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Review: The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunnis (@EmilyGunnis) @headlinepg

I am thrilled to be sharing my review of The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunnis. When it was first published as an eBook, I couldn’t commit to reading to review at the time but I knew that it was a book that I wanted to read. Six months later, I finally got to read it, and it did not disappoint!

Thank you to Phoebe Swinburn at Headline Books for sending me a proof copy of the book in return for an honest review.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

A heartbreaking letter. A girl locked away. A mystery to be solved.

1956. When Ivy Jenkins falls pregnant she is sent in disgrace to St Margaret’s, a dark, brooding house for unmarried mothers. Her baby is adopted against her will. Ivy will never leave.

Present day. Samantha Harper is a journalist desperate for a break. When she stumbles on a letter from the past, the contents shock and move her. The letter is from a young mother, begging to be rescued from St Margaret’s. Before it is too late. 
Sam is pulled into the tragic story and discovers a spate of unexplained deaths surrounding the woman and her child. With St Margaret’s set for demolition, Sam has only hours to piece together a sixty-year-old mystery before the truth, which lies disturbingly close to home, is lost for ever…

Read her letter. Remember her story…

~ My thoughts ~

The Girl in the Letter is a dual-time frame novel, which alternates between the 1950s and one weekend in 2016. In 2016, Sam’s grandmother finds some old letters in her grandfather’s belongings from a girl called Ivy, detailing her experiences in a mother and baby home in West Sussex in the 1950s. Sam feels drawn to these letters and so begins her journey of finding out who Ivy was and what happened to her and her baby.

Crikey, what an intense read. I finished it a couple of months ago and I think my heart has only just returned to beating its usual rhythm!

The Girl in the Letter is heartbreaking, gut wrenching and gripping. A couple of times I did have to put the book down for a breather because I couldn’t bear to read how Ivy, the other girls and their babies were being treated by the nuns in the home. That reaction is testament to Emily Gunnis’s powerful writing. I have read about these homes in Ireland but I hadn’t realised that they were also in England and until quite the 1970s too. It makes me so angry to think how these girls and women were punished for having children.

The Girl in the Letter is a powerful and emotive read. What a brilliant debut and I am looking forward to reading Emily’s next book.

~ Where to find The Girl in the Letter ~

The Girl in the Letter was published by the Headline Books as an eBook in August 2018 and will be published in paperback in April 2019. It can be found at Amazon UK and on Goodreads.

~ About Emily Gunnis ~

Emily Gunnis previously worked in TV drama and lives in Brighton with her young family. She is one of the four daughters of Sunday Times bestselling author Penny Vincenzi. You can find Emily on Twitter at @EmilyGunnis.

Alis Hawkins · Books · Crime · Recommended Reads · The Riviera Woman

None So Blind by Alis Hawkins (@Alis_Hawkins) @DomePress ~ Recommended Read ~ The Riviera Woman

The Riviera Woman

I regularly share my top reads from this blog over at The Riviera Woman.

The Riviera Woman, run by Anna Fill, helps women living or working on the Riviera live life to the full with it’s inspirational people and interesting articles.

For December, I have chosen None So Blind by Alis Hawkins. You can read my review here.

Blog Tours · Books · Crime · Review Copy · Reviews

Blog Tour, Review, Giveaway: None So Blind by Alis Hawkins (@Alis_Hawkins) @DomePress

I am thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for None So Blind by Alis Hawkins. Thank you to Emily Glenister and The Dome Press for asking me to be involved and for sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review. 

In this tour, I have my review to share with you and a giveaway where you can win a copy of the book. Scroll down to find out what I thought of the book and to enter the giveaway. 

~ Publisher’s Description ~

West Wales, 1850.
When an old tree root is dug up, the remains of a young woman are found. Harry Probert-Lloyd, a young barrister forced home from London by encroaching blindness, has been dreading this discovery.

He knows exactly whose bones they are.

Working with his clerk, John Davies, Harry is determined to expose the guilty, but the investigation turns up more questions than answers.

The search for the truth will prove costly. Will Harry and John be the ones to pay the highest price?

~ My thoughts ~

None So Blind is the first book in The Teifi Valley Coroner series by Alis Hawkins. Set in Wales in 1850, seven years after the Rebecca Riots, it is a story full of secrets, deceit, disguise, lies, love, revolt and so much more. I loved it!

Cleverly plotted with absorbing characters, None So Blind is told in six parts, from Discovery through to Afterwards, each section alternating between the points of view of Harry Probert-Lloyd and John Davies. Harry is an extremely interesting and well-crafted main character. Rapidly losing his sight, he is forced back home to the Teifi Valley from his work as a barrister in London. When human remains are found under an uprooted tree, he knows who they belong to and, with the assistance of his clerk, John Davies, is determined to find out how they got there. Harry and John make a great detective duo and I am excited to follow their stories through the series.

I enjoy reading both crime fiction and historical fiction but I think that this might be the first time I have read an historical crime fiction novel, and it has started something! Enter into a world without DNA to support crime solving, where horses or walking are the only modes of transport to visit suspects and witnesses, letter writing is the only way to contact people and share news. Ooh, it was fun living in this Victorian world and I didn’t want it to end. It was so easy to pick up None So Blind  and think I would just read a couple of chapters but then it was impossible to put down. It was so captivating! Alis Hawkins has a subtle way of slowly drawing in the reader to this dark world and it was a page turner from the beginning. 

