5 Star Books · Books · Liz Fenwick · Reviews

Book Review: The Returning Tide by Liz Fenwick @liz_fenwick @orionbooks

~ Book Blurb~

Two sisters and one betrayal that will carry across generations . . .

In wartime Cornwall, 1943, a story between two sisters begins – the story of Adele and Amelia, and the heart-breaking betrayal that will divide them forever. Decades later, the effects of one reckless act still echo – but how long will it be until their past returns?

The Returning Tide will sweep you away to the beautiful Cornish coast, full of secrets and mystery, perfect for fans of Kate Morton.

~ My Review ~

To say I loved this book is an understatement and if I could give it more than 5 stars, I would! It is, simply, stunning and had me hooked from the very first page.

The Returning Tide, set in beautiful Cornwall, is a story of love, war, loss, family, and betrayal. It tells two interconnecting stories: one of sisters Amelia and Adele, living in Cornwall, during World War II, and, one of Lara, in the present day, living in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and of her trip to Cornwall to trace her Great-Grandfather’s steps during World War II.

The Returning Tide is extremely well researched and beautifully written. If I had not known otherwise, I would have thought Liz was writing from her own lived experiences. The depth of feeling in telling this story increases with each turn of the page, so much so, I was in tears by the end of it. It takes a lot for a book to make me cry and this is testament to Liz’s sophisticated, elegant, and heartfelt writing style.

One chapter, in particular, will stay with me for a very long time. I cannot imagine how it feels to be in a highly and emotionally charged situation where you are completely powerless. Liz conveys it so beautifully and sympathetically. It wasn’t until I read the Acknowledgements and Author’s Notes, that I discovered this episode was based on real experiences of a close family member to Liz. Out of this episode, Amelia and Adele’s story, and thus The Returning Tide, were born. I am in awe of how, from one experience, this great story came to life.

There are many exquisite lines in this book but one line which kept coming back to me throughout, was in the opening pages: ‘…Just one look from his big blue eyes and I was lost without a map and my compass took a different north.’ Wow. It wasn’t until I got to the end that I really thought about this line’s significance. I won’t say anymore as I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone who is yet to read it.

It is very evident that a lot of blood, sweat, and probably tears, has gone into writing this very special story. Thank you for sharing it with us, Liz.

~ Where to find The Returning Tide ~

Goodreads            Amazon UK          Amazon US

~ Where to find Liz Fenwick ~

Twitter         Facebook        Website

Books · Carol Drinkwater

Pre-Order: The Lost Girl by Carol Drinkwater @Carol4OliveFarm @MichaelJBooks

51bKF0XlyRL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_I have pre-ordered THE LOST GIRL by Carol Drinkwater.

Why is this significant? Well, I have to admit I do not pre-order books. However, from devouring Carol’s bestselling Olive Series and her superb novel THE FORGOTTEN SUMMER, I just know that this book is going to be wonderful (read my review of THE FORGOTTEN SUMMER here).

When THE LOST GIRL is published, in the UK, on 29th June, I want to be able to dive straight into it and not come up for air until I have finished it.

Here is the book blurb from Amazon UK:

Her daughter disappeared four years ago. . .

Since her daughter went missing four years earlier, celebrated photographer Kurtiz Ross has been a woman alone. Her only companion her camera. Since Lizzie disappeared, she has blamed and isolated herself, given up hope. Until, out of the blue, an unexpected sighting of Lizzie is made in Paris.

Could this lead to the reconciliation she has dreamed of?

Within hours of Kurtiz arriving in Paris, the City of Light is plunged into a night of hell when a series of terrorist attacks bring the city to a standstill. Amid the fear and chaos, a hand reaches out. A sympathetic stranger in a café offers to help Kurtiz find her daughter.

A stranger’s guiding light

Neither knows what this harrowing night will deliver, but the other woman’s kindness – and her stories of her own love and loss in post-war Provence – shine light into the shadows, restoring hope, bringing the unexpected. Out of darkness and despair, new life rises. New beginnings unfold.

Dare she believe in a miracle?

Set during a time of bloodshed and chaos in one of the most beautiful cities on earth and along the warm fragrant shores of the Mediterranean, Kurtiz discovers that miracles really can happen.

The Lost Girl is a heartrending story of loss and enduring love.

