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A Sarah's Vignettes Book Review: The Foundling by Stacey Halls (@stacey_halls) ~ @ZaffreBooks @bonnierbooks_uk ~ @Tr4cyF3nt0n #BlogTour

I am thrilled to be sharing my review of The Foundling by Stacey Halls today. I loved Stacey’s debut novel, The Familiars (read my review) so I was excited to get a chance to read The Foundling ahead of its publication. I was lucky to get my hands on an early copy at a proof party last September but I’ve only just had a chance to read it.

My thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour and to Manilla Press, for the proof copy of the book.

Before I share my review with you, here is what The Foundling is about.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

Two women, bound by a child, and a secret that will change everything . . .

London, 1754. Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the child she has never known. Dreading the worst, that Clara has died in care, she is astonished when she is told she has already claimed her. Her life is turned upside down as she tries to find out who has taken her little girl – and why.

Less than a mile from Bess’s lodgings in the city, in a quiet, gloomy townhouse on the edge of London, a young widow has not left the house in a decade. When her close friend – an ambitious young doctor at the Foundling Hospital – persuades her to hire a nursemaid for her daughter, she is hesitant to welcome someone new into her home and her life. But her past is threatening to catch up with her and tear her carefully constructed world apart.

From the bestselling author of The Familiars comes this captivating story of mothers and daughters, class and power, and love against the greatest of odds . . .

~ My thoughts ~

Two years ago, I went to The Foundling Museum in Brunswick, London to a book talk. Before the event, we had a chance to look around the museum. One thing that really struck a chord with me were the tokens each mother left when she handed over her baby to the care of the Foundling Hospital. If a mother ever returned to collect her child, she could be identified by the token. Women would mainly leave a piece of fabric from their dresses – one of their few possessions. It was heartbreaking to see the objects on display but stories about the objects owners started playing around in my head. When I went to a party to celebrate The Foundling, Stacey Halls spoke about how the tokens had inspired her novel. In The Foundling, Bess Bright leaves half of a heart made from whalebone when she leaves her baby Clara at the hospital, just hours after her birth.

The Foundling really touched me. The book starts off with Bess going to the Foundling Hospital to hand over Clara because she doesn’t have enough money to care for her. There is a particular event that takes place at the hospital for the benefactors so they can watch mothers handing over their babies. This felt so cruel and unkind. As the book progresses to 6 years later, Bess has worked hard to save all earnings to care for her daughter and returns to the hospital to collect Clara, only to find that another woman got there first. We then follow Bess’s journey to track down her daughter and the woman claiming to be Clara’s mother.

I really liked the character of Bess. She is a strong woman to have handed over her daughter, hoping it would give her a better life. The pain of losing her child and the determination to find her screams off of the pages. Stacey Halls puts so much emotion into her writing. A mother’s love knows no bounds.

The story alternates between Bess’s story and the story of Alexandra Callard. Alexandra is a young widow who has become a recluse, which means her daughter Charlotte does not leave the house either. Alexandra is a cold woman and I did not warm to her until the end of the story. Alexandra’s story is a powerful one and I felt sorry for her.

Bess and Alexandra’s lives are complete contrasts and highlight the class and power struggles at the time. Bess, living in one room with her brother and father, selling fish at the market, saving all the money she can. Alexandra, wealthy and living in a townhouse in Bloomsbury with two servants and Charlotte. Both women’s personalities are contrasts too: Bess, loving and caring; Alexandra, cold and unfeeling.

1700s London is a period of history I am unfamiliar with and I actually don’t feel that comfortable reading historical fiction set in that time. Maybe because I don’t know much about it and I usually find the stories hard work to read. However, Stacey Halls intelligent writing made it easy to read and get into the story. She uses language from the time but yet her prose still feels contemporary. I’ve learnt a lot about London’s history too, for example, how you paid a linkboy to light your path on your journey because there were obviously no street lights – not sure why this has stayed with me! Stacey Halls attention to detail is strong and it plays with the senses like the noise of the carts on the cobbles, the smell of fish in Billingsgate market.