I am really looking forward to finding out what Alis Hawkins conjures up for the next book in the series.

~ Where to find None So Blind ~

None So Bind  was published in November 2018 by The Dome Press and can be found at the following links:

Goodreads            Amazon UK          Amazon US

~ Giveaway ~

For your chance to win a paperback copy of None So Blind , click on the button below. The giveaway is open until 12am on 29 November 2018. A winner will be announced shortly afterwards. UK and Ireland entries only please. Good luck!! Full terms and conditions are below the entry button.

*Terms and Conditions –UK and Ireland entries only.  Please enter using the button above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Sarah’s Vignettes will delete the data.  Sarah’s Vignettes is not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

~ About Alis Hawkins ~
Alis Hawkins
Alis Hawkins

Alis Hawkins grew up on a dairy farm in Cardiganshire. She left to read English at Oxford and has done various things with her life, including bringing up two amazing sons, selling burgers, working with homeless people and helping families to understand their autistic children. And writing, always.

Radio plays (unloved by anybody but her), nonfiction (autism related), plays (commissioned by heritage projects) and of course, novels.

Her current historical crime series featuring blind investigator Harry Probert-Lloyd and his chippy assistant John Davies, is set in her childhood home, the Teifi Valley. As a side effect, instead of making research trips to sunny climes, like some of her writer friends, she just drives up the M4 to see her folks.

Alis speaks Welsh, collects rucksacks and can’t resist an interesting fact.

Find out more at www.alishawkins.co.uk and follow Alis on Twitter at @Alis_Hawkins.

~ Follow the Tour ~

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

None So Blind Blog Tour poster
None So Blind Blog Tour 
Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · Nikola Scott · Review Copy · Reviews

Blog Tour: Review of Summer of Secrets by Nikola Scott (@nikola_scott) @headlinepg @annecater

I am pleased to share with you my review of Summer of Secrets by Nikola Scott.

Thank you to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of the blog tour and for arranging for a proof copy of the book from Headline Review in return for an honest review.

Before I share my thoughts with you, here is what Summer of Secrets is about.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

August 1939

At peaceful Summerhill, orphaned Maddy hides from the world and the rumours of war. Then her adored sister Georgina returns from a long trip with a new friend, the handsome Victor. Maddy fears that Victor is not all he seems, but she has no idea just what kind of danger has come into their lives…

Today

Chloe is newly pregnant. This should be a joyful time, but she is fearful for the future, despite her husband’s devotion. When chance takes her to Summerhill, she’s drawn into the mystery of what happened there decades before. And the past reaches out to touch her in ways that could change everything…

~ My thoughts ~

Summer of Secrets is a story primarily about love. The love you have for your siblings; the love you have for your partner; the love you have for your parents; and what happens when this becomes destructive.

Set in a dual timeline, Summer of Secrets tells the story of sisters Maddie and Georgiana in the Summer of 1939. It is the eve of the outbreak of WW2 and Maddie is sheltered at their childhood home of Summerhill, on the idyllic Cornish coast. When Georgiana returns home from a trip to Europe, Maddie is thrilled as she thinks they can see the war through together. However, Georgiana returns accompanied by friends she has met along the way, and one friend in particular, Victor, is not all he seems. The historical story of Summer of Secrets is interesting as the two sisters reminisce and come to terms with their lives as they are. There are a few secrets along the way and one I definitely didn’t see coming. Maddie’ story is emotive and highly descriptive. However, it is the present day story which captured my attention more.

On the outside, Chloe has it all: a beautiful home, married to devoted doctor, Aidan, and has just discovered she is pregnant with their first child. This should be a happy time in her life. However, as we delve deeper into Chloe’s story, we learn that Aidan’s devotion is controlling and harmful. Nikola Scott writes this with such intensity that, at times, it feels suffocating to read. In fact, I found a couple of scenes between the couple quite tough to get through and I found myself wanting to jump into the pages and save Chloe. Chloe’s story is one that needs to be told and sadly it is one which isn’t spoken about enough. Hopefully, it will help at least one person.

For me, the story had a slow start but I think this was necessary to set the scene of both stories for when Maddie and Chloe meet. Then the pace really quickened and I became thoroughly immersed in the story. Chloe and Maddie’s relationship is special and based on an unspoken, mutual understanding and I loved it.

Summer of Secrets is a powerful, emotionally-charged novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

~ Where to find Summer of Secrets ~

Summer of Secrets was published by Headline Review on 6 September 2018 and is available via the following links:

Goodreads            Amazon UK          Amazon US

~ About Nikola Scott ~

Nikola Scott was born and raised in Germany and studied at university there. Having Nikola Scott Author picbeen obsessed with books from a young age, Nikola moved to New York City after her Master’s degree to begin her first job in book publishing, a career in which she could fully indulge her love of fiction!

She spent ten years working in publishing in New York and then in London, editing other people’s books, before she decided to take the leap into becoming a full-time writer herself.

She now lives in Frankfurt with her husband and two sons.

MY MOTHER’S SHADOW was published in 2017 to wonderful reviews. Her new novel SUMMER OF SECRETS is coming in September 2018.

Please visit http://www.nikolascott.com/ for more information, or find Nikola on Instagram @nikolascottauthor, Twitter @nikola_scott and Facebook /NikolaScottAuthor.

~ Follow the Tour ~

Summer of Secrets Blog Tour Poster