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A Sarah's Vignettes Book Review: Hitler's Secret by Rory Clements ~ @ZaffreBooks ~ @Tr4cyF3nt0n #BlogTour

It’s a real pleasure to be kicking off the blog tour for Hitler’s Secret by Rory Clements.

Thank you to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Zaffre for sending me a digital copy of the book via NetGalley in return for this honest review.

Before I share my review with you, here is what Hitler’s Secret is about.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

In the Autumn of 1941, the war is going badly for Britain and its allies. If the tide is going to be turned against Hitler, a new weapon is desperately needed.

In Cambridge, brilliant history professor Tom Wilde is asked by an American intelligence officer to help smuggle a mysterious package out of Nazi Germany – something so secret, even Hitler himself doesn’t know of its existence.

Posing as a German-American industrialist, Wilde soon discovers the shocking truth about the ‘package’, and why the Nazis will stop at nothing to prevent it leaving Germany. With ruthless killers loyal to Martin Bormann hunting him down, Wilde makes a desperate gamble on an unlikely escape route. But even if he reaches England alive, that will not be the end of his ordeal. Wilde is now convinced that the truth he has discovered must remain hidden, even if it means betraying the country he loves . . .

~ My thoughts ~

When the invitation for this blog tour popped into my inbox, I was quite excited as I enjoy reading stories set in World War 2. Hitler’s Secret is quite different to other books I’ve read from this period though. It’s a gritty, dark, historical spy thriller that took me on quite a journey. 

When history professor Tom Wilde is asked to go undercover to Germany to pick up a ‘package’ to smuggle back to England, I’m not even sure he realises what he is taking on. What ensues is espionage, Boorman’s men chasing Wilde across land and sea who will do anything, and I mean anything, to destroy the package, mortal danger as well as other things that come with war: road blocks, checkpoints, not knowing who to trust, the list is endless. 

I thought the story was well plotted, researched and flowed. There are quite a few characters in the story so I had to concentrate a little but it soon become clear how they all fit together. I really like Tom Wilde as a character. He is a decent man and makes a brilliant agent.

Hitler’s Secret is the 4th book in a series featuring Tom Wilde. I’ve not read the other books in the series nor experienced Rory Clements writing before. I felt that it was fine to read as a standalone novel. However, I do like a back story and would love to know more about Wilde’s background and what missions he has been sent on in the past. This was a mission and half to say the least. I will definitely be reading the other books in the Tom Wilde series.

~ Where to find Hitler’s Secret ~

Hitler's Secret by Rory Clements

Hitler’s Secret by Rory Clements will be published by Zaffre in the UK on 23rd January 2020. It’s available to pre-order from all good bookshops as well at Amazon UK, Amazon US and can also be found on Goodreads.

~ About Rory Clements ~

Rory Clements

RORY CLEMENTS is a Sunday Times bestselling author. He is twice winner of the CWA Historical Dagger Award, most recently in 2018 for Nucleus, the second Tom Wilde novel. A TV series of Rory’s previous series, the John Shakespeare novels, is currently in development. Rory lives in Norfolk with his family. Find out more at www.roryclements.co.uk

*Author photograph from Goodreads

~ Follow the tour ~

Be sure to drop by the other stops on the Hitler’s Secret blog tour!

A Week in Books · Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Book Hauls · Books · Crime · fiction · Libby Page · Literary Lowdown · R.C. Bridgestock · Rebecca Ley · Recommended Reads · Review Copy · Reviews · Rory Clements

Sarah's Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 13 January – 19 January 2020 #SundayBlogShare

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 ~

Payback by R.C. Bridgestock

On Tuesday, I shared my review of Payback by R.C. Bridgestock. This is the first book in a new series from husband and wife co-authors Robert and Carol Bridgestock and I loved it! It is a professional, all-consuming crime novel that left me wanting more.

~ On my bookshelf ~

I’ve added 1 book to my shelf this week. It is a digital advanced review copy of For When I’m Gone by Rebecca Ley, which is due to be published on 14th May 2020. This is Rebecca’s debut novel and, although I think it will be tough to read emotionally, I’m looking forward to discovering her writing.