I really enjoyed The Foundling. I think it is equally as good as The Familiars , if not better – they are both outstanding reads – and I am curious to see whose story Stacey Halls tells next.

~ Where to find The Foundling ~

The Foundling by Stacey Halls

The Foundling by Stacey Halls was published in hardback by Manilla Press in the UK on 6 February 2020. It can be found in all good bookshops as well at Amazon UK and on Goodreads.

~ About Stacey Halls ~

Stacey Halls
Stacey Halls

Stacey Halls grew up in Rossendale, Lancashire, as the daughter of market traders. She studied journalism at the University of Central Lancashire and moved to London aged 21. She was media editor at The Bookseller and books editor at Stylist.co.uk, and has also worked as a journalist for Psychologies, the Independent and Fabulous magazine. TV rights of The Familiars have been sold to The Bureau production company.

Bought in a nine-way auction, The Familiars was received with much praise and is nominated for an HWA award. Say hello to @stacey_halls on Twitter and @staceyhallsauthor on Instagram.

~ Follow the tour ~

Be sure to drop by the other stops on the The Foundling blog tour!

The Foundling by Stacey Halls blog tour poster
A Week in Books · Advanced Review Copy · Books · Literary Lowdown · Lucy Coleman · Promotional Post · Romantic Novelists Association · Sarah Butler

Sarah's Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 10-16 February 2020

Welcome to this week’s round-up of book life at Sarah’s Vignettes.

Keep scrolling to get the lowdown on what’s been going on here at Sarah’s Vignettes, the books I’ve been adding to my shelves, and other bookish delights.

~ On the blog ~

Win 60 books!

As this year is the Romantic Novelists Association 60th Anniversary and this week has been Romance Reading Week, the RNA has launched a group on Facebook to celebrate. The Romantic Fiction Book Club is a warm and cosy place for readers of romantic fiction to engage with other readers, bloggers and authors of romantic fiction, not just those members of the RNA.

The group launched on Valentine’s Day and to mark this the RNA has collaborated with publisher 0ne More Chapter to giveaway 60 romance novels to members of the Romance Fiction Book Club! Once you’ve joined the group, all you need to do is enter the giveaway to be in with a chance to win.

You can find out all about the great books in the giveaway, how to join the Romance Fiction Book Club and enter the giveaway here.

~ On my bookshelf ~

I’ve added 1 book to my shelf this week.

I’m taking part in a blog tour next month for Jack & Bet, Sarah Butler’s latest novel, which is out in digital and hardback on 5th March 2020. I am really looking forward to reading it. Not only is Sarah Butler a new author to me but also I’m struggling to think of many books I have read with elderly principal characters. I could probably count them on one hand.

Jack & Bet by Sarah Butler

Even the longest marriages have their secrets . . .

Jack & Bet by Sarah Butler

Jack Chalmers is a man of few words, married to a woman of many. He and Bet have been together for seventy years – almost a lifetime – and happily so, for the most part.

All Jack and Bet want is to enjoy the time they have left together, in the flat they have tried to make their home. Their son Tommy has other ideas: he wants them to live somewhere with round-the-clock care, hot meals, activities. Bet thinks they can manage just fine.

When they strike up an unlikely friendship with Marinela, a young Romanian woman, Bet thinks she has found the perfect solution – one that could change Marinela’s life as well as theirs. But this means revisiting an old love affair, and confronting a long-buried secret she has kept hidden from everyone, even Jack, for many years.

Tender, moving and beautifully told, Sarah Butler’s Jack & Bet is an unforgettable novel about love and loss, the joys and regrets of a long marriage, and the struggle to find a place to call home.

~ On my bedside table ~

A Springtime to Remember by Lucy Coleman

I’ve just started reading A Springtime to Remember by Lucy Coleman. Watch out for my review on 5th March.

