Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · Liz Fenwick · Review Copy · Reviews

Blog Tour, Review: The Path to the Sea by Liz Fenwick (@liz_fenwick) ~ @HQstories

I am honoured and thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Liz Fenwick’s latest novel The Path to the Sea.

Thank you to Joe Thomas and HQ for inviting me to be part of the tour and for sending me a proof copy of the book in return for my honest review.

Before I share my thoughts with you, here is a teaser of what you can expect from The Path to the Sea.

Publisher's Description with image of The Path to the Sea cover.

Sometimes going home is just the beginning…

Boskenna, the beautiful, imposing house standing on the Cornish cliffs, means something different to each of the Trewin women.

For Joan, as a glamorous young wife in the 1960s, it was a paradise where she and her husband could entertain and escape a world where no one was quite what they seemed – a world that would ultimately cost their marriage and end in tragedy.

Diana, her daughter, still dreams of her childhood there – the endless blue skies and wide lawns, book-filled rooms and parties, the sound of the sea at the end of the coastal path – even the family she adored was shattered there.

And for the youngest, broken-hearted Lottie, heading home in the August traffic, returning to Boskenna is a welcome escape from a life gone wrong in London, but will mean facing a past she’d hoped to forget.

As the three women gather in Boskenna for a final time, the secrets hidden within the beautiful old house will be revealed in a summer that will leave them changed for ever.

My thoughts with image of The Path to the Sea cover

Most visitors to this blog or to my social media pages will know that I am a huge fan of Liz Fenwick’s work, having read and reviewed the majority of her books (The Cornish House, A Cornish Affair, Under a Cornish Sky, The Returning Tide) and was absolutely bowled over last year by One Cornish Summer. I was curious to see where she was going to take her writing next. Well, Liz really has done it again with The Path to the Sea. Crikey, it is stunning and I fear that this review will not do this beautifully told story justice.

The Path to the Sea truly is a thing of beauty and this starts with the cover. Photos really do not do the blue justice. It is so vivid and evocative of those summer days by the sea. The hardback cloth is a lighter shade of blue and the writing on the spine under the jacket shines bright in silver. Is the story as beautiful as the packaging? Oh, yes! The Path to the Sea really does have the whole package.

A Liz Fenwick story would not be complete without a house and the Cornish coastline, both of which are characters in themselves. Liz Fenwick’s sense of place is perfect and it is evident that she has thoroughly researched the setting. No detail is left unturned – I don’t want to say too much for fear of ruining it but trust me, Liz has captured everything! Her rich description of Boskenna, a gorgeous house sitting on a cliff, looking out to St Austell Bay, its gardens and the coast transported me right into the story.

The Path to the Sea is told in and around Boskenna over one weekend in August 2018 and goes back and forth between the same weekend in 1962. I do love a dual time frame story and this one certainly doesn’t disappoint. Liz has included the date and time at the beginning of each chapter so it helps the reader to follow the story. As we progress through the weekend and learn more about the 3 women’s stories, we are aware it is leading to a decision which has ramifications that will span the generations. My goodness me. As I was reading through, I could feel this happening. Each chapter is fairly short and it really kept me on my toes. At each turn of the page, Liz slowly reveals details of what has brought Joan, Diana and Lottie to be in Boskenna that weekend and you can feel it bubbling away under the surface. My heart was racing by the crescendo!

Although the story is told from the three women’s points of view, there are 5 voices in total: Joan in her thirties in 1962 and elderly Joan in 2018, Diana as an 8-year old in 1962 and in her sixties in 2018, and 29 year old Lottie in 2018. Each voice is so distinct that I am sure that if I had opened the book at any page, I would have been able to identify which of the women was telling their story. That’s clever.

There is one character who I have to give a special mention to and that is Tom. For those who have read The Cornish House, this is the divine Old Tom as a 36 year old. He is just as delightful as a younger man and it was great to find out about his past. If you are yet to read The Cornish House, don’t worry. Not having met Tom as an older man will not spoil your enjoyment of The Path to the Sea at all. Liz has been very skilful here to make sure this works for all readers.

There is a depth to this story that is new to Liz’s writing. On the surface, this is a multi-generational love story. Underneath, it is a story of love, loss, guilt, acceptance, forgiveness, and the result of what happens when you choose one path over another. This coupled with the rich detail and research I mentioned earlier, really do show what a talented storyteller Liz Fenwick is.

What Liz Fenwick has achieved with The Path to the Sea is simply wonderful and I am in awe.

Where to find The Path to the Sea, with cover image of the book

The Path to the Sea was published by HQ, Harper Collins on 6 June 2019. It can be found at Amazon UK and on Goodreads.

