discussion points with family and friends when you inevitably turn the conversation around to books you've read.

Never Be Broken is an excellent addition to the DI Marnie Rome series; it's so true to life that it is difficult to read at times but there's no hiding behind the sofa in real life so it's nigh on impossible to remove your eyes from the pages of this disturbing but scarily realistic and compelling book.  I'm looking forward to many more books in this amazing series; if you love crime, you'll love DI Marnie Rome.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Hive to support your local indie bookshop

About the author:

Sarah Hilary’s debut, Someone Else’s Skin, won Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2015 and was a World Book Night selection for 2016.  The Observer’s Book of the Month (‘superbly disturbing’) and a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, it has been published worldwide. No Other Darkness, the second in the series was shortlisted for a Barry Award in the US.  Her DI Marnie Rome series continued with Tastes Like Fear, Quieter Than Killing and Come And Find Me. 

Follow her on twitter @sarah_hilary.  

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Friday 17 May 2019

BLOG TOUR: Dark Sacred Night - Michael Connelly


Daisy Clayton's killer was never caught. In over ten years, there has been no breakthrough in her murder case.

Detective Renée Ballard has faced everything the LAPD's notorious dusk-till-dawn graveyard shift has thrown at her. But, until tonight, she'd never met Harry Bosch - an ex-homicide detective consumed by this case.
Soon, she too will become obsessed by the murder of Daisy Clayton.
Because Ballard and Bosch both know: every murder tells a story. And Daisy's case file reads like the first chapter in an untold tragedy that is still being written - one that could end with Ballard herself, if she cannot bring the truth to light...

What did I think?

I love the Harry Bosch novels, although I'm way behind in the series, but that didn't stop me getting super excited to get my hands on an advance copy of Dark Sacred Night, Harry Bosch book 21.  Yes number 21!!!  Far from feeling daunted that I have so much catching up to do, reading Dark Sacred Night has reawakened my desire, or rather need, to read more Bosch!

This is actually the first Bosch book that I've read since watching, and getting hooked by, the tv show starring perfectly cast Titus Welliver as Harry Bosch.  I think because of the show, I could visualise the scenery and characters much easier and so I found myself racing through the book at a rapid rate of knots.  There are a lot of characters in Dark Sacred Night but strangely I didn't feel overwhelmed by them; I think I was so engrossed in the story that I didn't have time to dwell on who was who.

This is the second book starring Detective Renée Ballard (the first being The Late Show) but it's the first book where she encounters Harry Bosch.  When they first meet, I really felt as if Harry had met his match this time as nothing gets past Ballard; she is as sharp as a tack.  I think once she's made up her mind, it's hard to change it but in this case her initial suspicion of Bosch eventually changes into trust and respect.  I think Bosch may have met a kindred spirit in Ballard, although one that is only prepared to bend the rules not break them, so working with Ballard might keep Bosch out of trouble for once!  Trouble seems to follow Bosch around so I'll believe that when I see it, of course!  I'm really looking forward to see what Michael Connelly has in store next for this new pairing of Ballard and Bosch.

As for the story in the book; it's Michael Connelly so it's high-octane crime writing at its very best - that's all you need to know before you rush out and buy the book, which I highly recommend you do.  Dark Sacred Night is fast-paced, thrilling, compelling and totally faultless; everyone needs to read more Bosch!

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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Wednesday 15 May 2019

BLOG TOUR: The Art of Sherlock Holmes - Phil Growick

The Art of Sherlock Holmes sounded like such an interesting book that I was thrilled to hear that I had secured a spot on the blog tour.  You can read a bit about the book followed by my review below, but first many thanks to Caroline at Bits About Books for inviting me to take part in the tour.

The Art of Sherlock Holmes is a totally unique experience. Imagine a dozen or more of the finest artists in the U.S. creating art for some the best new short stories written by some of the finest Holmes authors in the world. Each artist has envisioned their version of one story specifically selected for them. All stories and art in one large, hardcover, coffee table presentation volume. This first edition features artists from West Palm Beach, Florida. Future editions will be global, with participating artists contributing from all over the world. The Art of Sherlock Holmes was conceived and curated by Phil Growick, himself a renowned Holmes author.