A Springtime to Remember by Lucy Coleman

Paris and the Palace of Versailles have always meant a lot to TV producer Lexie. Her grandma Viv spent a year there, but her adventures and memories were never discussed, and Lexie has long wondered why they were a family secret. 

When work presents the perfect excuse to spend Springtime in Versailles, Lexie delves into Viv’s old diaries and scrapbooks, and with the help of handsome interpreter Ronan, she is soon learning more about the characters that tend to the magnificent gardens, now and in the past.

In amongst the beauty and splendour of the French countryside, a story of lost love, rivalry and tragedy unfolds.  Can Lexie and Ronan right the wrongs of the past, and will France play its tricks on them both before Lexie has to go home? Will this truly be a Springtime to Remember…

Let Lucy Coleman sweep you away with this perfect feel-good love story.


What books have you been reading and buying this week? Let me know by leaving a reply in the box below.

Until next week, happy reading!

Books · fiction · Giveaway · Other Bookish Things · Promotional Post · Romantic Novelists Association

Would you like to join the #RNA60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Facebook Group and win 60 Romantic Novels from 0ne More Chapter? @RNATweets @0neMoreChapter_ #RomanticFictionBookClub #RomFicBookClub

Happy Romance Reading Week! As it was Valentine’s Day on Friday, it is the perfect week to celebrate romance books.

The Romantic Novelists Association is celebrating it’s 60th anniversary this year and to mark this amazing occasion, the RNA has launched a new Facebook group, the Romantic Fiction Book Club. The group is a warm and cosy place for readers of romantic fiction to engage with other readers, bloggers and authors of romantic fiction, not just those members of the RNA.

What better way to start off the launch than with a competition! Run in conjunction with the publisher 0ne More Chapter, members of the Romantic Fiction Book Club group have the chance to win a fantastic bundle of 60 romantic novels, donated by 0ne More Chapter. There are also 60 runners up prizes of one book from a selection of 60 RNA authors. That a total of 61 prizes up for grabs! That’s great odds to win a book!!

I am going to stop talking now for a couple of minutes so you can take a look at the amazing books up for grabs!

RNA 60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Valentine's Day Launch Competition
RNA 60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Valentine's Day Launch Competition
RNA 60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Valentine's Day Launch Competition
RNA 60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Valentine's Day Launch Competition
RNA 60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Valentine's Day Launch Competition
RNA 60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Valentine's Day Launch Competition
RNA 60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Valentine's Day Launch Competition
RNA 60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Valentine's Day Launch Competition
RNA 60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Valentine's Day Launch Competition

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning these wonderful books is to join the Romantic Fiction Book Club here on Facebook and then enter the One More Chapter and RNA Diamond Anniversary Book Giveaway here.

The competition is running from 14th February until 29th February. Full details of how to enter can be found on the Romantic Fiction Book Club page. Extra entries can be claimed by subscribing to RNA and 0MC social media channels. UK entries only.

Good luck!!

If you’d like to find out more about the Romantic Fiction Book Club and how it came about, RNA author Jane Cable has written this article for Frost Magazine.

A Week in Books · Book Hauls · Book Post · Books · Cover Reveal · Daisy James · fiction · Literary Lowdown · Lucy Foley · Sheila O'Flanagan

Sarah's Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 3-9 February 2020

Welcome to this week’s round-up of book life at Sarah’s Vignettes.

Keep scrolling to get the lowdown on what’s been going on here at Sarah’s Vignettes, the books I’ve been adding to my shelves, and other bookish delights.

~ On the blog ~

The Cornish Confetti Agency by Daisy  James

On Thursday, I supported Daisy James with revealing the cover for her upcoming novel The Cornish Confetti Agency.

~ On my bookshelf ~

I’ve added 1 book to my shelf this week.

