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The Adults By Caroline Hulse

The Adults‘The Adults’ is the latest book by Caroline Hulse.

Claire and Matt are divorced but decide what’s best for their daughter Scarlett is to have a ‘normal’ family Christmas. They can’t agree on whose idea it was, or who said they should bring their new partners. But someone did – and it’s too late to pull the plug. Claire brings her new boyfriend Patrick, a seemingly eligible Iron-Man-in-Waiting. Matt brings the new love of his life Alex, funny, smart, and extremely patient. Scarlett, their daughter, brings her imaginary friend Posey. He’s a rabbit. Together the five (or six?) of them grit their teeth over Organized Fun activities, drinking a little too much after bed-time, oversharing classified secrets about their pasts and, before you know it, their holiday is a powder keg that ends – where this story starts – with a tearful, frightened, call to the police…

‘The Adults’ is a deliciously fun and chaotic story about the antics of couples when they go on holidays with their new partners and children. Christmas should be a time of relaxation and fun, but not for Claire when her new partner, Matt organises a Christmas getaway with his ex-wife Alex and her new boyfriend Patrick and their daughter Scarlett and imaginary friend, a rabbit called Posey.

Dysfunctional from the start, the story offers a comedic and honest insight into modern families, trying to move forward and create a comfortable environment for the children without animosity and where Mummy and Daddy are friends.

The story is seen through the different narratives of the characters and this an interesting insight into everyone and their feelings towards the situation and each other. Scarlett is particularly entertaining with her imaginary friend Posey, much to the concern of her parents.

The story starts at the vital moment that a life changing situation happens and then flows back and forth in the past and present tense, which is very reminiscent of Liane Moriarty’s writing.

A witty and past paced story about the politics of family, ‘The Adults’ is a cleverly written and well observed story of family dynamics and how nothing can ever go quite to plan, no matter who much you prepare.

You can pre-order The Adults from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 23rd August 2018.

A Family Recipe By Veronica Henry

A Family Recipe‘The Family Recipe’ is by Veronica Henry.

Laura Griffin is preparing for an empty nest. The thought of Number 11 Lark Hill falling silent – a home usually bustling with noise, people and the fragrant smells of something cooking on the Aga – seems impossible. Laura hopes it will mean more time for herself, and more time with her husband, Dom. But when an exposed secret shakes their marriage, Laura suddenly feels as though her family is shrinking around her. Feeling lost, she turns to her greatest comfort: her grandmother’s recipe box, a treasured collection dating back to the Second World War. Everyone has always adored Laura’s jams and chutneys, piled their sandwiches high with her pickles. Inspired by a bit of the old Blitz spirit, Laura has an idea that gives her a fresh sense of purpose. Full of fierce determination, Laura starts carving her own path. But even the bravest woman needs the people who love her. And now, they need her in return.

The latest book from Veronica Henry is a delicious heartwarming story about love and family.

The story is set in the past during the Second World War, when Jilly Wilson tragically loses her parents during an aid raid on the night that she meets handsome stranger called Harry Swann, who leaves her to fight for their country. Fast forward to nearly 70 years later to the present day and her great grand-daughter is leaving for university, whilst her mother Laura is wondering what to do with her spare time.

Suddenly with an empty house, she decides to embark on a new venture and use her own culinary skills and rustic home to create a new income for herself. She was looking forward to spending time with her husband Dom, now that both their daughters are gone but fate has dealt her an unexpected hand.

The two different eras and characters are a lovely touch to the story, as both women separated in age, both deal with sudden circumstances that are set to challenge them. Jilly AKA Kanga is a lovely woman, she’s strong and caring and even at the loss of her parents, sees her put others before her and give them sanctuary when their houses are bombed. Meanwhile, Laura is a kind hearted woman who’s goal is to look after her children and protect them from hurt, she throws herself into her work and to distract herself.

I genuinely loved this story, the characters are heartwarming and relatable and the different eras give an interesting quirk to the story. With a charming cover and a lovely blend of family dramas, complicated relationships and new beginnings, ‘The Family Recipe’ is an absolute treat.

