Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Act 3 : The Art of Growing Older by Judy & Adrian Reith BLOG TOUR @Act3Life #Act3Life #RandomThingsTours @unbounders #Act3

At last, the life you want . . . post 50.
We re living longer, in better health, with higher expectations than any generation in human history. With an extra adult chapter to look forward to, what will you do? Who else could you be? How will you evolve the best plan for your life between 50 and 80?
Judy and Adrian Reith have decades of experience in helping people see hidden possibilities, clarify their goals and achieve life-changing results. In Act 3 they suggest practical steps to make your life more fulfilling as you age. From the ground up this book will help you identify and strengthen the four roots you ll need for a happy and successful third act. It illustrates how your attitude, purpose, relationships and values are keystones to a life without regret.
Act 3 gives tools and tips to help you focus on what matters, with chapters on Work, Home, Money, Health, Play, the World and Friends. You ll be inspired by original stories of those who have changed their lives after 50 and be able to re-imagine your future, and so get the life you want . . . at last.

Act 3: The Art of Growing Older by Judy Reith and Adrian Reith was published by Unbound on 2 April 2020.

I'm delighted to host the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour today

None of us want to think of ourselves as 'old', and I believe that being in your 50s these days is completely different to how it was when I was younger.

For me, turning fifty felt like something of an achievement, after being really ill in my twenties and believing for many years that I wouldn't actually see middle age. Now I'm here, aged 54 this year and apart from the grey hairs and creaking joints, I honestly believe that this is the best time of my life.

Judy and Adrian Reith have produced a light-hearted, yet really positive guide for those people who want a happier balance in their lives. They've included real-life stories from people who have completely changed their life after the age of 50, and these are truly inspirational.

I don't have children, but I was really interested in the parts of the book that deal with life when your kids have grown up. I could relate these to many of my friends.

The book is beautifully and attractively presented, enabling the reader to pick and choose which parts to read, and when. It's not the sort of book that one would sit and read from cover to cover; it's more of a 'pick and mix' sort of read; pick out certain parts that apply to you, and then go and read those that you hadn't considered, and realise that most of it really can apply to anyone.

Act 3 is a book that will remain on my bookshelf. If I'm having a wobble, I'll be going right back to it, and reading through the ways to identify what I need to change.

Judy Reith draws on her professional training in child development, coaching and parent education to help thousands of parents, some of whom are also entering Act 3.
She is the author of 7 Secrets of Raising Girls Every Parent Must Know, Be a Great Mum and Transform Living with Teenagers.

Aged fifty in 2006, Adrian Reith ditched a successful career as a writer and director in advertising to help coaching clients unscramble their mental spaghetti.
He and Judy live together in Cambridge.

Twitter @Act3Life

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves @AbbieGreaves1 @arrowpublishing @PublicityBooks #Giveaway #Win @midaspr #TheSilentTreatment

Frank hasn't spoken to his wife Maggie for six months.
For weeks they have lived under the same roof, slept in the same bed and eaten at the same table – all without words.
Maggie has plenty of ideas as to why her husband has gone quiet, but it will take another heartbreaking turn of events before Frank finally starts to unravel the secrets that have silenced him.
Is this where their story ends?
Or is it where it begins?
With characters that will capture your heart, THE SILENT TREATMENT celebrates the phenomenal power of love and the importance of leaving nothing unsaid.

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves was published in hardback on 2 April 2020, by Century / Arrow Publishing. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I am delighted to host the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour for this wonderful book today. I can honestly say, hand on heart, that this is one of the most special books that I've read for a long time. I devoured it.

