Thursday 30 July 2020

BLOG TOUR: All the Lonely People - Mike Gayle

Hubert Bird is not alone in being alone.
He just needs to realise it.

In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship and fulfilment.

But Hubert Bird is lying.

The truth is day after day drags by without him seeing a single soul.

Until, that is, he receives some good news - good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on.

Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out.

Along the way Hubert stumbles across a second chance at love, renews a cherished friendship and finds himself roped into an audacious community scheme that seeks to end loneliness once and for all . . .

Life is certainly beginning to happen to Hubert Bird. But with the origin of his earlier isolation always lurking in the shadows will he ever get to live the life he's pretended to have for so long?

From bestselling author Mike Gayle, All the Lonely People is by turns a funny and moving meditation on love, race, old age and friendship that will not only charm and uplift, but also remind you of the power of ordinary people to make an extraordinary difference.

What did I think?

What a lovely story; anyone who doesn't love Hubert Bird must have a heart of stone.  Although I experienced a range of emotions whilst reading All the Lonely People, I read most of it with a smile on my face.  Hubert is a fantastic character and he really doesn't know how special he is; he truly is one in a million.

With his daughter in Australia and his son who knows where, widower Hubert thinks he's quite content being alone.  All he wants is a quiet life with his adopted cat but to stop his daughter Rose from worrying about him he pretends to attend an over 60's group at the local community centre.  Every week when she calls home, Hubert regales Rose with stories of his new found (imaginary) friends when all the time he has never left the house.  It started out as just a little lie with the best intentions but when Rose calls to say she is coming home, Hubert has to find some real friends pretty sharpish.

As we follow Hubert's attempts to make friends, we are also given flashbacks to the 1950's when he was a young man starting a new life in England, leaving his friends and family back home in Jamaica.  The racism is blatant in the 1950's and 60's and it's so sad to read what people had to put up with simply because of the colour of their skin.  On the positive side, it's heartening to see how far we've come in a relatively short space of time, although there's still a long way to go yet.

I loved the community spirit in the book and the knowledge that friends can be any age, colour or sex.  Hubert meeting his new neighbour, young single mother Ashleigh, is the catalyst that starts a chain reaction which ensures that Hubert's life will never be the same again.  As the pair become friends they embark on a campaign to end loneliness in the town of Bromley, but as their fame grows Hubert worries that the lies he has told Rose will be exposed before he has the chance to explain to her face to face.

I laughed and cried, I was shocked and surprised but I loved every minute of All the Lonely People.  It's beautifully heartwarming and exudes charm from every page.  Completely captivating, All the Lonely People is a very special book and one I won't forget in a hurry.  I cannot recommended it highly enough.

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 July 2020

Dead Rock Stars - Guy Mankowski

‘The first page of my sister’s diary was a picture of Frances Farmer, facing a drawing of Ophelia. My sister’s psychic accomplices were all tragic figures…’

Emma Imrie was a Plath-obsessed, self-taught teenage musician dreaming of fame, from a remote village on the Isle of Wight. She found it too, briefly becoming a star of the nineties Camden music scene. But then she died in mysterious circumstances.

In the aftermath of Emma’s death, her younger brother, Jeff, is forced by their parents to stay at the opulent home of childhood friends on the island.

During a wild summer of beach parties and music, Jeff faces up to the challenges that come with young love, youthful ambition and unresolved grief. His sister's prodigious advice from beyond the grave becomes the only weapon he has against an indifferent world.

As well as the only place where the answers he craves might exist…

What did I think?

Dead Rock Stars is something quite different from what I would usually read and that's what makes it so unique and completely brilliant.  Through the voice of Emma Imrie, Guy Mankowski transports the reader from banal family life in the Isle of Wight to the drug-fuelled music scene in Camden, leaving us unsure as to which one actually did the most damage.  Emma releases her pain through her music and her band has just been discovered when her life is tragically cut short.

