Monday, 26 September 2016

The Author in my spotlight.... is Anna Belfrage..




Today I am delighted to welcome to the blog the historical fiction author











Anna is the author of several historical fiction novels.

 The first two books in  The King's Greatest Enemy series are out now.


27399615 30621973



Hi and welcome to Jaffareadstoo Anna. Tell us a little about yourself and what got you started as an author?


“A little” is always relative, isn’t it? But very briefly I am Swedish, grew up in South America, attended English schools – and spent most of my childhood moping because I wasn’t born in medieval times (preferably as a rich somebody). So, seeing as I was stuck in the 20th century, I put pen to paper and transported myself back in time by writing stories. I am not sure those early efforts qualify as the start of a writing career, but I have been writing ever since… 



Where did you get the first flash of inspiration for The King’s Greatest Enemy Series?


I was eleven and had a somewhat choleric if passionate history teacher. He had a major thing about the Maya Indians – and about Edward II. Well, maybe not so much about Edward, whom he dismissed as a sadly weak successor to daddy Edward I, as about the lurid legends concerning how Edward II died. “Hogwash”, he’d say, before expending quite some time explaining just why it would be very, very difficult to kill someone with a red hot poker up their nether parts. 

Anyway, all of this made me read more and more about the period, and as a young teenager I stumbled upon Maurice Druon’s “Les rois maudits”, which is an excellent take on the period, albeit that it focuses on France rather than England. 



Will you explain to us a little more about the plot of this second book without giving too much away?


30621973


We are in 14th century England. Edward II is king, Roger Mortimer is disgruntled, royal favourite Hugh Despenser is nasty, Queen Isabella has had it, and in the midst of all this mess, my fictional protagonist Adam de Guirande with wife Kit have to navigate a political quagmire that can lead to death and ruin for them both.



When you start a new series do you have an idea where the series will finish, or does the story evolve as you go a long?


In this specific case, I had a very definite ending: late in the year 1330. That is not always the case, and my other series started out as “a book” and ended up being eight (with a ninth as WIP).



Your books are a mixture of historical fact and fiction, how much research do you do in order to bring the stories to life?


A lot. I read books about the period, biographies of the relevant people, etc. I end up being very distracted at times, like when I spent several days reading about the beguines, a fascinating religious lay order which offered a sort of haven to women who neither wanted to marry or commit to the life of a nun. (See? I’m still distracted by them…) 



Would you consider yourself to be a historian or are you more of a writer who likes history?

A writer who LOVES history and would dearly love to travel back in time to visit. 



What are the upsides and downsides of writing historical fiction?


The upside is that I get to spend a lot of time in the past – with my characters. The downside is that historical fiction is sometimes considered “difficult”, i.e. it may not attract quite so many readers. Personally, I think historical fiction is a very broad definition, encompassing all sort of genres which have one single thing in common: they’re set in the past. 



Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you?

Edith Pargeter, Sharon K Penman, Nigel Tranter, Elizabeth Chadwick, Sigrid Undset, Vilhelm Moberg (Swedish author)




What’s coming next in The King’s Greatest Enemy Series?

The next book Under the Approaching Dark is planned for late April 2017, with the final book in the series, The Cold Light of Dawn, coming either very late 2017 or early 2018.





27399615 30621973 








More about the author can be found on her website by clicking here

Follow Anna on Twitter @Anna_Belfrage or on her blog 

Find the books on Amazon 





Huge thanks to Anna for sharing the first two books in this series with me. 
Jaffa and I wish you continued success with your work and look forward to the continuation of the story in Under the Approaching Dark.




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Sunday, 25 September 2016

Sunday WW1 Remembered..





Teresa Hooley 

1888- 1973


A War Film


I saw,
With a catch of breath and the heart’s uplifting,
Sorrow and pride,
The ‘week’s great draw’-
The Mon Retreat;
The ‘Old Contemptibles’ who fought, and died,
The horror, the anguish and the glory.

As in a dream,
Still hearing machine-guns rattle and shells scream,
I came out into the street.

When the day was done,
My little son
Wondered at bath-time why I kissed him som
Naked upon my knee
How could he know
The sudden terror that assaulted me?….
The body I had borne
Nine moons beneath my heart,
A part of me…..
If, someday
It should be taken away 
To War. Tortured, Torn. 
Slain.
Rotting in o Man’s Land, out in the rain –
My little son….