My full review of The Silent Treatment will be published in the Daily Express this Friday (10 April),  and I will share it on the blog after publication.
Meanwhile, I am delighted to be able to offer one hardback copy as a prize for one lucky winner today.
Entry is simple, just fill out the competition widget at the end of this blog post. UK ENTRIES ONLY



‘A remarkable debut’ JOJO MOYES

‘It’s beautiful, so moving and clever. I truly adored it.’ JOSIE SILVER, author of One Day in December

An original and moving debut from a talented new voice.’ SANTA MONTEFIORE
‘This moving debut unpicks the secret selves of Maggie and Frank to reveal the tragic miscommunications of their broken family. It’s a pleasure to read such a stylish and confident new voice’ LOUISE CANDLISH, author of Our House
‘Heart-breaking secrets tenderly evoked with intelligence and depth. Maggie and Frank are unforgettable characters’ RACHEL HORE, author of The Memory Garden
‘Such stunning prose, and such insight for a debut author… I was bowled over by Abbie’s writing.’ CLARE MACKINTOSH
‘An unforgettable love story with a mystery that had me captivated until the last, heart-wrenching page. It deserves to be huge’ CATHERINE ISAAC, author of You Me Everything
'A tender, heartfelt portrayal of a long marriage with all its secrets. Cleverly structured and beautifully written, this novel celebrates love, hope - and the importance of finding the right words.' LUCY DIAMOND
‘In her tremendously moving debut, a novel that pulses with emotional tension, Abbie Greaves masterfully unpicks a history of ordinary lives facing extraordinary challenges. I found it impossible to look away from the relationship at the heart of this novel.’ GILLY MACMILLAN, author of The Nanny

One Copy of The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

Abbie Greaves studied at Cambridge University before working in a literary agency in London for a number of years.
She was inspired to write her first novel, The Silent Treatment, after reading a newspaper article about a boy in Japan who had never seen his parents speak to one another before.

Abbie lives in Edinburgh with her boyfriend and is hard at work on her follow-up novel, The Ends of the Earth

Twitter @AbbieGreaves1
Instagram @abbiegreaevesauthor

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon BLOG TOUR @ArielLawhon @headlinepg @RosieMargesson #CodeNameHelene #RandomThingsTours

In 1936, foreign correspondent, Nancy Wake, witnesses first-hand the terror of Hitler's rise in Europe. No sooner has Nancy met, fallen in love with and agreed to marry French industrialist Henri Fiocca, than the Germans invade France and force her to take on her first code name of many. The Gestapo call her the White Mouse for her remarkable ability to evade capture when smuggling Allied soldiers across borders. She becomes Hélène when she leaves France to train in espionage with an elite special forces group in London. Then, when she returns to France, she is the deadly Madame Andrée. But the closer Frances gets to liberation, the more exposed Nancy - and the people she loves - will become.
Inspired by true wartime events, Code Name Hélène is a gripping and moving story of extraordinary courage, unfaltering resolve, remarkable sacrifice - and enduring love.

Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon was published on 31 March 2020 by Headline Review. As part of the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I'm delighted to share an extract from the book with you today.

Nancy Grace Augusta Wake
The power of a glance has been so much abused in love stories, that it has come to be disbelieved in. Few people dare now to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet it is in this way that love begins, and in this way only.