I’m taking part in a blog tour next month for Her Husband’s Mistake , Sheila O’Flanagan’s latest novel, which is out in paperback on 5th March 2020. Whilst I’ll only be sharing some content as part of my stop, the lovely people at Headline Review still sent me a copy of the book to read and review here at a later date. I can’t wait to read it!!

Her Husband’s Mistake by Sheila O’Flanagan

Roxy’s marriage has always been rock solid.

Her Husband's Mistake by Sheila O'Flanagan

After twenty years, and with two carefree kids, she and Dave are still the perfect couple.

Until the day she comes home unexpectedly, and finds Dave in bed with their attractive, single neighbour.

Suddenly Roxy isn’t sure about anything – her past, the business she’s taken over from her dad, or what her family’s future might be. She’s spent so long caring about everyone else that she’s forgotten what she actually wants. But something has changed. And Roxy has a decision to make.

Whether it’s with Dave, or without him, it’s time for Roxy to start living for herself…

~ On my bedside table ~

I’m currently reading and enjoying The Guest List by Lucy Foley. Watch out for my review on 29th February.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.
 
Old friends.
Past grudges.
 
Happy families.
Hidden jealousies.
 
Thirteen guests.
One body.
 
The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.

All have a secret. All have a motive.
One guest won’t leave this wedding alive . . .


What books have you been reading and buying this week? Let me know by leaving a reply in the box below.

Until next week, happy reading!

Books · Cover Reveal · Daisy James

Cover Reveal at Sarah's Vignettes: The Cornish Confetti Agency by Daisy James (@daisyjamesbooks) ~ @rararesources

I am thrilled to be supporting author Daisy James reveal the cover for her upcoming novel The Cornish Confetti Agency .

My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources, for the invitation to take part.

Before the big reveal, here is a little about The Cornish Confetti Agency .

~ Publisher’s Description ~

A gorgeous sun-filled new story from author of the Villa Limoncello series.

Welcome to The Cornish Confetti Agency!

When the grand finale of Lexie Harrington’s catwalk show ends with a disastrous twist on the ‘ice bucket challenge’, she was expecting her highly-strung boss to fire her on the spot. What she wasn’t expecting was to bump into her fiancé cosied up with an attractive blonde in the restaurant opposite their apartment!

Desperate to escape her heartbreak, Lexie flees to her childhood home of St Ives to hold the fort at The Cornish Confetti Agency for her best friend Freya, leader of the yummy mummy network and firm believer in ‘happily ever afters’. Little did she know that delivering a Caribbean-themed wedding in sunny Cornwall would rival the fashion industry for drama, tantrums and mysterious goings on.

Who is responsible for dousing the bridesmaid’s dress with tomato ketchup? Or hiding the bride’s beloved Jimmy Choos? Or attaching googly eyes to everything in sight?

The perfect Cornish wedding? Is there such a thing for The Cornish Confetti Agency?

~ Cover Reveal ~

Are you ready???????

Here it is!!

The Cornish Confetti Agency by Daisy James

I love this cover. It reminds me of summer. I hope you like it too 🙂 Let me know what you think in the comments at the end of the post.

~ Where to pre-order The Cornish Confetti Agency ~

The Cornish Confetti Agency will be published on 19th March. You can pre-order it on both Amazon UK and Amazon US.

~ About Daisy James ~

Daisy James

Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

Daisy would love to hear from readers via her Facebook page or you can follow her on Twitter @daisyjamesbooks or on Instagram @booksdaisyjames.

A Week in Books · Advanced Review Copy · Amelia Henley · Andi Osho · Anna bell · Blog Tours · Book events · Book Hauls · Books · Brian McGilloway · fiction · Jeffrey Archer · Jessica Ryn · Jo Piazza · Josie Lloyd · Libby Page · Literary Lowdown · Louise Hare · Nadine Matheson · Polly Crosby · Review Copy · Sairish Hussain · Stacey Halls · Tom Ellen

Sarah's Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 27 January – 2 February 2020

Welcome to this week’s round-up of book life at Sarah’s Vignettes.