For When I’m Gone by Rebecca Ley

For When I'm Gone by Rebecca Ley

A life cut short. A grieving family. A mother’s guide to surviving without her…

On the surface Sylvia and Paul’s marriage is perfection: she is beautiful, alluringly spiky and brilliantly clever, he is a devoted and doting husband and father to their two young children, Megan and Jude.

When Sylvia is diagnosed with terminal cancer at 38, she knows that she must help Paul navigate the chaos of family life in her absence and that the time has come for a secret she has kept from him throughout their marriage to finally be aired. Sylvia starts to write a manual: a guidebook to their shared domesticity.

As Paul learns to live and love without Sylvia, he realises the extent of her legacy and finds himself indebted once more to his extraordinary, difficult wife, for saving them from an even greater tragedy…

FOR WHEN I’M GONE is about what it means to leave life unfinished, as well as the compromises of a marriage and motherhood. Inspiring and heart-breaking in equal measure, this debut marks Rebecca Ley out as a stunning new talent.

~ On my bedside table ~

Hitler's Secret by Rory Clements
The 24-Hour Café by Libby Page

Yesterday, I finished reading Hitler’s Secret by Rory Clements. Watch out for my review tomorrow. I’m going to read The 24-Hour Café by Libby Page next.


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!

Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · fiction · R.C. Bridgestock · Review Copy · Reviews

A Sarah's Vignettes Book Review: Payback by R.C. Bridgestock (@RCBridgestock) ~ @DomePress #BlogTour

I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the Payback blog tour. I loved this book and I am so excited to be able to share it with you.

Thank you to Emily Glenister at The Dome Press for inviting me to take part in the tour and for sending me a proof copy of the book in return for this honest review.

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

~ Publisher’s Description ~

Charley Mann left Yorkshire for the Met and a fast-track career – but now she’s back, she’s in charge and the area’s first young, female DI.

Her hometown, the Yorkshire countryside, and her old friends all seem unchanged but appearances can be deceptive.

When a brutal murder is discovered, Charley is forced to question everything, and the interest of her ex – reporter Danny Ray – doesn’t make it easier.

~ My thoughts ~

This is the first novel I’ve read by the crime writing duo R.C. Bridgestock and I loved it. I am really pleased that I have discovered their excellent writing at the beginning of the DI Charley Mann series.

I’m quite partial to watching a British detective tv drama and that’s what Payback feels like. My imagination was the screen. There is such a high level of detail that I could see the story vividly – even the bits I didn’t want to see.

R.C. Bridgestock’s wealth of police experience is evident throughout the story. Payback is a step by step account of police process and procedure, from crime scene, informing press, setting up the incident room, press conference, to following up on leads, interviewing suspects, closing a case. Most of one chapter is the post mortem on a body. It is brilliantly done and felt like a scene from Silent Witness. 

DI Charley Mann is the protagonist and our narrator. I really warmed to her. She is in her late twenties and has just returned from working in the Met to her home town where she has a lot to prove as the youngest DI in her area. As the story progresses, we learn about Charley and what makes her tick. I feel we have only just touched the surface with Charley’s story and there is a lot more to come from her.

All of the characters are well developed. There are old time police officers, young police officers wanting to make an impression on their new boss, the station cleaner that looks after everyone and so on. I felt a part of this police station and investigation.

Payback is a brilliant, professional, all-consuming crime novel that has left me wanting more. I am really looking forward to the next book in the series. I highly recommend this book!

~ Where to find Payback ~

Payback by R.C. Bridgestock

Payback by R.C. Bridgestock was published in the UK by The Dome Press on 9th January 2020. It can be found in all good bookshops as well at Amazon UK, Amazon US and on Goodreads.

~ About R.C. Bridgestock ~

R.C. Bridgestock is the name that husband and wife co-authors Robert (Bob) and Carol Bridgestock write under. Between them they have nearly 50 years of police experience, offering an authentic edge to their stories. The writing duo created the character DI Jack Dylan, the ninth book of which was published by The Dome Press in 2019, along with their backlist.