February 29, 1944
I have gone by many names.Some of them are real—I was given four at birth alone—but most
are carefully constructed personas to get me through checkpoints and across borders. They are lies scribbled on forged travel docu- ments. Typed neatly in government files. Splashed across wanted posters. My identity is an ever-shifting thing that adapts to the need at hand.
Tonight, I am Hélène and I am going home.
It is February 29. Leap Day. The irony of this is not lost on me, because I am about to jump out of an aeroplane for the first time. I’ve only just been lifted into the belly of the Liberator bomber like a clumsily wrapped package. Me in slacks, blouse, and silk stockings beneath my coveralls, tin hat, and British army boots. The camel- haired coat and parachute pack don’t do much to help the ensemble. But this isn’t a fashion show and I’m not here to make friends, so I don’t care that every man on this plane is looking at me as though I don’t belong. Besides, I’m hungover. And I think I might throw up.
There are only four of us on this flight: an RAF pilot, a dispatcher, “Hubert”—my partner on this mission—and myself. A motley crew indeed. I settle into the jump seat across from Hubert and we watch with trepidation as the aperture in the floor closes. There’s a grind- ing of gears and the clank of metal and then we’re locked inside. I very much regret that third bottle of wine I shared with the boys last night. Headquarters delayed the mission by an entire day so we would have extra time to memorize key details of our cover story, which meant that, for the second night in a row, we raucously cel- ebrated our looming departure and likely death. By the end of it we were singing “Blood on the Risers” at the top of our lungs, and now I can’t get the stupid song out of my head.
“Gory, gory what a helluva way to die . . . ,” I hum, only to find the pilot staring at me with a bemused grin. I shrug. It’s the truth. This would be a helluva way to die. Too late now, though, because all four engines shudder to life with an angry bellow.
I begin counting as the plane rumbles across the aerodrome. Ten. Twenty. Thirty—good grief, when will this thing ever get off the ground?—forty. And then my stomach drops as we lurch into the air like a drunken seabird. The Liberator heaves and rumbles its way into the low-hanging clouds over the English countryside, sounding all the while as though someone has tossed a pound of bolts into a meat grinder.
Once we’re through the clouds and the engines dim to a lesser roar, the dispatcher looks at me and shouts, “Witch?”
Under normal circumstances I would be offended, but Witch is my code name for this flight. I nod in the affirmative.
He turns back to his control panel and radios Command. “Witch on board”—a pause and then a glance at Hubert—“Pudding as well. Approximately two hours until the drop.”
Poor guy, it’s not his fault. He’s not been given our real code names, much less our actual names. Need to know, etcetera, etcetera. I make a face at Hubert and he grins. We’d argued over which of us had the worse handle. Mine is sexist but his is stupid, so in the end we declared it a draw.
“At least the plane is heated,” I say, but Hubert has settled into his jump seat, closed his eyes, and is trying to sleep. If he hears me he doesn’t let on. Hubert is not what you’d call a conversationalist.
A thrilling and heart-wrenching novel inspired by the astonishing real life story of Nancy Wake. Perfect for fans of Suzanne Goldring's MY NAME IS EVA, Kate Quinn's THE ALICE NETWORK and Imogen Kealey's LIBERATION, soon to be a blockbuster movie.
'Lawhon breathes new life into Nancy Wake's extraordinary story. Rich and thoroughly researched, an exciting, well-written account of wartime valour and the protagonist's qualities shine through' The Times
'This is the next book I won't be able to stop talking, so good!5 stars (Goodreads reviewer)
'A gripping thriller based on the life of Nancy Wake... Lawhon's vivid, fast-paced narrative will keep readers turning the pages' Publishers Weekly 

Ariel Lawhon, author of I Was Anastasia (2018), Flight of Dreams (2016) and The Wife, The Maid And The Mistress (2014), is a critically acclaimed writer of historical fiction. 

She lives with her family in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee.
Twitter @ArielLawhon
Author Page on Facebook

Friday, 3 April 2020

Virgin And Child by Maggie Hamand @DrMaggieHamand BLOG TOUR @BarbicanPress1 #RandomThingsTours #VirginAndChild

Newly elected Irish Pope Patrick has plans for his future church. The he is attacked in St Peter's Square. Leading cardinals turn against him, and he doesn't know who he can trust, doubting even his private secretary. Then he makes a discovery that overturns everything he has previously thought, undermining not just his papacy but his faith. Will the cardinals succeed in removing him? And what lengths are they prepared to go to to achieve their goal?

As the pressure on Patrick ramps up, the story becomes a battle for his survival both as pope but also as a person, as we move between the power struggles in the Vatican to Patrick's uncovering of family secrets back home in Ireland, secrets that will affect his actions and inform the difficult choices he will soon have to make...

Virgin & Child by Maggie Hamand was published on 2 April 2020 by Barbican Press. As part of the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I am delighted to welcome the author today with a fabulous guest post.