What did I think?

I'm not usually a fan of short stories but these stories were so easy to read that I actually had to check a few times that the stories in this book were written by different authors.  I've only read a few Sherlock Holmes books in my youth but I wouldn't have been surprised to find that these stories were actually written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; the authors are all clearly massive fans of Sherlock Holmes to be able to bring the world's greatest detective back to life for fans new and old.

At the beginning of each story there is a piece of artwork inspired by the story that follows it and although I have absolutely no idea about art, I found myself looking forward to seeing the different styles and interpretations in each piece.  Even better and absolutely perfect for Sherlock Holmes stories is that some pieces of art have little puzzles hidden within them.  I wish I could have spent more time solving the puzzles but it's definitely a good excuse for me to pick it up and read the book again.

I absolutely loved the little biographies of the author and artist that preceded each story.  For a total art ignoramus like me, this really piqued my interest and made me look at the art for far longer than I would usually be inclined to do.

Whilst I couldn't pick a favourite story among all the fabulous tales in the book, I have to give particular mention to The Stolen Relic by David Marcum.  This story stands out for me because it raised my eyebrows in surprise as I read the origins of hanging stockings on the fireplace at Christmas and of how Scotland adopted St Andrew's Saltire Cross.  I love books that send me running off to check things on google and teach me things that I didn't know

The Art of Sherlock Holmes is a very unusual book to review, mainly because seeing the art on kindle doesn't have the same effect as it would in a beautiful hardback coffee table book, which is the medium that would do it the most justice.  It is an absolute must-read for fans of Sherlock Holmes, but for kindle loving Holmes fans it is well worth upgrading to the physical copy of the book to fully experience The Art of Sherlock Holmes.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the curator and publisher:
Phil Growick
The project was conceived by and is curated by Phil Growick. Phil ran one of the world’s leading executive search firms in the advertising industry. Phil’s network in the creative world is unparalleled which is perfect for artist acquisition. Now living in West Palm, Phil is heavily involved in the local art community and as a two-time Sherlock Holmes novelist came up with the concept of combining two of his passions – art and Holmes.

"You’re presented with murder, theft, treason, betrayal, love, loss and greed. All the ingredients to make a delicious Holmes meal of mystery: inimitable interpretations of truly unique Holmes stories."

You can find Phil Growick here:

MX Publishing MX is the world’s largest Sherlock Holmes publisher. The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories is the world’s largest new Sherlock stories collection with twelve bestselling volumes in the last four years – with three more volumes due in May 2019. Over 100 authors have taken part in the anthology including NY Times best sellers Lee Child, Jonathan Kellerman, Lyndsay Faye and Bonnie MacBird.

The collection raises money for the Stepping Stones School ( a school for children with learning disabilities) at Undershaw, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s former home which carries the Estate’s Conan Doyle Seal. The collection has overwhelming support from leading Sherlockians worldwide. MX are in a perfect position to bring the best in Holmes fiction and the Sherlock fan base to the project.

MX’ other project is the Happy Life Children’s Home in Nairobi, Kenya. Twinned with Stepping Stones, Happy Life has saved the lives of over 600 abandoned babies in the last two decades. The project has expanded to include a school and paediatric hospital.

MX Publishing on Social Media:
Instagram – The Art of Sherlock Holmes:

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Friday 10 May 2019

BLOG TOUR: De Bohun's Destiny (The Meonbridge Chronicles Book 3) - Carolyn Hughes

I love historical fiction, especially when it is written with such spirit and vivacity as Carolyn Hughes' Meonbridge Chronicles.  De Bohun's Destiny is the third book in the series and, although it could be read as a standalone, please do read the whole series to experience the 14th Century through Carolyn Hughes' stunning wordsmithery (if that's even a word).  For the blog tour, I'm releasing my review but there's also a fabulous giveaway to win a £15/$15/€15 Amazon gift voucher to spend on books (or heaven forbid, something else) of your choice - scroll down to enter!