Jeff has been sheltered from the truth about his sister's death but he can't make sense of losing her at such a young age.  When Jeff finds Emma's diary he finds a way to be closer to her and also to find out what really happened in the lead up to her death.  Why didn't he just ask his parents, you ask?  Well that's because this is one messed up dysfunctional family and they'd probably lie to him without giving it a second thought.

Reading Emma's diary felt terribly voyeuristic; there was so much pain and brutal honesty contained in it that I felt guilty for reading it, yet simultaneously couldn't tear my eyes away from the page as I approached the inevitable conclusion.  Through the sheer talent of Guy Mankowski's writing, Emma's voice is so clear and distinct from that of Jeff that it really feels as if her diary is real.  

I loved the character of Jeff; I wanted to wrap him up in cotton wool as it seemed like he was growing up too fast but sometimes protecting someone is doing them more harm than good.  When left to his own devices, Jeff reminded me of a polaroid photograph as I saw him develop before my eyes.  He just needed to know the truth in order to move on and I think that's a valuable lesson to be learned.

Brutally honest and devastatingly moving, Dead Rock Stars is an emotional and highly original read.  I feel like I have had a glimpse behind the music industry's shiny golden curtain and found a sheer drop into darkness, depravity and despair.  An outstanding read and highly recommended.    
I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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Tuesday 28 July 2020

A Hundred Million Years and a Day - Jean-Baptiste Andrea

Stan has been hunting for fossils since the age of six. Now, in the summer of 1954, he hears a story he cannot forget: the skeleton of a huge creature – a veritable dragon – lies deep in an Alpine glacier. And he is determined to find it.

But Stan is no mountaineer. To complete his dangerous expedition, he must call on loyal friend Umberto, who arrives with an eccentric young assistant, and expert guide Gio. Time is short: the four men must descend before the weather turns. As bonds are forged and tested, the hazardous quest for the earth’s lost creatures becomes a journey into Stan’s own past.

A Hundred Million Years and a Day is a mesmerising story of nature, adventure and of one man's determination to follow his dream, whatever it may take. 

What did I think?

I have only recently widened my reading genres to include translated French fiction and I am so glad that I have as I am constantly discovering some new amazing authors.  A Hundred Million Years and a Day is the first book of Jean-Baptiste Andrea's to be translated into English and what an absolute cracker it is.  I wasn't even half way through when I exclaimed: 'J'adore la fiction française!' and I haven't spoken French for years!

Just putting the story to one side for a moment, Jean-Baptiste Andrea's writing is so beautiful that it conjured breathtaking pictures in my mind.  I also have to give a special mention to Sam Taylor as the wonderful translator for losing absolutely nothing in translation; the words are so stunning and flow so well that you could be forgiven for forgetting this was originally written in French.  To show you what I mean, I just have to share an excerpt that completely took my breath away:

"Who says mountains don't have feelings?  The sunrise makes them blush, after all."

On to the story itself which is haunting and mesmerising as Stan follows his dream to set off an quest to find the skeleton of a dragon buried in a glacier.  Just imagine if he can prove the legend is true!  Stan is a palaeontologist not a mountaineer, so he gathers together a small group to go up the mountain with him.  As the season changes to winter, the expedition becomes more perilous but Stan has come too far to give up now.  Just one more day of digging could be the difference between making it down from the mountain or being lost forever.

Stan may be the protagonist, but it felt like the glacier was a character in its own right; Stan is the hero dreaming of myth and legend and the glacier is the villain, patiently waiting to wreak havoc.  The landscape is described so vividly that it's so easy to picture it in your mind while you're reading and as beautiful as it sounds, the element of danger was always present.

Haunting, beautiful and completely mesmerising, A Hundred Million Years and a Day is a stunning novel and one I won't forget.  I loved it so much that I shall be returning to Stan's adventure in the future as this book is going in my bookcase to be read again.

