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!

A Week in Books · Ali Pantony · Books · Carol Drinkwater · Claire Dyer · Cynthia Bond · Elizabeth von Arnim · F. Scott Fitzgerald · fiction · Kathleen McGurl · Literary Lowdown · Liz Fenwick · Louise Jensen · Lucy Foley · Nadiya Hussain · Non-Fiction · Rowan Coleman

Sarah’s Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 25/08/2019

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 things. Keep scrolling to get the lowdown.

~ On the blog ~

Shelf Control

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. This week, I chose Ruby by Cynthia Bond.

~ On social media ~

Last Friday, you may remember I supported author Louise Jensen with a little teaser for her new book The Family . On Tuesday, I took part in the cover reveal. What a fab cover it is!!


For #ThrowbackThursday, I shared the link to my review for The Last Day by Claire Dyer. This book was one of my reading highlights in 2018. It is beautiful.


A bank holiday weekend is ideal for reading a book or two, so I shared a few of my recommended reads from this year over on Twitter:

The Girl at the Window by Rowan Coleman ~ The House on the Edge of the Cliff by Carol Drinkwater ~ The Path to the Sea by Liz Fenwick ~ Almost Adults by Ali Pantony

~ On my bookshelf ~

I added 2 books to my bookshelf this week and 1 to my mum’s cookery book shelf.

I bought my mum a copy of Nadiya Hussain’s new recipe book:Time to Eat. Have you been watching the tv series? I love it! I’m looking forward to trying out some of Nadiya’s recipes.

Time to Eat by Nadiya Hussain

Feeding a large family and juggling a busy career can be anxiety-inducing so Nadiya has crafted over 100 recipes to take the stress out of cooking and put the joy back in to every meal.

There are recipes for rushed weekday evenings and those relaxed Sunday afternoons, as well as kitchen hacks and time-saving tricks to make every breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a little simpler.


I popped into WHSmith to buy a copy of FRANCE magazine and came out with said magazine and two books from the Penguin Modern Classics collection. They were in a ‘Buy One Get One Half Price’ offer…what’s a bookworm supposed to do!

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

The discreet advertisement in The Times, addressed ‘To Those who Appreciate Wistaria and Sunshine’, offers a small medieval castle for rent, above a bay on the Italian Riviera. Four very different women – the dishevelled and downtrodden Mrs Wilkins, the sad, sweet-faced Mrs Arbuthnot, the formidable widow Mrs Fisher and the ravishing socialite Lady Caroline Dester – are drawn to the shores of the Mediterranean that April. As each, in turn, blossoms in the warmth of the Italian spring and finds their spirits stirring, quite unexpected changes occur.

The Enchanted April, published in 1922, is a witty and delightful depiction of what it is like to rediscover joy.


Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Between the First World War and the Wall Street Crash the French Riviera was the stylish place for wealthy Americans to visit. Among the most fashionable are the Divers, Dick and Nicole who hold court at their villa. Into their circle comes Rosemary Hoyt, a film star, who is instantly attracted to them, but understands little of the dark secrets and hidden corruption that hold them together. As Dick draws closer to Rosemary, he fractures the delicate structure of his marriage and sets both Nicole and himself on to a dangerous path where only the strongest can survive.

In this exquisite, lyrical novel, Fitzgerald has poured much of the essence of his own life; he has also depicted the age of materialism, shattered idealism and broken dreams.

~ On my bedside table ~

The Stationmaster's Daughter by Kathleen McGurl

I finished reading The Stationmaster’s Daughter by Kathleen McGurl. Watch out for my review tomorrow.


Last night, I started reading The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley. Although I’m only 7 pages in, I like what I’ve already read. The premise of this book is great: right at the beginning we know there has been a murder (not a spoiler) but we will only find out who the victim is and the murderer at the end. I can’t wait to see how this plays out!! I shall report back.

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

Until next week, happy reading!

Liz Fenwick · Recommended Reads · Reviews · The Riviera Woman · Yorkshire Woman

The Path to the Sea by Liz Fenwick (@liz_fenwick) @HQStories ~ Recommended Read ~ The Riviera Woman ~ Yorkshire Woman

Over the last 2 years, I have been regularly sharing 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. In 2019, Anna set up Yorkshire Woman on the same concept for women living or working in Yorkshire.

I am thrilled that Anna has asked if she can share my reviews at Yorkshire Woman too.

The first of my recommended reads on both sites is The Path to the Sea by Liz Fenwick. You can read my review on either site by clicking on the logos below.

The Riviera Woman
Yorkshire Woman

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