How can you uphold a lie when you know it might destroy your family?
It is 1356, seven years since the Black Death ravaged Meonbridge, turning society upside down. Margaret, Lady de Bohun, is horrified when her husband lies about their grandson Dickon’s entitlement to inherit Meonbridge. She knows that Richard lied for the very best of reasons – to safeguard his family and its future – but lying is a sin. Yet she has no option but to maintain her husband’s falsehood... 
Margaret’s companion, Matilda Fletcher, decides that the truth about young Dickon’s birth really must be told, if only to Thorkell Boune, the man she’s set her heart on winning. But Matilda’s “honesty” serves only her own interests, and she’s oblivious to the potential for disaster.
For Thorkell won’t scruple to pursue exactly what he wants, by whatever means are necessary, no matter who or what gets in his way…

What did I think?

Carolyn Hughes writes outstanding historical fiction and I enjoyed reading every single word of De Bohun's Destiny, her latest novel in The Meonbridge Chronices.  The 14th Century has never been brought to life so vividly in literature and I urge all readers of historical fiction to pick up this series and be as hooked on Meonbridge as I am.

There are some very strong female characters in the Meonbridge Chronicles but I really noticed their impact and strength in De Bohun's Destiny.  With Meonbridge still recovering from the Black Death, whole families have been wiped out and women have been left without husbands.  Following Sir Philip's untimely death and that of his unborn child, the De Bohun legacy is at stake leaving his parents without an heir.  Their daughter, Johanna, has entered a convent and renounced her inheritance, leaving only Dickon, the illegitimate son of Philip de Bohun and Agnes atte Wode with De Bohun blood running through his veins.  As with any inheritance, there is always someone hidden in the wings to contest it and Sir Richard De Bohun's cousin, Morys Boune, is just the man to do that; or at least his wicked and greedy younger son, Thorkell, is.

Thorkell Boune is definitely the villain of the piece as he woos Matilda Fletcher in order to obtain information about Sir Richard and Dickon.  Despite the charity shown to her by Lady Margaret de Bohun, Matilda has dreams of becoming lady of Meonbridge and Thorkell exploits her weakness and propensity to gossip.  It would be easy to dislike Matilda but I found her quite amusing as she just didn't think things through properly and couldn't see the potential effect of her actions.  

Although it's historical fiction, De Bohun's Destiny reads like a thriller filled with backstabbing, murder, secrets and lies.  Historical fiction is renowned for being slightly dry and I tend to read it a lot slower than other genres but not this one!  I whizzed through it as I was completely riveted and found it fast-paced and thrilling.  Carolyn Hughes is such a talented writer to take dry and dusty history and make it vivid and exciting.

I also have to give a shout out to the cast of characters at the start of the book and also to the manageable number of characters introduced in the book.  Sometimes it's overwhelming when too many characters appear but Carolyn Hughes balances her cast perfectly.  I've read the previous books so I know who a lot of the characters are, but the cast of characters is invaluable to any new readers picking up a book mid-series, which you certainly could do with De Bohun's Destiny, but the first two books are fantastic so you should definitely read them all.

With her stunning evocative writing it feels like Carolyn Hughes has opened a time-portal into the 14th Century, so jump right it and enjoy your visit; I certainly did.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon UK
Buy it from Amazon US

About the author:
CAROLYN HUGHES was born in London, but has lived most of her life in Hampshire. After completing a degree in Classics and English, she started her working life as a computer programmer, in those days a very new profession. But it was when she discovered technical authoring that she knew she had found her vocation. She spent the next few decades writing and editing all sorts of material, some fascinating, some dull, for a wide variety of clients, including an international hotel group, medical instrument manufacturers and the government.

She has written creatively for most of her adult life, but it was not until her children grew up and flew the nest several years ago that writing historical fiction took centre stage in her life. She has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Portsmouth University and a PhD from the University of Southampton.

De Bohun’s Destiny is the third novel in the MEONBRIDGE CHRONICLES series. A fourth novel is under way.

You can connect with Carolyn through her website and social media:

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Giveaway to Win a $15 / £15 / €15 Amazon Gift Card (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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