Bob was a highly commended career detective of 30 years, retiring at the rank of Detective Superintendent. During his last three years, he took charge of 26 murders, 23 major incidents, over 50 suspicious deaths and numerous sexual assaults. He was also a trained hostage negotiator with suicide interventions, kidnap, terrorism and extortion. Bob was seconded to a protracted enquiry investigating alleged police corruption in another force. He worked on the Yorkshire Ripper and Sarah Harper murder, and received praise from Crown Court Judges and Chief Constables alike for outstanding work at all ranks, including winning the much-coveted Dennis Hoban Trophy.

As a police civilian supervisor, Carol also received a Chief Constable’s commendation for outstanding work.

The couple are the storyline consultants / police procedural on BAFTA-winning BBC1 police drama Happy Valley and series 3 of ITV’s Scott and Bailey, and are presently working with Scott Free Production scriptwriters on two commissioned TV drama series.

The couple pride themselves on being up-to-date on past and present day UK police procedures, and as a result, Bob is regularly sought by UK television, radio and national and local newspapers for comment on developing major crime incidents etc. They have also taken part in BBC Radio 4 (Steve) PUNT P.I.

Carol and Bob are also patrons and ambassadors for several charities.

~ Follow the tour ~

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

Payback Blog Tour
Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · fiction · Megan Angelo · Review Copy · Reviews

A Sarah's Vignettes Book Review: Followers by Megan Angelo (@meganangelo) ~ @HQstories #BlogTour

Welcome to my stop on the Followers blog tour. Thank you to HQ, Harper Collins, for inviting me to take part in the tour and for sending me a proof copy of the book in return for this honest review.

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

~ Publisher’s Description ~

When everyone is watching you can run, but you can’t hide…

2051. Marlow and her mother, Floss, have been handpicked to live their lives on camera, in the closed community of Constellation.

Unlike her mother, who adores the spotlight, Marlow hates having her every move judged by a national audience.

But she isn’t brave enough to escape until she discovers a shattering secret about her birth.

Now she must unravel the truth around her own history in a terrifying race against time…

~ My thoughts ~

Well this was an interesting read indeed. It took me a while to get my head around what I had read and the journey I had been on as a reader.

Followers is well written, intelligently constructed and thought-provoking. In this debut, Megan Angelo looks at friendship, our internet obsessed culture, privacy, the choices we make and their ramifications. It gives a chilling and unsettling view into the not so distant future.

As the book title suggests, Followers deep dives into lives lived through the digital world, mainly social media, and what it means to have your 15 minutes of fame. Set between 2015 and 2051, it follows the lives of Orla Cadden and her roomate Floss in 2015, and Marlo thirty years later.

Orla works as a blogger for a celebrity website and Floss has desires to become a famous singer. Floss is very much influenced by what she sees on Instagram and uses her friendship with Orla to try to achieve her ambitions. Fast forward to 2051 and to Constellation, a closed Californian village where the government has appointed people to live their lives online 24/7. How well storylines are received by followers, dictates what paths the inhabitants lives will take. Marlow has over 12 million followers but she doesn’t like the attention. For one of the storylines, she discovers something that will change the course of her life and questions everything she has ever known.

I did find that it took me a while to get into the book. For me, the chapters are quite long (I am a fan of short chapters) but there is a lot of story to get across. The chapters alternate between the present and the future until they collide in an event, that changes the lives of American citizens forever. I was really curious to see where Megan Angelo was taking the story. She shines a lot on how social media can affect our mental health and dictate our lives, if we let it. It left me valuing human interaction even more.

~ Where to find Followers ~

Followers by Megan Angelo

Followers by Megan Angelo will be published by HQ in the UK on 9th January 2020. It can be found in all good bookshops as well at Amazon UK, Amazon US and on Goodreads.

~ About Megan Angelo ~

Megan has written about television, film, women and pop culture, and motherhood for publications including The New York Times (where she helped launch city comedy coverage), Glamour (where she was a contributing editor and wrote a column on women and television), Elle, The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, and Slate. She is a native of Quakertown, Pennsylvania and a graduate of Villanova University. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her family. FOLLOWERS is her first novel.