How should he know
Why I kissed and kissed and kissed him, crooning his name?
He though that I was daft.
He thought it was a game,
And laughed and laughed.





Teresa Hooley is a relatively unknown war poet, mostly recognised for her war poem, A War Film, which is thought to have been written after she saw a documentary type film, entiltled, Mons, in 1926. This poem was included in her 1927 published work Songs for all Seasons. 








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Saturday, 24 September 2016

F. Scott Fitzgerald's 120th Anniversary...


Essential Picks From AUDIBLE To Celebrate

F. Scott Fitzgerald's

120th Anniversary


Saturday 24th September 2016 marks 120 years since the birth of author F. Scott Fitzgerald, most famous for his novel The Great Gatsby. From Jake Gyllenhaal’s narration of The Great Gatsby to the only novel by Fitzgerald’s wife Zelda, the editors at Audible have curated a selection of audio programmes exploring the best of the American Jazz Age.



The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Narrated by: Jake Gyllenhaal
£11.99 (free for Audible members)
Available at Audible.co.uk





F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic American novel of the Roaring Twenties, The Great Gatsby, is beloved by generations of readers and stands as his crowning work. This audio edition is narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain).

Gyllenhaal's performance is a faithful delivery in the voice of Nick Carraway, the Midwesterner turned New York bond salesman, who rents a small house next door to the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby. There, he has a first-hand view of Gatsby's lavish West Egg parties - and of his undying love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan.

After meeting and losing Daisy during the war, Gatsby has made himself fabulously wealthy. Now, he believes that his only way to true happiness is to find his way back into Daisy's life, and he uses Nick to try to reach her. What happens when the characters' fantasies are confronted with reality makes for a startling conclusion to this iconic masterpiece.



Tender Is the Night
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Narrated by: Therese Plummer
£16.09 (free for Audible members)
Available on Audible.co.uk





Published in 1934, Tender Is the Night was one of the most talked-about books of the year. "It's amazing how excellent much of it is," Ernest Hemingway said to Maxwell Perkins. "I will say now," John O'Hara wrote Fitzgerald, "Tender Is the Night is in the early stages of being my favorite book, even more than This Side of Paradise." And Archibald MacLeish exclaimed: "Great God, Scott...You are a fine writer. Believe it - not me."


Set on the French Riviera in the late 1920s,Tender Is the Night is the tragic romance of the young actress Rosemary Hoyt and the stylish American couple Dick and Nicole Diver. A brilliant young psychiatrist at the time of his marriage, Dick is both husband and doctor to Nicole, whose wealth goads him into a lifestyle not his own, and whose growing strength highlights Dick's harrowing demise.

A profound study of the romantic concept of character - lyrical, expansive, and hauntingly evocative - Tender Is the Night, Mabel Dodge Luhan remarked, raised F. Scott Fitzgerald to the heights of a "modern Orpheus".



Save Me The Waltz
Author: Zelda Fitzgerald
Narrated by: Jennifer Van Dyck
£16.09 (free for Audible members)
Available on Audible.co.uk





Save Me the Waltz is the first and only novel by the wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald. During the years when Fitzgerald was working on Tender Is the Night, Zelda Fitzgerald was preparing her own story, which parallels the narrative of her husband, throwing a fascinating light on F. Scott Fitzgerald's life and work. In its own right, it is a vivid and moving story: the confessions of a famous, slightly doomed glamour girl of the affluent 1920s, which captures the spirit of an era.



Experience the flappers, prohibition and romance of the Roaring Twenties through the stories of some of the best American writers of all time.



Sanctuary
Author: William Faulkner
Narrated by: Stephen Hoye
£13.69 (free for Audible members)
Available on Audible.co.uk





A powerful novel examining the nature of evil, informed by the works of T. S. Eliot and Freud, mythology, local lore, and hard-boiled detective fiction, Sanctuary is the dark, at times brutal, story of the kidnapping of Mississippi debutante Temple Drake, set during the Prohibition era. She introduces her own form of venality into the Memphis underworld where she is being held.




The Sun Also Rises
Author: Earnest Hemingway
Narrated by: William Hurt
£13.46 (free for Audible members)
Available at Audible.co.uk





The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway's masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful style. A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the story introduces two of Hemingway's most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley.