Easter is a time of betrayal and loss so it’s very appropriate that my new novel, Virgin and Child, is being published on 2 April. It’s a novel that was five years in the making because I knew that I would have to do an enormous amount of research to make it convincing. I was writing from the point of view of an Irish Pope - someone so completely unlike me on the surface that I knew it would take a long time to work out how to portray him convincingly, let along get all the Vatican details right. 
I visited Rome in April, attended the Pope’s Wednesday audience in St Peter’s Square, went round the Vatican museum and gardens, and a friend took me to the Pope’s summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. Strange to be visiting these beautiful places with half my mind on how an assassination attempt on my Pope might take place. In particular I went up onto the roof terrace of an Institute near the Vatican, working out the right firing angles and distances! Through a brilliant scheme called Monastery Tours I was able to stay in a little convent right outside the Vatican walls, which later became a location in the novel. (This is a very cheap and comfortable way to stay in Rome and other Italian cities for those on a budget!) I walked for miles through Rome checking on locations and journey times and soaking up the atmosphere, and selecting the right locations for scenes in the story. I was also lucky to know an Italian journalist in Rome who arranged for me to speak to a couple of a Vatican insiders. 
There is a section in Ireland too, and because I have a cousin in Cork I went to visit her and all the locations I needed for my Irish Pope’s childhood and his life as a priest. The south-west of Ireland is so beautiful, like my own North Wales merged with Cornwall. As I walked down a street in Cork, a busker was playing a haunting theme on an old piano and as I listened two priests walked past, deep in conversation - that snapshot in time went straight into my novel unchanged. You only get such details when you visit a place, you can’t get them from guidebooks. 
Why did I write the book? Because, despite being a scientist, a feminist, and a liberal, religious faith does matter to me. There’s a mystical dimension to Easter, a sense that since the dawn of time people have held special sacred ceremonies to welcome the spring. I hope some of my sense of the mystery of life and faith has come through in a novel which is also a criticism of dogma and the misuse of power, wrapped in a suspenseful narrative.
© Maggie Hamand

Maggie Hamand is a journalist, novelist, and creative writing lecturer. 
She was the first winner of the World One-Day Novel Cup and her novel, The Resurrection of the Body, was published by Penguin and has been optioned for film and television. 

She was founder and director of the award-winning independent publisher Maia Press. 
Maggie has a degree in biochemistry, a Masters in theology, and a PhD in creative writing from the University of Hull. 
She has taught in a range of institutions including Holloway Prison and is author of the best-selling Creative Writing For Dummies. 

She lives in East London.
Twitter @DrMaggieHamand

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan @SVaughanAuthor @simonschusterUK #LittleDisasters #BookReview

You think you know her…
But look a little closer
She is a stay-at-home mother-of-three with boundless reserves of patience, energy and love. After being friends for a decade, this is how Liz sees Jess. 
Then one moment changes everything. 
Dark thoughts and carefully guarded secrets surface – and Liz is left questioning everything she thought she knew about her friend, and about herself.

Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan is published today; 02 April 2020, by Simon and Schuster. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I have read and reviewed all three of this author's previous novels and she has become one of my all time favourite writers. It's fair to say that she became more well-known after publication of her last book; Anatomy of a Scandal which was something of a change in direction for her. However, I would also recommend her earlier books too; The Farm at the Edge of the World, and The Art of Baking Blind; they are both wonderful reads.

So, Little Disasters.  Oh my goodness, this is such an emotional and often terrifying read. It's written incredibly well and opens with a prologue that is shocking in its intensity and emotion, and the story doesn't let up at all. You will be kept on the edge of your seat as you experience every possible emotion, it felt almost voyeuristic at times as this wonderfully talented author allows the reader to see the plot from all sides.

Liz is a doctor, she works long shifts on the children's ward of the local hospital, often called to A&E to deal with an emergency admission. When, one night, she is called to assess baby Betsey, just three months old with a head injury, she has no idea how much this case will impact on her life. On her relationship with close friends, and on what she begins to learn about her own family background.