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

Wednesday 22 July 2020

BLOG TOUR: House of Straw - Marc Scott

‘Beautifully brutal, dark and twisted’  

Traumatised by the tragic death of her twin brother, Brianna falls into a state of deep depression, isolating herself from the world and all those that care about her. When a twist of fate reveals that she has a half-sister she finds a new purpose in her life and sets out to find her sibling, desperately hoping she can fill the void left in her world.

Poppy has not enjoyed the same privileged lifestyle as her sister while growing up. Abandoned into the care system at the age of eight, she has encountered both physical and sexual abuse for most of her life. Passing through the hands of more care homes and foster families than she can remember, the damaged product of a broken upbringing, Poppy has never found a place to feel truly safe. Kicking back at society, she turns to drug abuse and acts of extreme violence to escape from reality.

When the two siblings are finally united, they discover that they have much more in common than their DNA. Their paths are shrouded with sinister secrets of betrayal and regret and both girls share a deep-rooted hatred for one of their parents. As the dark truths of their lives are unveiled they realise that nothing can ever be the same again...  

What did I think?

House of Straw turned out to be a lot darker than I expected from reading the synopsis and it's always good when a book surprises you.  It's very hard-hitting from the start as we read about the death of Brianna's twin brother, Jamie, but there's much more to this story than meets the eye.

Brianna, who prefers to be known as Bree, spirals into a pit of despair after Jamie's death and she only has one friend for support.  Bree's relationship with her mother is almost non-existent and it only gets worse when she finds out that she has a half-sister, Poppy.  If I thought Bree was a damaged character, Poppy is smashed beyond repair.  

Poppy's life is a stark contrast to Bree's and it was heartbreaking to read about her past and present.  Poppy's story is so devastating that it was often hard to read the graphic details and I felt myself recoiling in horror as her abuse was described.  As much as the violence had me wincing as each blow was dealt, some of the words used in the sex scenes had me cringing.  I'm not a prude by any means but I think it's better to leave some things to the imagination.&nbsp

Although the storyline is gripping and intriguing, it took me a little while to get used to the writing style as the speech is quite stilted.  It feels a bit odd for characters who are a little rough around the edges to be speaking the Queen's English, for example using 'I am' instead of 'I'm'.  I did get used to it though, it just meant that speech didn't flow as well as it could have done.

I found it really interesting that both Poppy and Bree try to pin the blame for absolutely everything and anything on anybody but themselves; it's almost as if it's in their genes.  It's really quite startling that some people don't accept responsibility for their own actions and waste so much time blaming others that they get stuck in a rut of negativity.  I loved the thread of blame running throughout the novel; it's woven into the story brilliantly.

Shocking and hard-hitting, House of Straw is a very good first novel from Marc Scott and I'll be keeping an eye out for his new novel coming later this year.

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Marc Scott was born and bred in the heart of East London. His dark and gritty writing style has earned him much praise with readers.

He worked in the film and video industry for more than twenty years, the highlight of which was spending twelve months based in Hollywood, organising marketing campaigns for a UK film distributor.

More recently he spent several years working with young offenders as part of his role associated with the court service. It was during this time he became deeply moved by the tragic story of one young girl who was struggling to come to terms with the neglect and abuse she had suffered throughout her life. Her tragic case inspired him to write his first novel HOUSE OF STRAW.

The book has already received excellent reviews from bloggers and buyers and his second book is planned for release at the end of 2020.

His favourite book is Birdy by William Wharton, which he confesses to have read at least half a dozen times. He also enjoys the works of Kazuo Ishiguro. ‘I love authors that can find something that is extraordinary in ordinary people’ he says. ‘A reader wants to feel like a bystander all through the journey and that only happens if they can feel an emotional attachment to the main characters’.

Marc lives in Buckinghamshire and has three grown-up children George, Marissa and Amie. He says his daughters have been the main motivation behind his love of writing. ‘I always run everything past them. Their honest appraisals definitely keep me on the right track’ he says.

He is a keen sports fan and has an undying passion for Leyton Orient Football Club.

Twitter: @MARCO1918253109

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Tuesday 21 July 2020

BLOG TOUR: Intruders - E. C. Scullion

"There is a safe, in a house, inside a secure compound in South America.