Follow the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates. It is an age of moral bankruptcy, spiritual dissolution, unrealized love, and vanishing illusions. First published in 1926, The Sun Also Rises helped to establish Hemingway as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.




Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Author: Anita Loos
Narrated by: Patrice O’Neill
£10.89 (free for Audible members)
Available on Audible.co.uk




The delirious 1925 Jazz-Age classic that no less an authority than Edith Wharton called "the great American novel".

If any American fictional character of the 20th century seems likely to be immortal, it is Lorelei Lee of Little Rock, Arkansas, the not-so-dumb blonde who knew that diamonds are a girl's best friend. Outrageous, charming, and unforgettable, she's been portrayed on stage and screen by Carol Channing and Marilyn Monroe, and has become the archetype of the footloose, good-hearted gold digger, with an insatiable appetite for orchids, champagne, and precious stones.

Here are her "diaries", created by Anita Loos in the Roaring Twenties, as Lorelei and her friend Dorothy barrel across Europe, meeting everyone from the Prince of Wales to "Doctor Froyd" - and then back home again to marry a Main Line millionaire and become a movie star. In this delightfully droll and witty book, Lorelei Lee's wild antics, unique outlook, and imaginative way with language shine.





More details of how to listen and subscribe to books from AUDIBLE 

can be found by clicking here







F Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald



Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940), known professionally as F. Scott Fitzgerald, was an American novelist and short story writer, whose works are the paradigmatic writings of the Jazz Age. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Fitzgerald is considered a member of the "Lost Generation" of the 1920s. He finished four novels: This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby (his best known), and Tender Is the Night. A fifth, unfinished novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, was published posthumously. Fitzgerald also wrote numerous short stories, many of which treat themes of youth and promise, and age and despair.

(Source : wikipedia.)






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Friday, 23 September 2016

A Fantastic Giveaway Opportunity...



Following on from Joanna Courtney's guest appearance on my blog yesterday 





I am delighted to be able to offer to 5 lucky UK winners




Two Books in her Queens of Conquest series



1. The Chosen Queen



23358228
Macmillan
2014

A bit of blurb..

She holds the fate of England in her heart . . .

As a young woman in England's royal court, Edyth, granddaughter of Lady Godiva, dreams of marrying for love. But political matches are rife while King Edward is still without an heir and the future of England is uncertain.

When Edyth's family are exiled to the wild Welsh court, she falls in love with the charismatic King of Wales - but their romance comes at a price and she is catapulted onto the opposing side of a bitter feud with England. Edyth's only allies are Earl Harold Godwinson and his handfasted wife, Lady Svana.
As the years pass, Edyth finds herself elevated to a position beyond even her greatest expectations. She enjoys both power and wealth but as her star rises the lines of love and duty become more blurred than she could ever have imagined. As 1066 dawns, Edyth is asked to make an impossible choice. Her decision is one that has the power to change the future of England forever . .




2. The Constant Queen



27874227
Macmillan
2016



A bit of blurb...


Elizaveta is princess of Kiev, but that doesn't stop her chasing adventure. Defying conventions, she rides the rapids of the Dneiper alongside her royal brothers, and longs to rule in her own right as a queen.

Elizaveta meets her match when the fearsome Viking warrior Harald Hardrada arrives at her father's court seeking fame and fortune. He entrusts Elizaveta to be his treasure keeper, to hold the keys to his ever-growing wealth - and eventually to his heart.

Theirs is a fierce romance and the strength of their love binds them together as they travel across the vast seas to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland. In 1066, their ambition carries them to Orkney as they plan to invade England and claim the crown 







Thanks to the publishers Macmillan for this fabulous giveaway opportunity

Giveaway ends on the 30th September



**~Good Luck everyone ~**





Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Author in my spotlight is .....Joanna Courtney



I'm really delighted to welcome back to Jaffareadstoo the historical fiction author 


Joanna Courtney









I am a huge fan of Joanna's first book The Chosen Queen and  was delighted to be given the opportunity to read and review, The Constant Queen which is her latest historical novel in the Queens of Conquest series.






27874227
Macmillan
22 September 2016
 A bit of book blurb...

Elizaveta is princess of Kiev, but that doesn't stop her chasing adventure. Defying conventions, she rides the rapids of the Dneiper alongside her royal brothers, and longs to rule in her own right as a queen.