Betsey is the daughter of Liz's friend Jess, and is her third child, and only daughter. Jess has always been the perfect mother. often appearing over protective of her brood, but always loving and caring, putting the needs of her children before anything else. When it becomes clear that Betsey's injury could be very serious, Liz has to make the tough decision to call in the authorities.

What follows is a cleverly layered and very intimate look at relationships and how we can hide the truth. The author's ability to portray such perception into motherhood; and all that entails is superbly crafted. The constant worry, the guilt, the trying to keep up with the other mothers, the difficulties in ensuring a marriage thrives despite the impact of small children, and most of all, the secrets that are buried underneath the gleaming worktops and the freshly ironed baby clothes. Sarah Vaughan captures all of these and more; she carefully and empathically weaves issues around mental health and neglect into this wonderfully compelling story, revealing so much more to the characters than originally shown.

Little Disasters is so impressive. It is so carefully crafted, with multiple threads and so many shocks revealed. It is a story that haunts the reader as more is revealed. I was totally gripped throughout.

Sure to be one of my top books of the year. Highly recommended

Anatomy of a Scandal, Sarah Vaughan's 3rd novel and her first courtroom drama/psychological thriller, combined her experiences as a news reporter and political correspondent on the Guardian with her time as a student reading English at Oxford. 

Translated into 22 languages, it was an instant international bestseller, Sunday Times top five bestseller, and kindle number 1 bestseller. It has been optioned for television and shortlisted for awards in the UK, Sweden and France.

Little Disasters is published on April 2 in the UK, on August 18, in the US, and in various other countries in 2021. 

Married with two children, she lives just outside Cambridge, and is currently working on her fifth novel.

FB: Sarah Vaughan Author
Twitter: @SVaughanAuthor

Friday, 27 March 2020

*** COVER REVEAL *** #WhoIsIt @EnglishRachael @TeamBookends #ThePaperBracelet @Emily_JP

I am absolutely THRILLED to share this exciting COVER REVEAL with you all today! 

by Rachael English

Published by Headline Review 

For almost fifty years, Katie Carroll has kept a box tucked away inside her wardrobe. It dates from her time working as a nurse in a west of Ireland home for unwed mothers in the 1970s. The box contains a notebook holding the details of the babies and young women she met there. It also holds many of the babies' identity bracelets.
Following the death of her husband, Katie makes a decision. The information she possesses could help reunite adopted people with their birth mothers, and she decides to post a message on an internet forum. Soon the replies are rolling in, and Katie finds herself returning many of the bracelets to their original owners. She encounters success and failure, heartbreak and joy. But is she prepared for old secrets to be uncovered in her own life?

Every baby's paper bracelet held a mother's secret...
'Utterly moving and compelling. That first! I was hooked' Patricia Scanlan
'A powerful, important, beautiful book' Sinéad Crowley
Inspired by heartrending true events in a home for unwed mothers, set in Ireland, Boston and London, this novel is perfect for readers of The Letter by Kathryn Hughes and The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunnis.

Readers love Rachael English's writing:
'A true storyteller who keeps you turning the pages' Cathy Kelly
'A compelling read' Sheila O'Flanagan
'Beautiful, compelling, and sincere in the way of the very best stories and the best books' Irish Independent
'An evocative read ... powerful ... If you read authors such as Diane Chamberlain, Sheila O'Flanagan or Maeve Binchy then you should also check this out' Between My Lines
'Enchanting, emotional, heartbreaking, ultimately uplifting and just perfect... Rachael English is a wonderful storyteller' Being Anne

Rachael English is a bestselling novelist and presenter on Ireland’s most popular radio show, Morning Ireland. 

During more than twenty years as a journalist, she has worked on most of RTE Radio’s leading current affairs programmes, covering a huge range of national and international stories. 

The American Girl was a No. 1 Irish bestseller, and The Night of the Party was a top 5 Irish bestseller.