Keep scrolling to get the lowdown on what’s been going on here at Sarah’s Vignettes, the books I’ve been adding to my shelves, the upcoming novels I’ve been hearing about and other bookish delights.

~ On the blog ~

The 24-Hour Café by LIbby Page

On Friday, I shared my review of The 24-Hour Café by Libby Page. This book truly touched my heart.

~ On my calendar ~

HQ New Voices Fiction Showcase

On Wednesday evening, I went to the HQ New Voices Fiction Showcase. We heard from 15 authors about their upcoming novels and even got to take home the books we want to read and review. You can find out all about the evening and the books here.

~ On my bookshelf ~

I’ve added 7 books to my shelf this week.

I got a copy of Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer in my local WHSmith for £2! My mum said I would enjoy it so I will give it a go soon.

Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer

Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer

They had only one thing in common . . .

William Lowell Kane and Abel Rosnovski, one the son of a Boston millionaire, the other a penniless Polish immigrant – two men born on the same day on opposite sides of the world, their paths destined to cross in the ruthless struggle to build a fortune.

Kane and Abel is the marvellous story, spanning sixty years, of two powerful men linked by an all-consuming hatred, brought together by fate to save . . . and finally destroy . . . each other.


Thank you to Emily Glenister and The Dome Press for sending me a copy of The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway ahead of the blog tour in April.

The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway

Tony, Hugh and Karen thought they’d seen the last of each other thirty years ago. Half a lifetime has passed and memories have been buried. But when they are asked to reunite – to lay ghosts to rest for the good of the future – they all have their own reasons to agree. As they take the ferry from Northern Ireland to Scotland the past is brought in to terrible focus – some things are impossible to leave behind.

In The Last Crossing memory is unreliable, truth shifts and slips and the lingering legacy of the Troubles threatens the present once again.


At the Showcase on Wednesday, the lovely team at HQ let us take home the books we want to read and review. Whilst all of the books from the evening are in my write-up post, I’ve listed below the ones I picked up.

The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain

The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain

Your roots can always lead you home…

Amjad cradles his baby daughter in the middle of the night. He has no time to mourn his wife’s death. Saahil and Zahra, his two small children, are relying on him. Amjad vows to love and protect them always.

Years later, Saahil and his best friend, Ehsan, have finished university and are celebrating with friends. But when the night turns dangerous, its devastating effects will ripple through the years to come.

Zahra’s world is alight with politics and activism. But she is now her father’s only source of comfort, and worries she’ll never have time for her own aspirations. Life has taken her small family in different directions – will they ever find their way back to each other?

The Family Tree is the moving story of a British Muslim family full of love, laughter and resilience as well as all the faults, mistakes and stubborn loyalties which make us human.


This Lovely City by Louise Hare

This Lovely City by Louise Hare

The drinks are flowing. The music’s playing. But the party can’t last.

London, 1950. With the Blitz over and London still rebuilding after the war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England’s call for help. Arriving from Jamaica aboard the Empire Windrush, he’s taken a tiny room in south London lodgings, and has fallen in love with the girl next door.

Touring Soho’s music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home — and it’s alive with possibility. Until one morning, while crossing a misty common, he makes a terrible discovery.


As the local community rallies, fingers of blame are pointed at those who had recently been welcomed with open arms. And before long, London’s newest arrivals become the prime suspects in a tragedy which threatens to tear the city apart. Immersive, poignant, and utterly compelling, Louise Hare’s debut examines the complexities of love and belonging, and teaches us that even in the face of anger and fear, there is always hope.


The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn

The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn

She’s always looking on the bright side…

Dawn Elisabeth Brightside has been running from her past for twenty-two years and two months, precisely.

So when she is offered a bed in St Jude’s Hostel for the Homeless, it means so much more than just a roof over her head.

But with St Jude’s threatened with closure, Dawn worries that everything is about to crumble around her all over again.

Perhaps, with a little help from her new friends, she can find a way to save this light in the darkness?