Your job is to bring me the contents of that safe."

Disgraced security consultant Tom Holt accepts a job from a mysterious lawyer, on behalf of a client named Capricorn.

Holt's team comprises Anil, a safe-cracking ex-con; Ray, a disgruntled logistics man, and Becca, a fiery red-headed thief with as much attitude as she has talent for picking pockets.

On arrival in the alluring Argentine city of Buenos Aires, Holt's past swiftly catches up with him. As he begins to question the client's motives, he finds there are darker, more sinister characters who show loyalty to his employer.

Who is Capricorn?

What's inside the safe?

Tom Holt is about to discover how far he will go to expose the truth, even if it means risking everything, including his own life...

What did I think?

Intruders is an absolutely brilliant novel; it's a literary white knuckle ride that had me on the edge of my seat, holding my breath with my heart pounding and my palms sweating.  E. C. Scullion's writing is so very vivid that I felt as if I was actually in South America with Tom Holt and his team.  It's so good that I've got my fingers and toes crossed that this is the first of many Tom Holt novels.

Tom has been tasked with the impossible: break into a safe on a house in a secure compound in Uruguay and return the contents (without looking at them) to the client, mysteriously named Capricorn.  A team of three are already awaiting his arrival in Argentina: Ray a former policeman, Anil a safe breaker and Becca a light-fingered thief.  It's not Tom's first visit to Argentina though and some of the locals are not pleased to see him, which could put a spanner in the works.

The tension and excitement increases as the unlikely quartet make their plans to break into the safe.  How each part of the plan comes together is nothing short of genius and I loved how things never seemed to go to plan which not only kept Tom and his team on their toes but the reader too.  Intruders is so full of surprises that it's an eyebrow raising, jaw dropping twister of a thriller. 

Intruders is an outstanding and very accomplished debut from E. C. Scullion.  It's compelling, tense and heart poundingly thrilling and I have the sweaty palms to prove it!  This is one novel that I wouldn't be surprised to see snapped up for the big screen; Hollywood take note, you don't want to miss this one! 

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 July 2020

BLOG TOUR: Idle Hands - Cassondra Windwalker

You can call me Ella. You generally assign me a whole host of other preposterous monikers. I think the least imaginative name I’ve heard is “the devil”, but I’ll answer to it if I must. 

After making the courageous decision to leave her abusive husband, Perdie and her three young children start over and finally find the safety and love they deserve. But years later, when tragedy strikes, Perdie is left wondering if the choice she made to leave has led them to this moment. 

If she were given the opportunity to take it all back and stay, would she? 

In a frantic bid to protect her family, Perdie makes a deal to do just that. But in a world where the devil pulls the strings, can Perdie really change the past? 

Brimming with enlightened observations and brilliant voice, Idle Hands is a haunting examination of grief, resilience, and what we’d give to spend another moment with the ones we love.

What did I think?

Wow!  A million times WOW!  Idle Hands really has the WOW factor!  I actually exclaimed 'Wow!' out loud at the turning point in the book.  At 215 pages long it may be a small book but it packs a mighty punch and leaves a lasting impression, in fact I'd go so far as to say it's completely unforgettable.

Cassondra Windwalker has created an unforgettable voice in Ella, or the devil as she is more commonly known.  Ella is an observer of Perdie's life, just waiting for the moment to offer Perdie a deal she can't refuse.  Perdie has three children and an abusive husband; before she encounters Ella, she thinks the hardest decision she will ever make is whether or not to leave him.  Matt hasn't laid a hand on the children...yet.

To say any more would spoil the plot but oh my word this book is amazing!  Not only the thoughts that Ella shares with us, which are thought-provoking and eye-opening, but the sliding doors moment which is jaw-droppingly astounding.  You can't help but ask yourself what you would do in the same situation and I'm sure many of us would have done exactly the same as Perdie, especially when caught at just the right moment when your decision making is impaired.