To find out more about Carol and her work, visit her website: www.caroldrinkwater.com and follow her on Twitter: @Carol4OliveFarm

Books · Liz Fenwick · Reviews

Under A Cornish Sky by Liz Fenwick @liz_fenwick @orionbooks

Under A Cornish SkyUnder A Cornish Sky by Liz Fenwick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the first book by Liz Fenwick which I have read and what an introduction it has been to her writing! I loved ‘Under A Cornish Sky’ right from the beginning. Liz has a beautiful style of writing which flows seamlessly. She makes it seem so easy, which I am sure is a hard thing to do! At each turn of the page, I just wanted to find out more about the characters and how all of their stories fitted together. I was not expecting a couple of the twists which kept the story exciting. Cornwall is a beautiful setting, which Liz describes so vividly. It is a character in itself. I am so looking forward to reading Liz’s other books.

View all my reviews


New book purchase: ‘Maestra’ by @lshiltonauthor @BonnierZaffre

Today, I bought a second-hand copy of MAESTRA by L.S. Hilton.

I heard about this book when it was published last year but I have to admit that I have not read much about it. Here is a description from Amazon UK:

‘By day Judith Rashleigh is a put-upon assistant at a London auction house. By night she’s a hostess in one of the capital’s unsavoury bars. Desperate to make something of herself, Judith knows she has to play the game. She’s learned to dress, speak and act in the interests of men. She’s learned to be a good girl. But after uncovering a dark secret at the heart of the art world, Judith is fired and her dreams of a better life are torn apart. So she turns to a long-neglected friend. A friend that kept her chin up and back straight through every past slight. A friend that a good girl like her shouldn’t have: Rage. Fatal attraction meets The Talented Mr Ripley in this darkly decadent thriller, soon to be a major Hollywood film, that asks: Where do you go when you’ve gone too far?’

MAESTRA is the first book in a trilogy, and, incidentally, the second book, DOMINA, is released on 6 April 2017.

Books · Carol Drinkwater · Reviews

Thank you Penguin! @Carol4OliveFarm @MichaelJBooks ‏@PenguinUKBooks

**I first published this post on an old blog site on 8 September 2016**

To coincide with today’s paperback release of the wonderful The Forgotten Summer by Carol Drinkwater, the Marketing Team at Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House, have put together some great cards with quotes from bloggers and readers to share. How fabulous is that?!


Please scroll down to read my full post about The Forgotten Summer. Alternatively, click here to be taken directly to the post.

Books · Carol Drinkwater · Reviews

The Forgotten Summer by Carol Drinkwater @Carol4OliveFarm @MichaelJBooks

**I first published this post on an old blog site on 2 May 2016**

I wanted to share with you the best book I have read this year. The Forgotten Summer, published in February 2016, is the latest book from one of my favourite authors: Carol Drinkwater. The Forgotten Summer

My initial idea for this post was going to be a detailed review of the book. I had read several good and in-depth reviews of The Forgotten Summer and thought, “I can do that. How hard can it be?” Well, as I put pen to paper, I struggled. It was not because I didn’t know what to say about the book. I loved this book and I could talk about it all day long. When it came to writing about it, I just didn’t know where to begin.

As I started to look online for inspiration, I came across Novelicious, and its series of posts called Literary Love Letters: letters from established and aspiring writers to their favourite authors, telling them how much their writing has impacted on their lives. Suddenly, the light bulb moment occurred: why not try writing the post in a different style: as a letter to Carol?

Below is my attempt and thank you to Novelicious for your inspiration.

Dear Carol,

I became truly aware of your fabulous writing at my first visit to The France Show, London, in 2015. Whilst perusing the programme, noticing you rightfully had the opening slot of the day on the main stage, I remember thinking: Carol Drinkwater – famous for her role as Helen Herriot in All Creatures Great and Small and who now writes about her life in the South of France. At that time, I must be honest, The Olive Farm had been sitting on my bookshelf untouched for several years. After listening to you talk so passionately about life on the Olive Farm, the 6 books in the Olive Series and your documentary series, The Olive Route, I quickly wondered why on earth I had waited so long to read that copy of The Olive Farm. Needless to say, it did not take me long to become well acquainted with your work.