And maybe, just maybe, Dawn will finally have a place to call home…. 


The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby

The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby - cover to be revealed

Romilly lives in a ramshackle house with her eccentric artist father and her cat, Monty. She knows little about her past – but she knows that she is loved.

When her father finds fame with a series of children’s books starring her as the main character, everything changes: exotic foods appear on the table, her father appears on TV, and strangers appear at their door, convinced the books contain clues leading to a precious prize.

But as time passes, Romilly’s father becomes increasingly suspicious of the outside world until, before her eyes, he begins to disappear altogether. With no-one else to help, Romilly turns to the secrets her father has hidden in his illustrated books – realising that his treasure hunt doesn’t lead to gold, but to something far more precious…

The truth.

The Illustrated Child is the unforgettable, beguiling debut from Polly Crosby.


All About Us by Tom Ellen

All About Us by Tom Ellen

One moment in time can change your life forever…

Ben’s always loved the holidays but with his marriage to Daphne on the rocks, this year they’re missing their usual magic. So when his old flame Alice gets back in touch, Ben can’t help wonder: did he make the right choice all those years ago?

Yet everything changes on Christmas Eve when a twinkly-eyed stranger sells Ben a mysterious watch, the hands frozen at one minute to midnight. Opening his eyes the next morning, Ben is astonished to find that he has been catapulted back to 5th December 2005: the day he first kissed Daphne, leaving Alice behind.

Now Ben must make the biggest decision of his life, all over again. But this time around, will he finally find the courage to follow his heart?

All About Us is a deeply moving novel about love, loss and heartbreak — and how, with the help of a little magic, it’s never too late to find the one you’ve been searching for.

~ On my bookshelf ~

The Foundling by Stacey Halls

I’m currently reading The Foundling by Stacey Halls. Watch out for my review this month.


What books have you been reading and buying this week? Let me know by leaving a reply in the box below.

Until next week, happy reading!

Amelia Henley · Andi Osho · Anna bell · Book events · Christine Pride · fiction · Helen Monks Takhar · Jessica Ryn · Jo Piazza · Josie Lloyd · Louise Hare · Nadine Matheson · Other Bookish Things · Philippa East · Polly Crosby · Sairish Hussain · Tabitha Webb · Tom Ellen

HQ New Voices Fiction Showcase 2020 ~ @HQstories #HQNewVoices

On Wednesday, I was lucky to be invited to an evening showcasing authors and their novels being published by HQ, Harper Collins in 2020.

15 authors had 60-seconds to pitch their story to a bunch of journalists, bloggers and authors. We heard a little about each book, the inspiration behind the stories, and why we should read them.

HQ Authors

Let me tell you there are some great books coming out this year and we even got a sneak preview of three coming out in February 2021.

Afterwards, I got to chat with the authors, the HQ team and catch up with my fellow bloggers over drinks and canapés.

I came away with proof copies of several of the books from the night and I cannot wait to get started on them. I will of course share my thoughts with you on here and on my social media channels.

Keep scrolling to find out about the books we got to hear about. As can happen with previews, not all of the covers will be the final versions.

Little White Lies by Philippa East

Little White Lies by Philippa East

She only looked away for a second…

Anne White only looked away for a second, but that’s all it took to lose sight of her young daughter.

But seven years later, Abigail is found.

And as Anne struggles to connect with her teenage daughter, she begins to question how much Abigail remembers about the day she disappeared…


The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain

The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain

Your roots can always lead you home…

Amjad cradles his baby daughter in the middle of the night. He has no time to mourn his wife’s death. Saahil and Zahra, his two small children, are relying on him. Amjad vows to love and protect them always.

Years later, Saahil and his best friend, Ehsan, have finished university and are celebrating with friends. But when the night turns dangerous, its devastating effects will ripple through the years to come.

Zahra’s world is alight with politics and activism. But she is now her father’s only source of comfort, and worries she’ll never have time for her own aspirations. Life has taken her small family in different directions – will they ever find their way back to each other?

