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Scribes At The Rock Welcomes Marian Keyes

Marian Keyes
If you are fan of Marian Keyes in Northern Ireland, then I’ve great news for you, as the Irish bestselling author is coming to Belfast in a special one off appearance at Scribes At The Rock at The Rock Bar, as part of the annual Féile an Phobail festival, a festival for lovers of music, arts and culture.

The event will take place on Thursday 6th August from 4pm – 6.30pm and Marian will talk about latest her book, ‘The Woman Who Stole My Life’, her love of door knobs and her recent new hobby, up styling old furniture.

Also attending the event is the creator of the award-winning gritty gangland television drama, ‘LOVE/HATE’, Stuart Carolan, who is one of Ireland’s edgiest and most original stage and screenwriters, he has just finished adapting Paul Murray’s novel, ‘Skippy Dies’,for the large screen, an epic black comedy of love, death and growing up in a very dysfunctional modern Ireland.

Tickets cost £5 and it’s a pay at the door event, so best get there early to get yourself a seat!

For more information, check out the website for updates.

Cover Reveal – Rebecca By Daphne Du Maurier

RebeccaVirago Modern Classic’s have reissued of Daphne Du Maurier’s books in stunning new covers, the books with the new looks are ‘Frenchman’s Creek’, ‘Rebecca’ and ‘Jamica Inn’ All three books have been given a make-over suitable for the Young Adult market.

I have a copy of ‘Rebecca’ and look forward to reading it, even now many years later it still highly acclaimed.

The opening line to the story

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again” has become one of the most credited opening lines to any book and many authors who have appeared on Handwritten Girl have quoted it.

The story of ‘Rebecca’ is

Working as a lady’s companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Life begins to look very bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding Mrs Danvers . . .

Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.

With a dark eerie cover in shades of blue and black, ‘Rebecca’ promises to be an intriguing story.

You can buy Rebecca (VMC) from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Read An Extract From Pretty Baby By Mary Kubica

Pretty BabyAre you a fan of gritty thrillers then sit back and enjoy an extract from Mary Kubica’s new book, ‘Pretty Baby’


The first time I see her, she is standing at the Fullerton Station, on the train platform, clutching an infant in her arms. She braces herself and the baby as the purple line express soars past and out to Linden. It’s the 8th of April, forty-eight degrees and raining. The rain lurches down from the sky, here, there and everywhere, the wind untamed and angry. A bad day for hair.

The girl is dressed in a pair of jeans, torn at the knee. Her coat is thin and nylon, an army green. She has no hood, no umbrella. She tucks her chin into the coat and stares straight ahead while the rain saturates her. Those around her cower beneath umbrellas, no one offering to share. The baby is quiet, stuffed inside the mother’s coat like a joey in a kangaroo pouch. Tufts of slimy pink fleece sneak out from the coat and I convince myself that the baby, sound asleep in what feels to me like utter bedlam—chilled to the bone, the thunderous sound of the “L” soaring past—is a girl.

There’s a suitcase beside her feet, vintage leather, brown and worn, beside a pair of lace-up boots, soaked thoroughly through.

She can’t be older than sixteen.

She’s thin. Malnourished, I tell myself, but maybe she’s just thin. Her clothes droop. Her jeans are baggy, her coat too big.

A CTA announcement signals a train approaching, and the brown line pulls into the station. A cluster of morning rush hour commuters crowd into the warmer, drier train, but the girl does not move. I hesitate for a moment—feeling the need to do something— but then board the train like the other do-nothings and, slinking into a seat, watch out the window as the doors close and we slide away, leaving the girl and her baby in the rain.

But she stays with me all day.

I spend whole chunks of time—between meetings on adult literacy and GED preparation and tutoring a man from Mumbai in ESL—imagining the girl and child wasting the better part of the day on the train’s platform, watching the “L” come and go. I invent stories in my mind. The baby is colicky and only sleeps in flux. The vibration of approaching trains is the key to keeping the baby asleep. The woman’s umbrella—I picture it, bright red with flamboyant golden daisies—was manhandled by a great gust of wind, turned inside out, as they tend to do on days like this. It broke. The umbrella, the baby, the suitcase: it was more than her two arms could carry. Of course she couldn’t leave the baby behind. And the suitcase? What was inside that suitcase that was of more importance than an umbrella on a day like this? Maybe she stood there all day, waiting.

Maybe she was waiting for an arrival rather than a departure. Or maybe she hopped on the red line seconds after the brown line disappeared from view.

You can pre-order Pretty Baby from Amazon and will be available from good bookshops from 20th August 2015.

The Milliner’s Secret By Natalie Meg Evans

The Milliner's Secret‘The Milliner’s Secret’ is the latest book by Meg Natalie Evans.

June 1940. As Paris, the City of Light, approaches its darkest hour, a young woman treads the line between survival and collaboration.

Londoner Cora Masson has reinvented herself as Coralie de Lirac, using a false claim to aristocratic birth to launch herself as a fashionable milliner. When the Nazis invade, the influence of a high-ranking lover protects her business.

But the cruel demands of war – and of love – cannot be kept at bay forever. Soon Coralie must find the courage to do what’s necessary to protect her friends, her freedom and everything she believes in.

I’ve been reading this book over the last few days and although I thoroughly enjoyed it as I have always been a fan of German history, my only negative point regarding the book was I did find the story a bit too long. The story is seen solely through the eyes of Cora Masson, an outspoken young woman who has left the slums of London and her abusive father behind for the sophistication of Paris. Her hero comes in shape of Dietrich von Elbing, a handsome German man who Cora has fallen for and together the two of them embark on a heated relationship. With a flair for fashion, Cora reinvents herself as Coralie de Lirac and uses her skills as a popular milliner to become one of Paris’s most sought after fashion designers. When Dietrich disappears one day leaving Cora behind with a baby and the war raging in the background, Cora finds herself embroiled in a world where identities are hidden and lives are at stake.

This is the first book that I’ve read by Natalie and I thought it was a cleverly written and well researched story that flowed at a nice pace, filled with suspense from the very beginning. Coralie is a great leading lady, flamboyant with her English wit and humour, she adapts easily to the role of a sophisticated Parisian lady, who works hard to fend for herself and protect those around her, particularly her bubbly little girl Noelle. With her maternal nature and protectiveness, people flock to Coralie when they are in danger and she naturally looks out for them.

The story is primarily a romantic one, but it is filled with facts and information that makes it an informative and historic tale. Set against the backdrop of 1930’s Paris and packed with glamour, danger and outspoken ladies, ‘The Milliner’s Secret’ is a brave, captivating and glamorous story with a stunning cover.

You can buy The Milliner’s Secret from Amazon and is avaialble to buy from good bookshops.

Cover Reveal – The Day Of Second Chances By Julie Cohen

The Day Of Second ChancesI’m delighted to reveal the cover to Julie Cohen’s brand new book, ‘The Day Of Second Chances’ and it’s so pretty!

The story of ‘The Day Of Second Chances’ is –

Can you imagine keeping a secret so devastating, you couldn’t even tell the people you love?

Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years.

Jo’s secret could smash apart the ‘normal’ family life she’s fought so hard to build.

Lydia’s secret could bring her love – or the loss of everything that matters to her.

One summer’s day, grandmother, mother and daughter’s secrets will collide in a single dramatic moment. Is it too late for second chances?

I’m looking forward to the release of this book, it sounds like a great story to me.

You can pre-order The Day Of Second Chances from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 28th Janaury 2016.