Elizaveta meets her match when the fearsome Viking warrior Harald Hardrada arrives at her father's court seeking fame and fortune. He entrusts Elizaveta to be his treasure keeper, to hold the keys to his ever-growing wealth - and eventually to his heart.

Theirs is a fierce romance and the strength of their love binds them together as they travel across the vast seas to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland. In 1066, their ambition carries them to Orkney as they plan to invade England and claim the crown



To celebrate the paperback publication day of The Constant Queen, Joanna has written a special guest post for Jaffareadstoo which outlines her thoughts about the pros and cons of writing a novel based on Anglo-Saxon history...


When it comes to writing about the pre-1066 era there is one huge issue – the massive gaps in our knowledge, not just of the events but also of the people, the attitudes and reasoning behind the big dates. There are very few primary sources from this period and those we do have are either sparse, contradictory or overly imaginative so we’re never sure what’s actually true. Historians have a field day debating what happened when and why, but for authors trying to establish a factual spine for their novel it can be a minefield. That said, however, whilst these big gaps in the facts are a frustration for a historian, they are also a gift for a novelist, for I can fill them in with imagination - or, rather, with responsible interpretation.

I cannot in my novels write exactly what did happen but it’s very important to me to write what could have happened. What dates we do know need to be accurate and I try to use what is reported of people to create characters who work in a convincing way. For example, we know that King Harold went rushing down to Hastings to meet William before he had really summoned full reinforcements. If he’d waited a few days he’d have been far more likely to win, so understanding why he took that call is vital to telling a good story.

This information gap is especially problematic for women. It’s rare for the births of such girls (or even boys) to be listed so we often have to work out what children people had by tracing them back once they pop up as marrying someone 18 years later. We can get a glimpse of names, the odd snippet of gossip, or a signature on a charter but there is little else. 

When learning about the three heroines of my Queens of the Conquest series - Edyth, Elizaveta and Mathilda - it’s been up to me to interpret their characters the best way I can. Elizaveta of Kiev, for example, is known to have sailed to the Orkneys with her husband Harald Hardrada when he launched his attack on England, presumably so she was there to hasten to his side when he claimed the throne. That, to me, spoke of a brave and adventurous woman and I shaped my Elizaveta accordingly.

When writing about Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Normans we are up against this tricky wall of a term - the ‘dark ages’. I hate it. They’re only ‘dark’ because we know so little about them; we are the ones in the dark. At the time, these people lived lives every bit as sophisticated, cultured and socially advanced as their later Tudor ancestors. Indeed, the intrigues and political conflicts around the dramatic events of 1066 were at least as complex as something like the Babington Plot. 

These people were not illiterate idiots with little more on their minds than ploughs and swords and ale. Their halls and churches were magnificent, albeit it mainly carved in wood so sadly lost to us now. Their law and government systems were highly developed and their clothing and particularly their jewellery was astonishingly intricate and elegant. Getting people to understand that, however, can be hard.

It was also a far wider world than people imagine. Water was the fastest means of travel, be it across seas or down rivers, and the Vikings in particular were masters of the water. In The Constant Queen the action moves from Medieval Kiev, to Constantinople, Norway, Iceland and, finally, the Orkneys and Stamford Bridge where Harald Hardrada met his sad end. Researching all these places took some doing but threw up wonderful settings for my characters. 

For example, Kiev in the mid eleventh century was an astonishing place – a vast walled city atop a huge set of hills with highly developed architecture, including magnificent halls, churches, fountains, and even huge brass statues. It was heavily influenced by Constantinople, a city of such riches that all contemporary chroniclers raved about it, and the river-route between the two was travelled by thousands every year. These people were not stay-at-home villagers with their nose in their corn. Traders swarmed all over Europe, spreading culture, goods and news and my high-born characters are a part of this connected continent. That makes them hard to research but exciting to write about.

Readers, myself included, love the Tudors for their glamour – they are historical ‘Dynasty’ as the wonderful if rather lurid program ‘The Tudors’ proved. I think there may be an underlying feeling that the sixteenth century is when people started to be recognisably like ourselves but that’s just not true. Evolution is a long and complicated process and for humans the 1000 years back to pre-1066 is a drop in the ocean. Yes, communication networks and transport and cooking/heating methods were different but people – the important part of any story – were still very much the same. Social norms were also different but the core emotions of love and fear and desire and ambition were surely identical and that’s what I look to explore in my novels – not the pedantic differences between then and now, but the exciting similarities.