Towards The Vanishing Point by Jan Turk Petrie BLOG TOUR @TurkPetrie #GuestReview @jaustenrulesok #RandomThingsTours

In the North of England in1938, two ten-year-old girls, Lily Hetherington and Stella Marsden, form a close if unlikely friendship that endures despite their wartime experiences. After the war, the two women are working as nursing auxiliaries when Lily meets male nurse Will Bagshaw. Stella begins to hear sinister rumours about the man, but the besotted Lily won’t listen to a word said against him. Can Stella make her see sense before it’s too late?
Building to a tense, dramatic climax, this is a story of friendship, love, loyalty and the ultimate betrayal.

Towards The Vanishing Point by Jan Turk Petrie was published in January 2020.

I'm delighted to welcome guest reviewer Louise Wykes to Random Things today, she's sharing her review of the book for the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour.

You can find Louise on Twitter @jaustenrulesok

Louise's Review of Towards The Vanishing Point
Towards The Vanishing Point by Jan Turk Petrie was published by Pintail Press on 1st January 2020.  I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy of this book to review and I’d also like to thank Anne Cater for agreeing to host my review.

I confess that Jan Turk Petrie is a completely new author to me so I had no idea about what to expect from this book although I was intrigued by the blurb especially as the book is recommended to fans of Daphne Du Maurier amongst other writers as I’m a lifelong fan of Du Maurier’s engaging and vividly descriptive writing style.

This is a story that follows the friendship of two young girls, Lily Hethrington and Stella Marsden who meet in the North of England in 1938 when they are teamed up together for the school’s three- legged race on sports day.  It follows the girls’ friendship through the war years and after and finally culminates in a tense court room scene in November 1957.   I have to say that for me I think the time spent on the young girls’ friendship could have been explored more deeply for me as a reader as I feel that I would have been more emotionally invested in the characters before being shown what happens to the girls as they grew into womanhood.

The narrative shifts perspective between several characters in the book and during several time periods.  Initially  I thought the narrative was moving quite slowly but after about 100 pages once Will Bagshaw had been introduced I felt that the narrative became more thrilling and electric up to the finale of the courtroom verdict and I actually had to hide the words with my hand so my eyes didn’t race to discover the final verdict which was quite exciting.

Personally for me, I think I would have liked a bit more insight as to why Lily Hethrington felt about childbirth as she did.  There is an earlier incident in the book which I think was meant to help illustrate why Lily may have had fearful first thoughts about childbirth but I didn’t feel this was explored enough in detail when Lily became a married woman.

I did ultimately enjoy this read and was interested in the historical detail and the exploration of coercive control within a relationship.  Although I usually enjoy open endings in a book I was left a little puzzled at the ending of this story and not entirely clear why it ended where it did although that may have been deliberate in order for the reader to think about the book after they have finished reading it.

I would recommend this book if you’re after a thrilling and consuming read which highlights the complexities and nuances of human relationships.

The author Jan Turk Petrie lives in the Cotswolds, S.W. England.

She is the author of the fast paced Nordic thriller series: the Eldísvík novels. All three of these novels are set in 2068 in a fictional city state just below the artic circle.

'Until the Ice Cracks' - the first of the trilogy was published in July 2018.
Volume Two - 'No God for a Warrior' was published in November 2018
The third and final volume - 'Within Each Other's Shadow' was published in April 2019

The ebook boxset - The Eldísvík Trilogy was published in August 2019

Jan's fourth novel - 'Too Many Heroes' - a gripping new post-war thriller set in the East End of London was published in August 2019.

She is currently working on her fifth book - 'Towards the Vanishing Point.'

A former English teacher with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Gloucestershire, Jan has also written numerous, prize-winning short stories.