You can buy A Family Recipe from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

A Family Recipe Book Tour

A Family RecipeOn the book tour for Veronica Henry’s new book called ‘A Family Recipe’, Vervonica shares some of her own favourite recipes.

On my kitchen shelf is a tiny metal box full of index cards, stuffed with recipes from my grandmothers, my parents and me, that I now have in my care. I’ve used many of them throughout my life, as well as adding to the collection. Many of the recipes are reminiscent of important family occasions.

And that was where the idea for A FAMILY RECIPE came from: a little box that holds recipes that relate to the life-changing events of the residents of 11 Lark Hill in Bath, from the war to the present day. Laura finds the box at a difficult time in her life, and uses it to help her move forward.

For this blog tour I am sharing some of my favourite recipes from my own box.

CROQUEMBOUCHE

Birthday cakes have always been important to me – a demonstration of love, but also recognition of a person and what they represent.

When my children were small it was a labour of love to produce something spectacular that didn’t involve huge amounts of skill – I am not in the least bit artistic or crafty, so intricate icing was always going to be out. My eldest son’s first birthday cake was a big round chocolate cake covered in plastic zoo animals: I can still remember buying a bag full from the local toy shop and planting their feet in the sticky icing. I followed that method religiously for years afterwards: making the biggest cake I could manage, then topping it with Thomas the Tank Engine and all his friends, Biker Mice, Mutant Hero Turtles … Another favourite was a cake smothered in the contents of a huge bag of pick ‘n’ mix – lurid, additive-laden but a joy to a horde of small boys.

I used plain Victoria sponge, or the miracle that is Coca Cola cake – ruinously sweet but the most forgiving concoction that works every time and is light, fluffy and squidgy.

Now the boys are bigger they have rather grown out of statement birthday cakes. But I’ve had several friends with landmark birthdays recently, and have discovered the joy of a croquembouche. There is nothing guaranteed to bring a bigger gasp of admiration than these gravity-defying towers, and they are surprisingly easy to assemble.

Profiteroles themselves are quite easy to make – use a recipe from your preferred chef of choice (you can’t go wrong with Delia or Nigella) or you can buy them plain from most supermarkets. I like to fill mine with beaten double cream flavoured with Cointreau and a little icing sugar to thicken it up a bit – poke a hole in the bottom of each profiterole and pipe the cream in until its nearly full.

You can buy a croquembouche cone or make one from cardboard. I use melted white chocolate to stick each profiterole to the cone, starting from the bottom and building them up on top of each other in circles. The beauty of a croquembouche is that it doesn’t have to look perfect – a higgledy-piggedly-ness adds a certain je-ne-sais-quoi. Remember to make it on the plate or board you are going to serve it on – it’s very dangerous to try and move it after assembly! Stick it in the fridge to harden the chocolate and strengthen the structure.

Once the tower is complete you can customise them to your heart’s content, depending on whether you are understated and have the nerve to leave them quite plain with just a drizzling of caramel, or if like me you have to throw everything at it! Sugared almonds are a traditional decoration, inserted randomly into the gaps – either gold or silver, or the pretty pastel ones in pink, white and yellow. I dip random profiteroles in white chocolate and roll them in dried flowers, which looks very rustic and pretty – or you could try crushed raspberries. I also highlight the occasional profiterole with edible gold leaf which looks stunning. There are so many pretty edible decorations available – you can go as rococco and over the top as you like. Traditionally they are covered in a web of spun sugar, but I’m way too scared for that …. For birthdays I stick in half a dozen mini sparklers to mark the occasion, or a single one of those fountain candles would be suitably dramatic and showy.

You can pre-order A Family Recipe from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 17th May 2018.

The Year That Changed Everything By Cathy Kelly

The Year That Changed Everything‘The Year That Changed Everything’ is the latest book by Cathy Kelly.

Ginger isn’t spending her 30th the way she would have planned. Tonight might be the first night of the rest of her life – or a total disaster. Sam is finally pregnant after years of trying. When her waters break on the morning of her 40th birthday, she panics: forget labour, how is she going to be a mother? Callie is celebrating her 50th at a big party in her Dublin home. Then a knock at the door mid-party turns her perfect life upside down . . .

Cathy Kelly is back with another tale of female friendships and complicated relationships that made for bittersweet reading.