So, in essence, the biggest ‘con’ of writing about this period is the lack of information we have about it, but conversely this is also its biggest ‘pro’ as it leaves room to create vibrant and hopefully believable stories. The Anglo-Saxon period was not a duller or ‘darker’ time than later periods and is no less fun to read about. I hope my novels can transport people back to a period they may know very little about and offer them both some new historical knowledge and, most importantly of all, gripping stories. 

©Joanna Courtney

Find out more about Joanna on her website by clicking here

Follow her on Twitter @joannacourtney1




Huge thanks to Joanna for such an interesting and informative guest post and for sharing her thoughts about the pros and cons of writing about Anglo Saxon history.


The Constant Queen is published in paperback today and is available to buy online and from all good book stores.



My thoughts about The Constant Queen..



Before reading The Constant Queen, Elizaveta of Kiev and her husband, the Viking warrior Harold Sigurdsson, or as he is more commonly known, Harold Hardrada, were a complete mystery to me, and if I am perfectly honest neither of them ever appeared on my radar as historical figures I wanted to get to know, so what has been so refreshing about reading The Constant Queen is the fact that I am coming into a period of history which is completely new to me, and so, because of that, I could settle into the story without any preconceived notions of who did what, why and when.

When Harold Hardrada appears in Kiev, at her father's court,  in 1031 Elizaveta is still very young and even though in her early interaction with Hardrada,she shows a maturity beyond her years, there is still enough of the precocious child in her to want to run unbidden through the long corridors of the Kremlin. What the novel then goes on to explain is how the relationship between Elizaveta and Hardrada develops, and also of the initial conflict which occurs between Elizaveta and Hardrada's other spouse, Tora Torbergsdatter, who is always going to be her love rival for Hardrada's affections.

The story is so much more than just romantic historical fiction and even though it was interesting to see how the relationship between Elizaveta and Hardrada developed, it was also fascinating to learn the background behind Hardrada's later involvement in the Battle of Hastings. Beautifully researched and impeccably detailed this is one of those strong historical fiction novels which is impossible to power through, not because the story isn't interesting, as believe me it is, but because there is so much absorbing detail to take in. Sweeping between Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and the Orkneys, the novel opens up a historical period of which I had scant knowledge and which on closer inspection I found to be hugely compelling.

Writing about the strong women that history has overlooked seems to be the trademark of this talented historical fiction author. With effortless ease she infuses her female characters with such a strong sense of purpose that you can’t help but be drawn, quite forcibly, into their lives. And as the pages turn, you are transported back to the eleventh century, back to a dark and dangerous time when to be a woman in a man’s world was racked with danger.


Whilst it is possible to read either of the books thus far in the Queens of Conquest series as standalone novels, I think that there is much more to be enjoyed in reading both novels in order. I am sure that the third book in the trilogy about Matilda of Flanders will be equally compelling.




Best Read with.... Tankards of strong ale and generous slices of roasted duck







My thanks to the author for sharing her work with me and also to Jess at Macmillan for her help with Joanna's guest post and also for my review copy of The Constant Queen.




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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Reflection for Wednesday...



Sometimes you just have to stop and take a moment and take time to reflect.


Here's my reflection piece for this week






Farewell My Friends...



It was beautiful as long as it lasted, the journey of my life, I have no regrets whatsoever, save the pain I'll leave behind.
Those dear hearts who love and care, and the heavy with sleep ever moist eyes, the smile in spite of a lump in the throat and the strings pulling at the heart and soul,
The strong arms that held me up when my own strength let me down, each morsel that I was fed with was full of love.
At every turning of my life I came across good friends, friends who stood by me, even when the time raced me by.
Farewell, farewell my friends, I smile and bid you goodbye.
No, shed no tears, for I need them not, all I need is your smile, If you feel sad, do think of me, for that's what I'll like, when you live in the hearts of those you love, remember then...... you never die.





Gitanjali Ghei  1961 - 1977













Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Blog Tour ~ The Day I Lost You by Fionnuala Kearney




Jaffareadstoo is delighted to be hosting a stop on 


The Day I Lost You Blog Tour









Please welcome back to the blog










~After reading The Day I Lost You I asked Fionnuala this question~




"...The major theme of The Day I lost You is about love and loss and the ways we all grieve for what we perceive to be lost. When you write about such an emotive subject - how much do you draw on your own life experiences and did you find this theme difficult to write about?..."