*Author biography and photograph from Goodreads

~ Follow the tour ~

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

Followers blog tour banner
A Week in Books · Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · Carol Drinkwater · Christmas · Extracts · fiction · Gill Thompson · Joanna Lumley · John Julius Norwich · Julian Fellowes · Linn B. Halton · Literary Lowdown · Liz Fenwick · Megan Angelo · Non-Fiction · Recommended Reads · Rowan Coleman

Sarah's Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 8 December 2019

Welcome to this week’s round-up of what’s been going on here at Sarah’s Vignettes, on social media, the books I’ve been adding to my shelves and other bookish delights. Keep scrolling to get the lowdown.

~ On the blog ~

The Child on Platform One by Gill Thompson

On Monday, it was my stop on the blog tour for The Child on Platform One by Gill Thompson. Sadly, I didn’t have time to read and review the book for the tour but I was able to share a powerful extract from it.

~ On social media ~

For #ThrowbackThursday, I looked back on my review of A Greek Affair by Linn B. Halton.


On Friday, I took part in R3COMM3ND3D2019, a brilliant feature run by fellow book blogger Emma Welton. Emma has invited book bloggers, authors and publishers to choose and talk about three must-read books published in 2019.

This was a tough choice as I have read and shouted about many great books this year but these 3 are high up on my list:

~ On my calendar ~

The Ultimate Christmas Cracker, how to Academy event

On Wednesday night, I went to John Julius Norwich’s Ultimate Christmas Cracker in London and it was a real treat. Here’s a bit about it from the event web page:

In 1969, John Julius Norwich, the legendary popular historian, gathered together the favourite things he’d come across in the last 365 days into one short charming pamphlet. Initially just a treat for his friends, it rapidly turned into a huge word-of-mouth success.

This Christmas, How To Academy brings together an all-star cast including – Julian Fellowes, Joanna Lumley, Antony Beevor, and John Julius’s children Artemis and Jason Cooper – to celebrate this institution of English Christmas, honour the memory of John Julius Norwich, and read the finest Crackers from their illustrious 50 year history.

Joanna Lumley, Antony Beevor, Artemis Cooper, Jason Cooper, Julian Fellowes

It was such fun listening to Joanne Lumley and Julian Fellowes read and act out these Christmas Crackers. They truly are national treasures.

Joanna Lumley

Before I went to the event, it hadn’t occurred to me that the cast might be signing copies of their books. I am a huge fan of Joanna Lumley’s work, particularly her documentaries. So, when I had the chance to meet her, I was completely starstruck! There aren’t many times where I am lost for words but this was one of those moments.

Joanna Lumley

~ On my bookshelf ~

I added 2 books to my bookshelf this week. One signed memoir and one proof copy of a fiction book, due out in January 2020.

Absolutely by Joanna Lumley

Absolutely by Joanna Lumley

The absolutely fabulous Joanna Lumley opens her private albums for this illustrated memoir. The real-life scrapbook of the woman known as AbFab’s Patsy Stone, this is an intimate memoir of one of Britain’s undisputed national treasures. A former model and Bond girl, her distinctive voice has been supplied for animated characters, film narration, and AOL’s “You’ve got mail” notification in the UK. She discusses speaking out as a human rights activist for Survival International and the recent Gurkha Justice Campaign for which she is now considered a “national treasure” of Nepal because of her support. She has won two BAFTA awards, but it is the sheer diversity of her life that makes her story so compelling; early years in Kashmir and Malaya, growing up in Kent, then a photographic model before becoming an actress, appearing in a huge range of roles.


Followers by Megan Angelo

Followers by Megan Angelo

When everyone is watching you can run, but you can’t hide…

2051. Marlow and her mother, Floss, have been handpicked to live their lives on camera, inclosed community of Constellation.

Unlike her mother, who adores the spotlight, Marlow hates having her every move judged by a national audience.

But she isn’t brave enough to escape until she discovers a shattering secret about her birth.

Now she must unravel the truth around her own history in a terrifying race against time…

An explosive and unsettling novel set in the near-future, perfect for fans of Station Eleven, Black Mirror, The Circle and Friend Request.