What strikes me the most about your writing in the Series is your openness and honesty about your life, not to mention your beautiful descriptions, especially of the South of France. These still have me wanting to book flights at a moments notice. So, when I returned to The France Show this year, I bought a pre-publication copy of The Forgotten Summer and started reading it immediately. I was desperately hoping it would contain the same style of writing and, wow, I was not disappointed!

From the front cover I was hooked. As I was drawn into its atmosphere: the idyllic blue sky, the woman walking carefree with her bike through the vineyards, I noticed the question under the title: ‘Is the truth something you really want to know?’ This was such a juxtaposition of the image I had created in my mind. I undoubtedly wanted to know more: Who is this woman? Why is the vineyard so prominent? What happened in this forgotten summer?

As I began to read, the front cover came to life. You introduced me to Jane Cambon, who I like to believe is the woman on the front cover, and her husband Luc, not to mention his formidable mother, Clarisse, all living on the Cambon family’s vineyard estate. After the accident at the annual grape harvest, different aspects of Clarisse’s character come out to play and she does not hesitate to re-ignite the long running feud between herself and Jane. As I became more engrossed in the book, the story began to unravel, as did the characters. You answered my three questions in ways I could not have imagined.

I only had to read several pages to know that your book would turn out to be a marvellous page-turning read. 423 pages of family secrets, enduring love, tragedy, and heartbreak all set on a vineyard in beautiful Provence – I could not have asked for more!

On several occasions, I thought I had worked out where the book was going, until you threw it in a different direction. Your beautiful description played with all of my senses and emotions allowing me to be fully absorbed into the story and to share Jane’s journey.

Thank you for being such a great storyteller and I am so looking forward to your next book.


To find out more about Carol and her work, visit her website: www.caroldrinkwater.com and follow her on Twitter: @Carol4OliveFarm


St Catherine’s Hospice Midnight Walk 2016

Getting Ready to Walk**I first published this post on an old blog site on 8 September 2016**

On the evening of Saturday 2nd July 2016 and into the early hours of Sunday 3rd July 2016, over 400 women, including myself, and my mum, ditched our beauty sleep to walk 7, 13 or 20 miles in the St Catherine’s Hospice Midnight Walk.

St Catherine’s Hospice, based in Crawley, West Sussex, is dedicated to providing high quality hospice care, free of charge, to people living in Crawley, Horsham, Mid Sussex and East Surrey.

It costs £17,000 per day to run the Hospice, equating to £6M per year, all earnt through voluntary donations. This is why it is so important to fundraise and take part in events such as the Midnight Walk.

Each and every walker had their own reasons for taking part: some were walking in memory of loved ones, some were walking for those who couldn’t and others were walking to say thank you to St Catherine’s Hospice, like Jane.

Personal ExperienceJane’s Mum was worried about going into a hospice but the staff at St Catherine’s made her feel as though she was in her own home with some of her own possessions and family photographs around her. The staff even ensured there was a bed available for Jane and her family to sleep in, right next to their mum. This enabled them to be a family rather than carers. We also heard from some of the wonderful night nurses, also walking, about how when it gets to 3am and you feel like you cannot walk on anymore, that is what it is like for them on a daily basis.

Myself and my mum opted to walk 13 miles. This route was a figure of eight around Horsham, taking us through the park, along main roads, around back streets. It was at the 11-mile point, around 2.15am, when I thought my legs would carry me no more that I remembered what the nurses had said and why I was doing this walk: for all of the patients who St Catherine’s have cared for and will continue to care for. I am sure they wish they could be taking part with us. That kept me going.

At 3.05am on Sunday 3rd July, we completed the walk and were treated to a lovely cup of tea and a much needed cooked breakfast from Ginger Rookes (gingerrookes.co.uk).

Last month, I was really fortunate to be invited to a garden party at St Catherine’s to celebrate having raised over £350 in sponsorship. This was my first visit and as soon as I walked in, there was an air of calmness and compassion. It is a beautiful place. My grandmother was in a Hospice in Kent for the last month of her life. I remember her saying to my mum: ‘How did you find me such a lovely place to stay?’ I truly believe she would have said this too had she been cared for at St Catherine’s Hospice.

So far, the Midnight Walk has raised over £63,000. What an incredible achievement, which I am sure is already benefiting patients and their families.

To find out more about St Catherine’s Hospice and their amazing work, visit www.stch.org.uk