Love and loss are common themes in my novels, though they appear in very different guises. And in writing about relationships as I do; in wanting to peel back the layers and see what’s really going on underneath, I think the truth is the writer has to offer a little piece of themselves up.

I’ve been lucky enough never to suffer either of the primary scenarios I’ve written about so far; a devastating marital betrayal in my debut You, Me and Other People or the potential loss of an extremely loved child in my second novel The Day I Lost you - but in opting to write about such life changing topics, I have to be prepared to dig deep. I have to use the feelings I have felt during whatever losses or grief I’ve personally faced. Sometimes, the only thing that makes the right words appear on the page at the right time is your own life experience.

I think love and loss are almost inextricably linked, and find it almost impossible to write about one without the other! I want the reader to believe in my characters and their story and real life is such that it will always throw a curve ball at even the most successful long-lasting love story. Real life is such that even in the most honest relationship, there are moments where doubts arise and a little bit of something beautiful is, perhaps, chipped away, lost. In exploring the loving bonds of couples, friends, siblings, lovers its inevitable there will be a sprinkling of disappointment, jealousy, or betrayal of trust - so it’s just a matter of time before some feelings of loss and grief appear. One of life’s yin and yang certainties… 

With The Day I Lost You, Jess is not only forced to face the potential loss of her only twenty five year old daughter, Anna, and to raise her five year old grandchild, Rose, but as facts unfold, the possibility that she never really knew Anna at all. In writing the story, though I’m a mother to grown up children, I still found it difficult to write some fairly heart-breaking scenes –probably especially because I’m a mother! The book questions the unconditional love we all feel for our children and whether there is ever anything a child could do that would stop that flow of love – very emotive stuff!

I think I’ve come to the conclusion that, in my writing life, I like rooting under the bonnets of the bonds we hold precious. I like examining what happens in our loving relationships – the good and the bad. After all, we’re all flawed beings, but often, it’s our flaws as well as our strengths that make us so very human.





26198481
Harper
22 September 2016



My thoughts about the book..


The implications of loss are terrible to imagine, and for Jess, when she gets the awful news that her daughter Anna is missing in a skiing accident she knows that her life is irrevocably changed. Losing a child is every parent's worst nightmare, especially when that child is also a parent, and even though bringing up Rose, her five year old granddaughter is a mixed blessing, Jess can't help but long for the news that Anna is alive and well and will soon be returning home to the family.

The story is beautifully written and shares so generously the minutiae of Jess and Rose's daily life that we come to love them and rejoice in their small triumphs and yet, we also sink into compassionate despair as Jess reels from one bad situation to another. And if we’re truly honest, we are relieved that our life is nothing like Jess’s and yet, in a heartbeat, this scenario could easily happen to any one of us.

Loss can be a terribly destructive force and Jess whilst superbly strong on the surface, is really like the proverbial swan, calm and unruffled on top but underneath paddling like fury. It is only with the help of her family and close friend, Theo, that Jess can begin to make sense of what’s happening in her life, and yet, Theo the troubled the guardian of so many secrets, is subsequently to be found facing his own demanding demons.

I loved how the story looked at the way that families interact and also of how relationships vary and alter over time but what was also important was the understanding of just how brittle are the bonds which tie us all together, and of how easily they can be broken into millions of tiny pieces. The fragmented pieces of Jess’s life and the way she deals with the hand that fate has dealt her, forms the heart and soul of the novel and such is the emotional pull of the story that there were times when sentiment got the better of me and I struggled to read without a great big lump in my throat.

There is no doubt that this talented author has a real skill with words and in this story which is rich in emotion and filled with an abundance of well-loved characters she has, once again, excelled herself. 



Best Read with...A succulent chicken casserole and a glass of Irish coffee, smooth as silk and undeniably heavy on the alcohol..


More about the author can be found on her website click here.


Follow her on Twitter @fionnulatweets


The e-book is out now and available to buy from Amazon


The paperback is published on the 22nd September and will be available on Amazon and in all good book stores.





Huge thanks to Fionnuala for her guest post today and for sharing her book with me and also to Jaime and the team at Harper  for the invitation to be part of this blog tour

Blog Tour runs 19th - 30th September

Do visit the other stops on the tour for more exciting content








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