~ On my bedside table ~

The Christmas Party by Karen Swan

I finished reading The Christmas Party by Karen Swan last night. It is a brilliant read and I’ll be sharing my review here soon.


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!

Blog Tours · Books · Extracts · fiction · Gill Thompson

Sarah’s Vignettes: Extract from The Child on Platform One by Gill Thompson (@wordkindling) ~ @headlinepg ~ @annecater #RandomThingsTours #BlogTour

Welcome to Sarah’s Vignettes stop on the blog tour for The Child on Platform One by Gill Thompson.

I am so pleased to be taking part in this tour and thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

I was sad that I couldn’t fit in a review for this book. It is exactly my kind of historical read as I gravitate towards stories set in World War 2. However, after reading the extract below, I will be reading and reviewing the book at some point. It’s powerful.

Before I share the extract with you, here is what The Child on Platform One is about.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

Inspired by the real-life escape of thousands of Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Europe on the Kindertransport trains to London, the new novel from the author of The Oceans Between Us Gill Thompson. For readers of The Tattooist of Auschwitz Heather Morris, The Choice Edith Eger and Lilac Girls Martha Hall Kelly.

Prague 1939. Young mother Eva has a secret from her past. When the Nazis invade, Eva knows the only way to keep her daughter Miriam safe is to send her away – even if it means never seeing her again. But when Eva is taken to a concentration camp, her secret is at risk of being exposed.

In London, Pamela volunteers to help find places for the Jewish children arrived from Europe. Befriending one unclaimed little girl, Pamela brings her home. It is only when her young son enlists in the RAF that Pamela realises how easily her own world could come crashing down.

~ Extract from The Child on Platform One ~

11

The guard’s whistle blew. Pamela put her head out of the window to check that all the children were safely on board. Further down the platform, a wailing child was being forced into a carriage by a clearly agitated mother. How awful. As the train pulled out, Pamela hurried down the corridor to check on the little girl. As she did so, she caught the mother’s eye. There was no time to call out that everything would be all right, even if she could find the words, but in that split second of contact she concentrated all her efforts on silently assuring the woman that she’d protect her child. She saw the woman turn to her companion and they put their arms round each other. She couldn’t bear to think how hard it must be for them to hand over their children. She twisted her wedding ring round her finger as she thought of Will, and silently thanked God he was safe.
She found the little girl, her face buried in her doll, sitting by the window, her small legs dangling. Opposite her was a boy of a similar age, imperturbably munching on a hunk of black bread. For a second Pamela thought of Margery Weston, who no doubt had purchased new provisions and was tucking into them heartily. How strange that some people could carry on eating even in the most extreme of circumstances. She herself certainly couldn’t manage a morsel.

She sat down carefully next to the child. Her long hair, probably carefully brushed by her mother, was frizzy where it had rubbed against the seat. Pamela longed to smooth it but didn’t want to scare her. The girl had brown frightened eyes in a white face and looked about five or six. ‘Seef por ardku?’ Pamela asked. Are you all right? Mrs Brevda had taught her well. She was quite fluent now.
The little girl nodded woefully.
‘Yak-say-manyouyesh?’ What’s your name?
‘Miriam,’ the girl whispered.
Pamela gently stroked the doll’s hair. ‘Jakka hezka panenka.’ What a pretty doll! Thank goodness she’d had all that practice with Agata. She reached out to shake the doll’s hand, just as she had with Agata’s doll in the hospital. The child gave a half-smile. Pamela gestured to her to hand the doll over, and soon they were playing hide-and-seek with it. Even the little boy joined in. By the time the train pulled to a halt an hour later, the children had started to laugh a little.
Pamela walked up the train to find out why they had stopped. They were at a station. Terezin, the sign said. She located Margery, who was gesticulating at an official with a hand that still clutched an apple. Tiny bits of the fruit’s flesh flew through the air. ‘Ah, Pamela. Perhaps you can help.’
‘I’ll try.’ Pamela stepped forward and exchanged a few sentences with the man. ‘Apparently some important papers are missing. We can’t cross into Germany without them.’
Margery blew out her cheeks. ‘Oh no. How frustrating. I was assured everything was in order.’
Pamela bit her lip. They had such a long way to go, and already there was a holdup when they’d barely started. 