In her latest book, we meet three very different women who all share one significant date in their lives. On the day before Ginger’s 30th birthday, she discovers that the people who she thought were her best friends, weren’t her friends at all. Hurt by the way she’s been treated, she sets herself a mission to make her life happier and too rid her life of all the toxicity in her life. Callie is a modest woman with small demands, she’s the opposite to her husband, Jason, who loves to flash his cash around, but it seems that flashing all that cash has gotten him into trouble leaving Callie and their teenage daughter Poppy to deal with the consequences. Meanwhile, after years of trying to have a baby, Sam and her husband Ted finally have a little girl to add to their family unit, but with having the least maternal mother in the world as a role model, Sam fears that she’s unable to be a proper mother.

I really enjoyed this story, it reminded me of a Maeve Binchy novel, a story of friendships and relationships and the issues that women face on a regular basis such as post-natal depression, deception as well self confidence and body issues and Cathy has written about them all in her book, in a frank and charming tale with an injection of Irish wit from the vibrant characters scattered throughout.

The book is filled many different roles from all walks of life. All three leading ladies are wonderful and with all them I felt an immediate connection with, particularly Ginger. She’s a kind, big hearted woman that people take for granted especially her friends and it makes for sad reading, when she’s confronted with how they really feel about her. But instead of wallowing in self pity, she takes on their criticism to use it to make a change to her life for the better and use it to achieve her goals and find love. Callie, has become used to being a kept woman but quickly adapts to change when she finds that the life she she has been living was based on a lie and does everything in her power to protect her moody teenage daughter. And for Sam, I felt a strong empathy for, as she struggled with being a new mother and adjusting to her life and constantly judging herself.

The book is written from the different perspectives of the women, but they flow seamlessly together as the women’s lives begin to interact and their bonds begin to grow. Wonderfully written, filled with compassion, charm and delicious characters, ‘The Year That Changed Everything’ is an inspirational story of life and change and truly goes to show what a difference a year makes. A charming tale!

You can buy The Year that Changed Everything from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Together By Julie Cohen

Together‘Together’ is the latest book by Julie Cohen.

On a morning that seems just like any other, Robbie wakes in his bed, his wife Emily asleep beside him, as always. He rises and dresses, makes his coffee, feeds his dogs, just as he usually would. But then he leaves Emily a letter and does something that will break her heart. As the years go back all the way to 1962, Robbie’s actions become clearer as we discover the story of a couple with a terrible secret – one they will do absolutely anything to protect

‘Together’ is the first book that I’ve read by Julie Cohen and it was the great introduction to the author, as I consumed the book in one day. I sat up into the late hours one night unable to put the book down until I reached the final page.

What reads as a tender love story that is reminiscent of ‘The Notebook’ is instead a story that left myself and I imagine all the other readers shocked!

In this story, we meet Robbie and Emily, a couple who battled against all odds to be together. The story flows in the past and present tense and is seen through the perspective of both characters, as they fall in love, only to be broke apart but each time they drift apart, they become reconciled and their turbulent relationship continues.

The beginning of the book starts in the present tense, when Robbie wakes up one morning and leaves Emily behind never to return. And then between alternating chapters flow between the pair of them, dating back to 1962 when the couple first laid eyes on each other. The story then follows Emily, a studious young English woman and Robbie, a handsome American Navy man who women fall over. But Robbie has only eyes for Emily and even though they live in different countries, the couple move to America and hope to live happily ever after. But their life is far from perfect, with Emily estranged from her family, she faces the situation were different and hope that one day, she will have some type of relationship with her parents and only sister.

The characters are fascinating and I found myself immersed in the book, unable I found out why Emily and Robbie were against the world. On paper, they seemed the perfect couple, both respected members of the community with professional jobs with their only son Adam.

This story is beautifully written with a suspenseful atmosphere that flows throughout. It reads like a love story, but there is an underlying essence of suspense in the book that really makes the reader engage in the story and wonder why Emily and Robbie live such lonely lives.

An unique tale that grips the readers attention, this poignant tale of forbidden love that spans over five decades, is a twisted love story that really breaks the reader’s hearts.

You can buy Together from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.