Thought-provoking beyond measure, Idle Hands is the most unforgettable book I have ever read.  It's jaw-droppingly brilliant, completely unique and a masterclass in ingenuity.  A tour de force from Cassondra Windwalker that's not only highly recommended, but an absolute must read.

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Cassondra Windwalker grew up on plains and longed for mountains. Today she lives by the frozen sea. She earned a BA of Letters at the University of Oklahoma and pursued careers in bookselling and law enforcement before resigning her post to write full time. 

A poet, essayist, and novelist, her short-form work has appeared in numerous literary journals and art books. Her full-length books of poetry and prose are available in bookstores and online. She welcomes conversations with readers through her social media platforms and in the occasional coffee shop.

Follow Cassondra on Social Media:
Twitter: @WindwalkerWrite
Instagram: @CassondraWindwalker

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Saturday 18 July 2020

BLOG TOUR: The Storm - Amanda Jennings

Doesn't every marriage have a dark side?

To the outside world Hannah married the perfect man. Behind the closed doors of their imposing home it’s a very different story. Nathan controls everything Hannah does. He chooses her clothes, checks her receipts, and keeps her passport locked away. But why does she let him?

Years before, in the midst of a relentless storm, the tragic events of one night changed everything. And Hannah has been living with the consequences ever since. Keeping Nathan happy. Doing as she’s told.

But the past is about to catch up with them.

Set against the unforgiving backdrop of a Cornish fishing port in the ‘90s, this is a devastating exploration of the power of coercive control in a marriage where nothing is quite as it seems…

What did I think?

The Storm is a dark, disturbing and exceptional story from the fabulous wordsmith, Amanda Jennings.  Not only is there a storm in the book of the same name, but it's almost as if a storm has been written into the book itself.  The atmosphere is so charged and the tension is palpable that you really do need to brace yourself for the inevitable boom of thunder that heralds the peak of the storm.  

Something terrible happened after the storm that saw a Cornish fishing boat lucky to return to port; sometimes it's more dangerous on land than at sea.  The storm caused more destruction than it planned as it changed Hannah's life forever and drove her into the arms of Nathan.  Nathan is an repulsive man; he's handsome, successful and rich on the outside but psychotic, controlling and completely unstable underneath.  Hannah is trapped in the marriage as Nathan holds something over her that he threatens to reveal when he thinks she has stepped out of line.  Hannah succumbs to Nathan's control to protect their son, Alex, but now he is a teenager he's starting to answer back and this causes Nathan's temper to flare even more.

Oh Hannah, what have you done?  I couldn't understand her marrying Nathan after such a short space of time but it all becomes clear through the flashbacks to that fateful night in 1998.  Nathan is a bully and an abuser, hiding it all under the banner of love in his twisted little mind.  My heart really went out to Hannah who was just about to start a relationship with fisherman, Cameron Stewart before the storm blew her into the path of rich lawyer, Nathan Cardew.  It really felt like Nathan was holding Hannah underwater and only letting her up for air now and again in order to keep her alive; that's no way to live and Hannah has no life to speak of.  I don't know how she didn't poison his hotpot, is all I can say!

The Storm is a dark and brooding tale from the immensely talented wordsmith, Amanda Jennings.  It's a compelling read and so very difficult to put down that you just need to ride the waves until the storm has unleashed its fury.  An absolutely outstanding novel and highly recommended.

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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Thursday 16 July 2020

BLOG TOUR: Betray Her - Caroline England

Best friends forever.

That's the pact you made.

You'd do anything for her.

And you have.

She's always had it all.

If you could take it for yourself . . . would you?

What did I think?

Betray Her has such a chilling prologue that I actually got goosebumps when I read it.  We then read the dual timeline story of school friends Kate and Jo who met at boarding school in 1988.  Jo's accent and Kate's weight make them easy targets for the other girls to aim their verbal and physical abuse at.  This adversity makes them life-long friends and we rejoin their stories when they're both married women.