Margery had no choice but to dispatch Patrick Smith back to Prague to collect the necessary papers. Pamela looked out of the window to see the black ulster coat scuttling self-importantly up the platform, ready to catch the return train. Perhaps Smith was more competent than he’d appeared.
It had been nice to be back in Prague, however briefly. Despite the pain of her accident, and the horror of Ada’s death, Pamela still had some good memories of Czechoslovakia: the warmth and kindness of the people . . . the beauty of the landscape . . . even the food had been interesting, though very different to Hampstead fare. Most of all, it was tremendous to feel she was doing something. She had her part to play: registering the children, issuing brown labels, trying to console distraught mothers. It had been a very long time since she’d felt she was genuinely helping. I feel like a Quaker again, she realised. At long last the guilt of compromise, hypocrisy even, was beginning to recede. Hugh was doing his bit at the Foreign Office; she was rescuing refugees. Finally they were working as a team.
Their train waited at Terezin for four hours, while others moved through the station past it. Four hours of checking on the children, joining in with ‘Hoppe, hoppe Reiter’, which they seemed to want to sing countless times, making sure they didn’t eat all their food, placing blankets over those who had fallen asleep, comforting those who were distressed. And all the time listening to Margery’s infuriated rants and feeling her own blood pressure rise alarmingly. By the time Patrick Smith finally returned with the vital papers, and the train jerked into action, Pamela was exhausted and frustrated. They had so much time to make up. 

The motion of the train lulled more children to sleep, and eventually Pamela felt she could relax. For the first few hours the windows were filled with mountains and forests, just as when they’d travelled through Germany for their ski trip. She’d forgotten how beautiful the country was. How could such splendour and tranquillity have spawned such a warlike people? Adolf Hitler was a powerful man, there was no doubt about that. Thank God Chamberlain was holding him off for now, but Pamela had seen the worry and fear etched on the faces of the people at the Wilson station. Occupation was a terrible thing. She hoped it would never come to that in Britain.
When they stopped at Cologne, German officers boarded the train. Pamela heard the thud of their boots as they made their way up the corridors. She looked out of the window. Nazi flags hung from each lamp post; there were black swastikas in white circles and posters of Hitler everywhere. The air crackled with tension.
Suddenly their compartment door burst open and a German officer appeared, lurching slightly in the entrance. Pamela’s mouth turned paper-dry, and she held her breath. The officer strode up to Miriam and motioned to her doll. ‘What have we here?’
Miriam held out the doll with a shaking hand. The man grabbed it and dangled it out of the window, his fingers forcing the little cloth limbs to jerk up and down. ‘Help me,’ he cried in a high-pitched voice, then laughed at his own pantomime. Miriam was frozen with terror.
The little boy shifted in his seat. Pamela put her palm on his shoulder to restrain him, then strode over to the window.
 
‘Stop it,’ she said, as vehemently as she dared. ‘You’re upsetting the children.’
She had no idea if the officer understood her words, but he’d caught her tone. He shrugged, drew the doll back in and tossed it onto Miriam’s lap. Pamela hoped he’d leave them alone after that, but instead he hauled the children’s cases down from the luggage rack. As he dropped them on the floor, one of them burst open, revealing a neat stack of clothes.
The German pulled the garments out and flung them behind him, creating an untidy pile of skirts and dresses, several made from the same material. Something caught in Pamela’s throat. Miriam’s mother must have sewn them for her. She was obviously expecting them to be apart for some time. The officer grabbed another lot of belongings from the suitcase and dropped them on the floor. There was a smashing sound.
‘I can assure you everything here is in order,’ Pamela said.
The German ignored her.
Anger tightened in a band across her chest. ‘Enough!’ she shouted. She marched up to the German, snapped the suitcase shut, and hauled it across the floor away from him. ‘What kind of man are you that you victimise defenceless children? You should be ashamed of yourself,’ she hissed, putting as much venom in her voice as she could. Even if he didn’t speak English, there was no doubt about her anger. Let him attack her if he wanted – the man in the homburg would surely come to her aid soon – but these children were terrified. They had barely anything of their own. How dare he ransack their cases? 