The Family Tree is the moving story of a British Muslim family full of love, laughter and resilience as well as all the faults, mistakes and stubborn loyalties which make us human.


This Lovely City by Louise Hare

This Lovely City by Louise Hare

The drinks are flowing. The music’s playing. But the party can’t last.

London, 1950. With the Blitz over and London still rebuilding after the war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England’s call for help. Arriving from Jamaica aboard the Empire Windrush, he’s taken a tiny room in south London lodgings, and has fallen in love with the girl next door.

Touring Soho’s music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home — and it’s alive with possibility. Until one morning, while crossing a misty common, he makes a terrible discovery.


As the local community rallies, fingers of blame are pointed at those who had recently been welcomed with open arms. And before long, London’s newest arrivals become the prime suspects in a tragedy which threatens to tear the city apart. Immersive, poignant, and utterly compelling, Louise Hare’s debut examines the complexities of love and belonging, and teaches us that even in the face of anger and fear, there is always hope.


The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn

The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn

She’s always looking on the bright side…

Dawn Elisabeth Brightside has been running from her past for twenty-two years and two months, precisely.

So when she is offered a bed in St Jude’s Hostel for the Homeless, it means so much more than just a roof over her head.

But with St Jude’s threatened with closure, Dawn worries that everything is about to crumble around her all over again.

Perhaps, with a little help from her new friends, she can find a way to save this light in the darkness?

And maybe, just maybe, Dawn will finally have a place to call home…. 


Precious You by Helen Monks Takhar

Precious You by Helen Monks Takhar

She has your job. Now she wants your life.

Trusting you was my first mistake…
 
At first Katherine dismisses her early-twenties intern as a millennial ‘snowflake’: soft, entitled, moralistic. But Lily’s youth and beauty remind Katherine of everything she once was, and she soon finds herself obsessively drawn to her new colleague.
 
But is Katherine simply jealous of Lily’s potential – or does she sense that her intern has a dark hidden agenda? A disturbing picture begins to emerge of two women who are not what they seem – and who are desperate enough to do anything to come out on top.

As their rivalry deepens and with their backs against the wall, the consequences are about to turn deadly…
 
Explosive and provocative, with shocking twists at every turn, Precious You is an addictive, revenge-fuelled thriller for our age.


The Cancer Ladies Running Club by Josie Lloyd

The Cancer Ladies Running Club by Josie Lloyd

Sometimes we find friendship in the most unexpected of places…

When Keira receives her breast cancer diagnosis she doesn’t want to have to tell her children or her husband Tom, and she doesn’t want to step back from work. She doesn’t want to sit in a hospital and stare mortality in the face, nor be part of a group of fellow cancer patients. Cancer is not her club.

But, as she is forced to accept everything must change and her health becomes something she can’t rely on, Keira finds herself embracing running. Hot, sweaty running in the company of a group of brilliant, funny women each going through treatment.

One step at a time Keira is going to reclaim something. Her family, her business, her life.

Moving and uplifting, this is a novel about love, family and the power of finding your tribe.


The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby

The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby - cover to be revealed

Romilly lives in a ramshackle house with her eccentric artist father and her cat, Monty. She knows little about her past – but she knows that she is loved.

When her father finds fame with a series of children’s books starring her as the main character, everything changes: exotic foods appear on the table, her father appears on TV, and strangers appear at their door, convinced the books contain clues leading to a precious prize.

But as time passes, Romilly’s father becomes increasingly suspicious of the outside world until, before her eyes, he begins to disappear altogether. With no-one else to help, Romilly turns to the secrets her father has hidden in his illustrated books – realising that his treasure hunt doesn’t lead to gold, but to something far more precious…

The truth.

The Illustrated Child is the unforgettable, beguiling debut from Polly Crosby.


The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley

The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley

What if you had a second chance at first love?