I thought all-girls day schools were bitchy but they're a walk in the park compared to an all-girls boarding school.  This is no Malory Towers, that's for sure!  It's so infuriating to read about bullying and how it can stay with you and shape your life; Jo's accent is the easiest to change but Kate's struggle with her weight is more disturbing.  Caroline England doesn't dwell too much on this and very much like the real-life struggle, it lingers in the background and tries to remain hidden.

There's quite a lot of individual and shared histories to dig through as the story builds and both their lives intertwine over the years.  Add a man to the mix and you've got a naked flame in a firework factory.  I was going to say that they both love the same man but I'm not sure that they do.  It could just be a case of wanting what the other one has and they both had him at one time or another.  The poor man!  I did feel a bit sorry for him; he's an unwitting pawn in their game and there can only be one queen left on the board.

Although for some reason (and I think maybe it was just me) I couldn't quite get into the rhythm of the book but there were so many twists and turns in the storyline that it easily held my interest.  It's quite a slow-burn as there is a lot to unearth in Jo and Kate's history, especially the disturbing event in the chilling prologue.  

Betray Her is a very intriguing story that is as much about friendship as envy, which are both often shockingly sides of the same coin; this is one green-eyed monster that has lain dormant and is about to awaken with a mighty roar.  It's dark, disturbing and positively brimming with tension and Caroline England has one or two surprises up her sleeve to keep the reader on their toes.  A really enjoyable read.

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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Tuesday 14 July 2020

BLOG TOUR: Mystery Island - Jim Ody

The Island of dark secrets lies close to Maui. Few have ventured there, fewer have returned.

With a map in hand, extreme-sports enthusiasts, Kyle and Donna, descend to the depths of the Pacific Ocean in search of treasure. Will they find it? And will they survive?

Peering eyes are everywhere, lurking and in wait, ready to take back what's theirs.

Some things are better left buried.  

What did I think?

I'll say one thing about Jim Ody's Mystery Island: I definitely didn't see THAT coming!  I think Jim Ody has included just about everything except the kitchen sink in his hugely entertaining and completely surprising new novel, Mystery Island; it's action packed, funny, scary, exciting and absolutely riveting.

It starts with a bang and, if by some miracle the reader isn't immediately hooked, it's closely followed by the existence of a treasure map.  X marks the spot in the sea surrounding the Hawaiian island of Maui and experienced divers, Kyle and Donna, can't wait to get out there to begin their treasure hunt.  With Kyle's friend Jez and his wife Cass tagging along uninvited, let the adventure begin!

The sunken treasure is a local legend so the islanders are used to treasure hunters descending on their own little part of paradise and it's clearly not something that they're happy about.  There's an air of menace behind the smiles of the islanders but Kyle and Donna are determined to dive for treasure, whatever the risk.  They may be grateful that Jez and Cass tagged along after all, although I'm not sure that Jez and Cass would agree...but I'm not saying what the twisted mind of Jim Ody has in store for them!

This is my first Jim Ody book and most certainly won't be my last.  I loved his vivid style of writing and the unexpected twists and turns that the story took.  It seems that there is no limit to Jim Ody's imagination and I love such unpredictability that constantly keeps the reader on their toes whilst enjoying a massively entertaining story.

Surprising, entertaining, compelling and completely twisted, Mystery Island is an action packed mystery thriller.  I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another Jim Ody book after reading this one and I can't wait to see where his extremely imaginative mind will take him next.

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Jim writes dark psychological/thrillers that have endings you won’t see coming, and favours stories packed with wit. He has written ten novels and well over a dozen short-stories spanning many genres.

Jim has a very strange sense of humour and is often considered a little odd.  When not writing he will be found playing the drums, watching football and eating chocolate. He lives with his long-suffering wife, three beautiful children and two indignant cats in Swindon, Wiltshire UK.

Author Links:
Jim Ody’s Spooky Circus Street Team:
Twitter: @Jim_Ody_Author
Instagram: @jimodyauthor

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Sunday 12 July 2020

BLOG TOUR: The Day She Came Back - Amanda Prowse

From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes a story that asks: how do you forgive the family that lied to you, and love the mum you never had?