The German scowled. Pamela stood her ground. Where on earth was the homburg man? ‘Keep away from these children. Their things are not yours to take.’ She made a shooing gesture with her hand. ‘Get out this minute!’
The German’s eyes bulged. He aimed a kick at the suitcase, then left the compartment.
Pamela’s legs were suddenly hollow. When she knelt down quickly in front of Miriam, it was as much to stop herself falling over as to reassure the child.
‘Come on, dear,’ she said in Czech. It was almost impossible to speak, her mouth was so dry. ‘Let’s repack your suitcase.’ She started to refold the girl’s dresses and place them carefully back in the case. A photo in a broken frame had slid under the seat. She picked it up to see a smiling Jewish couple, the little girl seated between them. ‘Don’t worry,’ she told her. ‘We’ll get this mended for you when we get to England.’ The child gulped and hugged her doll tightly.
Pamela heaved the cases back into the overhead rack.
‘Will you be all right now?’
Miriam and the boy both nodded.
She strode into the next-door compartment to find the man Lord Halifax had supposedly sent to keep an eye on her still sitting behind his newspaper, his homburg intact. The pages shook slightly in his hands.
She stood in front of him, hands on hips, until he lowered his paper. His face was pale and his forehead gleamed with sweat.
‘I thought you were here to help,’ she said.
The man swallowed. ‘Er, sorry. Got engrossed.’ He wiped his palms down his trousers. ‘Are you all right?’ 

~ Where to find The Child on Platform One ~

The Child on Platform One by Gill Thompson

The Child on Platform One was published in the UK by Headline Review on 1 December 2019. It can be found in all good bookshops, on Amazon UK and on Goodreads.

~ About Gill Thompson ~

Gill Thompson, author, The Child on Platform One

Gill Thompson is an English lecturer who completed an MA in Creative Writing at Chichester University. Her debut novel, The Oceans Between Us, was a No. 1 digital bestseller and has been highly acclaimed. She lives with her family in West Sussex and teaches English to college students.

W: wordkindling.co.uk ~ T: @wordkindling

~ Follow the tour ~

Be sure to drop by the other blogs on the tour!

Blog tour poster: The Child on Platform One by Gill Thompson
A Week in Books · Advanced Review Copy · Books · fiction · Heidi Swain · Karen Swan · Libby Page · Literary Lowdown · Nikola Scott

Sarah's Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 1 December 2019

Welcome to this week’s round-up of what’s been going on here at Sarah’s Vignettes, on social media, the books I’ve been adding to my shelves and other bookish delights. Keep scrolling to get the lowdown.

~ On the blog ~

On Wednesday, I took part in a meme run by fellow book blogger Lisa over at Bookshelf Fantasies called Shelf Control. The idea is to choose a book on your bookshelf that you haven’t read yet and talk about when you got it and why you want to read it.

Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage by Heidi Swain

For this week’s post, I chose Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage by Heidi Swain. How beautiful is the cover! It’s so inviting.

~ On social media ~

For #ThrowbackThursday, I chose Summer of Secrets by Nikola Scott.

~ On my bookshelf ~

I added 1 book to my digital bookshelf this week. It is an advanced copy of The 24-Hour Café by Libby Page, due out in 23rd January 2020.

The 24-Hour Café by Libby Page

The 24-Hour Café by Libby Page

Day and night Stella’s Café opens its doors for the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It is many things to many people but most of all it is a place where life can wait at the door. A place of small kindnesses. A place where anyone can be whoever they want, where everyone is always welcome.

Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They work at Stella’s but they dream of more, of leaving the café behind and making their own way in life.

Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café; a day when Hannah and Mona’s friendship will be tested, when the community will come together and when lives will be changed . . .

~ On my bedside table ~

The Christmas Party by Karen Swan

I’m reading The Christmas Party by Karen Swan and I’m really enjoying it!


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!