Anna and Adam meet when they are both recovering from heartbreaks of their own. Their connection is almost instant and they fall into the most passionate love affair of their lives.

Years later, the passion has faded and they have lost each other. Anna is beginning to wonder if they are meant to be forever after all when something happens that changes everything. Now, Anna is determined to find a way back to Adam, but the price she’ll have to pay is considerable. So she must decide: is a second chance at first love is worth the sacrifice?

A beautiful and emotional love story that asks, what if you had the chance for a ‘do over’ with your first love? Perfect for fans of The Man Who Didn’t Call and Miss You.

We Just Clicked by Anna Bell

We Just Clicked by Anna Bell

A fabulously funny, feel-good novel that will make you laugh until you cry, for anyone who’s ever presented a perfectly-filtered life online to hide the unglamorous reality.

Izzy Brown has always dreamed of being an Instagram influencer. So when her colleague and fellow Instagrammer Luke suggests they ‘fake date’ to boost their profiles, Izzy says yes – against her better judgement.

Now Izzy’s profile tells the story of a confident, glamorous thirty-something with the perfect boyfriend, and her follower numbers are shooting upwards. So what if Izzy can’t stop bickering with Luke, his habit of checking his quiff in every single mirror is driving her insane, and behind the scenes she’s hiding a secret heartache? Everyone tells a few fibs on social media, right?

But when Izzy runs into Aidan, the mysterious stranger who saved her the day her world fell apart two years ago, major sparks start to fly between them. Izzy’s sure she can have the online success she’s always dreamed of, whilst continuing to fall in love – and heal her heart – in real life. After all, Aidan doesn’t use social media… what could possibly go wrong?

If you loved Sophie Kinsella’s My Not-So Perfect Life, Laura Jane Williams’ Our Stop or Sophie Ranald’s Sorry Not Sorry, you will fall head over heels for this touching and hilarious new novel from Anna Bell, the bestselling author of The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart.

No Regrets by Tabitha Webb

No Regrets by Tabitha Webb

You only regret the things you don’t do, right?

Stella is having a bad week. A bad year, maybe. She loves her young boys, really she does, but her glittering career feels like a lifetime ago and she can’t even remember the last time she had sex.

Ana has already had sex three times today. It was good enough. Better than most. Not the best though – he was long gone, and probably bad news anyway. She just can’t help thinking, what if?

Dixie knows her dating life needs a spring clean. She’s reset her age (again), uploaded some new pictures, but certainly isn’t looking for Mr Right – nothing good ever comes from getting attached!

Maybe it’s time the three friends shake things up a little, before it’s too late…

All About Us by Tom Ellen

All About Us by Tom Ellen

One moment in time can change your life forever…

Ben’s always loved the holidays but with his marriage to Daphne on the rocks, this year they’re missing their usual magic. So when his old flame Alice gets back in touch, Ben can’t help wonder: did he make the right choice all those years ago?

Yet everything changes on Christmas Eve when a twinkly-eyed stranger sells Ben a mysterious watch, the hands frozen at one minute to midnight. Opening his eyes the next morning, Ben is astonished to find that he has been catapulted back to 5th December 2005: the day he first kissed Daphne, leaving Alice behind.

Now Ben must make the biggest decision of his life, all over again. But this time around, will he finally find the courage to follow his heart?

All About Us is a deeply moving novel about love, loss and heartbreak — and how, with the help of a little magic, it’s never too late to find the one you’ve been searching for.

We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza

This book is so new that it isn’t even online yet!

We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza

Asking For A Friend by Andi Osho

Coming out in February 2021. Here’s a sneak peak:

Asking For A Friend by Andi Osho

The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson

Appearing on shelves in February 2021. Here’s a sneak peak:

The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson

Well I think it is safe to say that 2020 is going to be a great reading year. Thank you to HQ for inviting me and for letting me come home with copies of the books.

Are there any books here that you’d like to read? Let me know in the comments below 🙂