Twitter handle:

Thursday, 26 March 2020

To Lahore With Love by HIna Belitz BLOG TOUR @Hina_Belitz @headlinepg @lararosetamara #ToLahoreWithLove #RandomThingsTours

Addy Mayford has always struggled with her identity. Brought up in a household of stories, food and faith by her Irish mother and Pakistani Nana, she feels constantly torn between the two sides of her upbringing. Since the death of her father, she's found contentment cooking delicious recipes from his home city of Lahore, despite the protestations of her mother that being a chef is no career for a young woman. It's only with the love of her gorgeous husband, Gabe, that she's truly found happiness.
When Addy stumbles across a secret that shatters her world, she desperately needs to escape and is drawn to the sights of Lahore and the family she's never known. Waiting for her there is Addy's final acceptance of who she is, and a long-buried family secret that will change her life for ever.

To Lahore With Love by Hina Belitz was published by Headline on 19 March 2020. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review for this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour .

This book was like food for my soul, the perfect remedy for the total chaos that we are constantly exiting in. I was transported by this wonderfully talented author, through food and recipes, to Lahore itself, accompanied by the most colourful of characters.

I've always had a fondness for a 'foodie' novel. Some of my favourite books have centred on a food theme; from Chocolat by Joanne Harris to The Food Of Love by Anthony Capella - there's something that draws me to them.

Food and the art of cookery is a very personal thing; it can calm and restore and just the act of mixing together things to create something wonderful can feel like the greatest achievement.

For Addy; the main character in To Lahore With Love, food is certainly her thing. She's collected recipes throughout her life. She was brought up by an Irish mother and a Pakistani Grandmother, so her tastes have always been eclectic, and some of her quirkily named recipes head up the chapters in the book.

This story is not just about food though. It's a beautiful exploration of self. When Addy's world is rocked beyond belief, she takes refuge in a trip to Lahore with her best friend Jen, and her Nana. The author explores different relationships so very well, as Addy learns more about her own family, and in turn, about herself.
The sense of place is intoxicating, with evocative and quite beautiful writing describing places, smells and sounds.

Rich in culture, and in love, and of course, in food, this is a story that I enjoyed so much. 
Highly recommended from me.

HINA BELITZ is an author and renowned equal rights lawyer. 
Born in Pakistan to an Indian father and a mother of Iranian, Afghan and Indian descent, Belitz was brought up in Hampshire – a place starkly different to her parent’s home city of Lahore, and where she was the only Asian person in her school. 
Her debut novel, SET ME FREE, was critically acclaimed and led to her being interviewed by Morgan Freeman and starring in a National Geographic documentary about love. 
Her writing has appeared in numerous publications including the Guardian and the BBC.

Follow Hina on Twitter: @Hina_Belitz

Monday, 23 March 2020

The Walls We Build by Jules Hayes BLOG TOUR @JulesHayes6 @rararesources #TheWallsWeBuild

Three Friends
Two Secrets
One Hidden Life
Growing up around Churchill’s estate, Frank, Florence and Hilda are inseparable, but as WW2 casts its menacing shadow their friendships become more complex and strained. Following Frank's death in 2002, Florence writes to his grandson, Richard, hinting at a dark past.
On investigation, disturbing secrets come to light that have not only haunted his grandfather’s life but will now impact on Richard’s too. When a pivotal encounter between Frank and Churchill is revealed and a mystery relative in a psychiatric hospital discovered, just how much more does Florence dare disclose, and is Richard ready to hear?
For readers who enjoy the work of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore, Lucinda Riley, Katherine Webb and Juliet West.

The Walls We Build by Jules Hayes was published this month. As part of the Blog Tour organised by Rachels' Random Resources I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today.

An extract taken from early on in the novel.
It’s 1928 and Frank, a viewpoint character, is visiting Hilda and her illegitimate daughter, Anna. Frank has adored Hilda since childhood, and he loves young Anna, but he’s beginning to have reservations about his true feelings towards his childhood love, Hilda.

It was Frank who filled the metal kettle and put it on the stove. Hilda had sat down. He put the tea in the strainer and went to sit next to her. Her hand rested on the kitchen table, the skin around her nails red and sore from the laundry work. He placed his own over hers, flinching at its coldness.