About Liz Fenwick, with the cover image of The Path to the Sea
Author Liz Fenwick

Liz Fenwick, award-winning author, ex-pat expert, wife, mother of three, and dreamer turned doer, was born in Massachusetts, and at the age of twenty-six moved to London where she fell in love with an Englishman. After nine international moves, she now spends her time in Cornwall with her husband and her two mad cats, writing stories inspired by the beautiful Duchy.

Where to find Liz Fenwick, with a cover image of The Path to the Sea

You can find out more about Liz on her website at www.lizfenwick.com, connect with her on Twitter @liz_fenwick, visit her Facebook page @liz.fenwick.author and her Instagram @liz_fenwick

Follow the tour, with a cover image of The Path to the Sea

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

Blog tour poster for The Path to the Sea
Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · Kathleen McGurl · Review Copy · Reviews

Blog Tour, Review: The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl (@KathMcGurl) @HQDigitalUK @HQstories @rararesources

I am thrilled to be sharing my review of Kathleen McGurl’s latest novel The Forgotten Secret with you today.

Thank you to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part and to HQ, Harper Collins for sending me an e-copy of the book via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Scroll on for a taster of the book and to read my review.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

A country at war

It’s the summer of 1919 and Ellen O’Brien has her whole life ahead of her. Young, in love and leaving home for her first job, the future seems full of shining possibility. But war is brewing and before long Ellen and everyone around her are swept up by it. As Ireland is torn apart by the turmoil, Ellen finds herself facing the ultimate test of love and loyalty.

And a long-buried secret

A hundred years later and Clare Farrell has inherited a dilapidated old farmhouse in County Meath. Seizing the chance to escape her unhappy marriage she strikes out on her own for the first time, hoping the old building might also provide clues to her family’s shadowy history. As she sets out to put the place – and herself – back to rights, she stumbles across a long-forgotten hiding place, with a clue to a secret that has lain buried for decades.

For fans of Kate Morton and Gill Paul comes an unforgettable novel about two women fighting for independence.

~ My thoughts ~

I can’t believe I am only just reading Kathleen McGurl’s stories!! I am sure I say this every time I review a book by an author whose books I haven’t read before, but I can’t!

The Forgotten Secret has everything I love in a story: contemporary and historical fiction, a mystery, characters I can easily connect with, well researched, beautifully told.

The story is told as a dual time frame, set between 1919-1920 and the present day. In the historical thread, Kathleen McGurl pulls us into Ellen O’Brien’s life and the War of Irish Independence. I warmed to Ellen instantly and the love she has for her childhood sweetheart is beautiful. Ellen’s story was not easy to read at times and there were instances where I wanted to jump into the page to hug her.

In present day Ireland, we accompany Clare Farrell on her journey to independence from her broken marriage. Having inherited a run-down farmhouse from her uncle, she seizes the chance to leave her husband, Paul, and start a new life. Gosh, I hated Paul. Even after a week, he still hasn’t redeemed himself. Well done to Kathleen McGurl for a writing a character who provoked this emotion in me! I did however really like Clare and was championing her on to really make a new life for herself.

I do love it when a house throws up a mystery to be solved and the farmhouse in this story is no exception. I will say no more for the risk of spoiling the story so you will have to read The Forgotten Secret to find out more.

I love how Kathleen McGurl intertwines both women’s stories, answering questions raised in one era in the other, tying it all up nicely at the end.

I do love reading the acknowledgements at the end of a book. Often, the author will give us an insight into where the idea for the story came from. The seed for The Forgotten Secret was a small nugget of conversation which became this great story.

~ Where to find The Forgotten Secret ~

The Forgotten Secret was published as an eBook by HQ Digital, Harper Collins, in March 2019 and will be published in paperback in May 2019. It can be found at Amazon UK and on Goodreads.

~ About Kathleen McGurl ~

Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, UK, with her husband and elderly tabby cat. She has two sons who are now grown-up and have left home. She began her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present, and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.

~ Where to find Kathleen McGurl ~

You can find out more about Kathleen on her website https://kathleenmcgurl.com/ and connect with her on Twitter @KathMcGurl, on Facebook @KathleenMcGurl, and on Instagram @kathleenmcgurl.

~ Follow the tour ~

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

Books · Fiona Harper · Recommended Reads · Reviews · The Riviera Woman

The Memory Collector by Fiona Harper (@FiHarper_Author) @HQStories ~ Recommended Read ~ The Riviera Woman

I regularly share my top reads from this blog over at The Riviera Woman.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 October, I have chosen The Memory Collector by Fiona Harper. You can read my review here.

 

The Memory Collector cover

Advanced Review Copy · Books · Fiona Harper · Recommended Reads · Review Copy · Reviews

Review: The Memory Collector by Fiona Harper (@FiHarper_Author) @HQStories @HarperCollinsUK

I am delighted to share with you my review of The Memory Collector by Fiona Harper.