When her loving, free-spirited grandmother Primrose passes away, Victoria is bereft, yet resilient—she has survived tragedy before. But even her strength is tested when a mysterious woman attends Prim’s funeral and claims to be the mother Victoria thought was dead.

As the two women get to know each other and Victoria begins to learn more about her past, it becomes clear that her beloved grandmother had been keeping life-changing secrets from her. Desperate for answers, she still struggles to trust anyone to tell her the truth.

To live a full and happy life, Victoria knows she must not only uncover the truth, but find a way to forgive her family. But after so many years, is trusting them even possible?

What did I think?

I really don't know how Amanda Prowse writes so many amazing and completely different books in such a short space of time but I do know that you're always guaranteed a great read with one of her books.  The Day She Came Back is her latest novel and it explores family relationships and the effects of withholding family secrets.

After the untimely death of her mother, Sarah, when she was a baby, Victoria has been brought up by her grandmother, Prim.  When the octogenarian suddenly passes away, Victoria is left all alone in the world at only eighteen years of age.  Prim was such a massive part of Victoria's life, and it sounds like the pair were as much friends as family, that Victoria is completely devastated by Prim's death.  When a mysterious woman turns up at Prim's funeral claiming to be Victoria's mother, Victoria is sent into turmoil.  Why did her beloved Prim lie to her all these years?  If you can't trust those closest to you, who can you trust?

As Victoria deals with her grief over Prim's death and her confusion over Sarah's reappearance my heart really went out to her.  Victoria makes some questionable decisions and snaps at those closest to her but I could understand every one of her actions.  It felt like she was a runaway train and could go off the rails at any moment until she changed her destination to Norway, where Sarah now lives.  I loved the vivid description of Norway; it sounds so beautiful and it is clearly a destination that is close to Amanda Prowse's heart.

Nobody writes from the heart like Amanda Prowse and I always prepare myself to cry at some point when reading her novels.  The Day She Came Back felt a bit different from other Amanda Prowse books when Victoria's gran died so early in the story that I hadn't got to know her and I remained dry eyed.  I thought I was finally immune to Amanda Prowse's superpower of making me cry until the letters appeared.  Oh my word, the letters between Prim and Sarah are so heartfelt, emotional and poignant that I was completely powerless against the tears that brimmed and fell from my eyes.  

An emotional and poignant story, The Day She Came Back is another outstanding novel from Amanda Prowse.  Have your tissues at the ready, there'll not be a dry eye in the house when you read The Day She Came Back.

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Amanda Prowse is one of the UK’s most prolific and loved storytellers with global sales of 8 million copies and legions of loyal readers.  Based in the West Country, Amanda is the author of 25 novels and 7 novellas with books sold in 22 countries and translated into 12 languages– no mean feat when you consider her first novel was only published in 2012!
A passionate reader since her first visit to the local library aged 6, Amanda would read everything and anything and – armed with her precious library ticket – would spend hours reading loved Enid Blyton, Anna Sewell, Judi Blume, Nina Bawden while scribbling short stories of her own. As time passed, she moved onto the more risqué delights of Lace, The Thorn Birds and A Woman of Substance; gritty, emotional stories that would inform her writing. 
A powerful storyteller and a master of the addictive plot, Amanda’s rich imagination and prolific writing talent has seen her write over 20 bestsellers with millions of copies sold across the world. She often writes for 15 hours a day and sees her plots like movies in her mind that she’s compelled to get down on paper. These heartfelt human stories have made her one of the most successful female writers of contemporary fiction today and she has become a regular interviewee on TV and radio as well as a successful journalistic writer. 
Amanda’s ambition has always been to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night; great characters that stay with you and stories that inhabit your mind so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades. She is also a passionate supporter of military charities and those that support women’s causes and holds regular ‘Evenings with Amanda’ events as fundraisers for her chosen charities.

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