‘I’ve something I want to talk to you about.’ He heard Anna moving around in the bedroom above.

Hilda looked at him, the sea green flecks in her irises glittering, tiny pinpricks of emeralds in the kitchen’s early morning sun. Eyes that missed nothing.

I never wanted you to feel as if you still had to marry me, Frank.’ She pulled her hand from underneath his. ‘It’s why I’ve been so hesitant these past years.’ Her brow puckered in the way he’d once found so enchanting. ‘I was only thinking of you.’

He swallowed, coughed to clear his throat. ‘You could have married me when you first knew you were pregnant. No one would’ve been the wiser.’

She played with a strand of hair and Frank thought he’d never seen anyone as beautiful as the woman sitting opposite him. She held his gaze.

‘The thing is, Hilda—’

‘I’ve spoken to my dad… and I’ll marry you, Frank.’ She hadn’t taken her eyes off him. ‘If you still want me, that is?’ She touched his face.

After waiting four years for those words flatness settled like lead inside of him. He didn’t reply.

Hilda sat up tall in the chair. ‘You’ve changed your mind haven’t you?’ She patted down her apron. ‘I’ve heard what people are saying.’

What are people saying?’

That you’d be better off marrying Flo.’

‘Flo and me are friends. Like you and she used to be. Like the three of us used to be.’

‘I know about—’ she began.

‘Frank, do you want to go in the garden? Hilda, can we?’ Anna said, appearing at the kitchen door.

The kettle began whistling and Frank looked at the clock that sat on the kitchen dresser. ‘I need to be leaving, Anna, I’m sorry.’ He took hold of the child’s hand, unsure if she was disappointed or not, her features often as inscrutable as her mother’s.

Anna needed him.

Hilda rose, and with purpose, kissed him on his lips. She smelt of the outside and a hint of lemon. ‘So, shall we get married?’ She smoothed down the frayed collar of his shirt.

He looked at Anna. Looked at Hilda. Swallowed. ‘Yes. We’ll get married.’

‘Good.’ She placed her arm on Anna’s shoulder. ‘Why don’t you see Frank out, sweetie?’

Anna’s entire face became illuminated at her mother’s good mood.

This was the best thing for Anna. Frank saw it already. And he did love Hilda. He’d always loved her. Flo didn’t want him; she’d been tipsy at the dance and had been flirting. She meant nothing by it. But that kiss. There was something about Flo that was so raw, untamed, free. He glanced at Hilda and said no more.

Anna walked to the door with him. ‘Next time, can you tell me stories about Mr Churchill, the house, and his children again? I like those stories.’

‘I know you do, love.’ He bent down and kissed the top of her head.

Frank made his way towards the far end of the village where Benjamin was picking him up, his thoughts still in the kitchen, reminiscing how Hilda used to be, before Anna, how the three of them used to be; thick as thieves, everyone said. Hilda used to laugh, maybe not as much as Flo, but when she did it was loud and rich, and because of its infrequency, so infectious, so powerful. As Mr Wells had rightly said, the village gossip had strangled Hilda. She’d changed beyond all recognition.

He walked, passing by the track on his left that would take him to the woods where the three of them played as children, and memories swamped him; of when he’d made friends with Flo and probably fallen in love with Hilda. If you could fall in love at seven.

Jules Hayes lives in Berkshire with her husband, daughter and a dog. She has a degree in modern history and holds a particular interest in events and characters from the early 20th century. As a former physiotherapist and trainer – old habits die hard – when not writing Jules likes to run. She also loves to watch films, read good novels and is a voracious consumer of non-fiction too, particularly biographies.

Jules is currently working on her second historical novel, another dual timeline story.

Jules also writes contemporary thriller and speculative fiction as JA Corrigan.

Jules Hayes  can be found at:

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Writing as JA Corrigan, Jules can be found at: Website: http://www.jacorrigan.comTwitter: @juliannwriter - Author Page: JA Corrigan - corriganjulieann