Thank you to Fiona Harper for sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Before I share my thoughts with you, here is what The Memory Collector is about.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

Heather Lucas lives her life through other people’s memories.

Heather doesn’t want to remember her childhood, not when her mother’s extreme hoarding cast her family life into disarray.

For Heather’s mother, every possession was intimately connected to a memory, so when Heather uncovers a secret about her past that could reveal why her mother never let anything go, she knows there’s only one place she’ll find answers – behind the locked door of her spare room, where the remains of her mother’s hoard lie hidden.

As Heather uncovers both objects and memories, will the truth set her free? Or will she discover she’s more like her mother than she ever thought possible?

~ My thoughts ~

Why am I only just discovering the delights of Fiona Harper’s writing? Fiona’s last book, The Other Us, has been sitting unread on my shelf for a year. Well that will shortly change because if it is anything like The Memory Collector, it will be brilliant!

The Memory Collector is a powerful and poignant story about mental illness, love, loss, hope and moving on.

The story starts with a young girl, her memory of a trip to the seaside and a red coat. It is a troubled memory rather than one of a nice day out and the reader instantly knows something isn’t quite right. The story then switches to the present day and we meet Heather Lucas in a situation that both Heather and the reader knows she shouldn’t be in. I just wanted to jump into the page and stop her. It’s not until we read further on, that we understand why Heather is in this situation to begin with.

In The Memory Collector, Fiona Harper explores the issue of extreme hoarding and the life-long impact that this can have not only on the hoarder themselves, but also on those around them. Fiona Harper cleverly tells Heather’s story and the impact of her mother’s hoarding over two time frames: ‘Then’ which is Heather’s childhood up until she was 16 and ‘Now’, the present day. The ‘Then’ chapters are based around a particular object which was significant in her mother’s hoarding and tells the memory which goes with it.  The ‘Now’ chapters belong to Heather and her journey of coming to terms with how her upbringing has shaped who she is today and the choices she makes. It is hard hitting at times but touching and uplifting too.

The Memory Collector is a beautiful story, sensitively told and I am so pleased I got the chance to read it. I cannot wait to explore more of Fiona Harper’s work.

~ Where to find The Memory Collector ~

The Memory Collector will be published by HQ, Harper Collins on 6th September 2018 and is available via the following links:

Goodreads            Amazon UK          Amazon US

~ About Fiona Harper ~

As a child, Fiona was constantly teased for two things: having her nose in a book and living in a dream world. Things haven’t changed much since then, but at least she’s found a career that puts her runaway imagination to use!

Fiona HarperFiona’s first book was published in 2006 and she now has twenty-five published books under her belt. She started her career writing heartfelt but humorous romances for Mills & Boon, then went on to writing romantic comedies for Harlequin/Mira and now writes uplifting stories about love, life and relationships for HQ, part of Harper Collins. She is a previous winner of the Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Scheme Award, and her most recent book, The Other Us, won a Romantic Novel Award (RoNA) in 2018.

Fiona lives in London with her husband and two teenage daughters (oh, the drama in her house!), and she loves good books, good films and anything cinnamon flavoured. She also can’t help herself if a good tune comes on and she’s near a dance floor – you have been warned!

Find out more at https://fionaharper.com, follow Fiona on Twitter @FiHarper_Author  and visit her Facebook page @FionaHarperBooks

 

 

 

Blog Tours · Books · Extracts · Rebecca James

Blog Tour & Extract: The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James (@VFoxWrites) @HQstories

I am delighted to be featuring an extract from The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James as part of the blog tour.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Izzy Smith at HQ, Harper Collins for asking me to take part in the tour and for sending me a proof copy of the book to read. A review will follow on this blog soon.

Scroll down to find out more about The Woman in the Mirror and to read a captivating extract – it’s the Prologue!! Continue reading “Blog Tour & Extract: The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James (@VFoxWrites) @HQstories”

Blog Tours · Books · Jennifer Bohnet · Recommended Reads · Reviews

#Blogtour #Review The Little Kiosk by the Sea by Jennifer Bohnet (@jenniewriter) @midaspr @HQstories

I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for The Little Kiosk By The Sea by Jennifer Bohnet.  I am sharing this first stop on the tour with Clare over at A Book and Tea, so please do go and visit her blog too.

The Little Kiosk By The Sea was first published by Carina as an e-book on 18 August 2015 and, subsequently, published in paperback original by HQ on 15 June 2017.

Continue reading “#Blogtour #Review The Little Kiosk by the Sea by Jennifer Bohnet (@jenniewriter) @midaspr @HQstories”