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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.

The Arrangement Book Tour – Short Story

The ArrangementTo kick off the book tour for Sonya Lalli’s new book ‘The Arrangement’, the lovely author has written a short story that will continue across the other websites of the tour.

Serena’s Story
In The Arrangement, thirty-year-old, fun-living Serena is on the sidelines. She shares a mutual friend with the novel’s heroine Raina, and for a while dates one of Raina’s relatives. Even though Serena’s story doesn’t make it into my novel, I wanted to share a bit more about her own dating misadventures – and give you a few clues about what’s to come in ‘The Arrangement’!

“I’m done with dating.”

“You don’t mean that,” says Shaylee.

“This time, I mean it.” Serena takes a sip of her lukewarm pinot grigio and thinks about every lousy boyfriend she’s ever had – from first-kiss-worst-kiss Luke in the eleventh grade, to her most recent ex, Kris, who had the emotional intelligence of a granola bar.

Meanwhile, Serena had – for lack of better words – her shit entirely together. She was a successful marketing manager, had great friends and nearly enough in her savings account to finally buy that dream flat. She drove out to the suburbs every Sunday to spend the afternoon with her parents, attended yoga class every Tuesday and Friday morning, and – she thinks modestly – isn’t entirely unattractive.

Wasn’t she a catch? In the words of her spirit animal Charlotte on Sex and the City, “I’ve been dating since I was fifteen. I’m exhausted. Where is he?” If Mr. Right wasn’t here by now, Serena thinks decidedly, he wasn’t showing up at all.

As Shaylee orders them a plate of nachos, Serena tucks her phone back into her purse to avoid checking it obsessively. Just hours ago, James had texted her a picture of his new kitten poking out of a tea cosy with the caption Garfield is looking forward to our date, too!

And now?

Now, her new coworker James – who’d she been crushing on for weeks –had stood her up. He’d disappeared without so much as a “wait, actually, I’m just not that into you” text, and let her sit by herself at a bar waiting for him. Now, she was still just regular Serena – crushed and crush-less – still on the mend from her breakup with Kris.

“Oh, snap!” Shaylee slides her phone across the table. “The cinema down the road is doing a midnight screening of Mean Girls. Should we go?”

Serena shrugs.

“It’ll cheer you up…”

“OK. I guess.” She smiles, thankful Shaylee had nothing better to do tonight than keep her company. “Doesn’t Raina live nearby? Should we invite her? ”

“She’s on a date tonight.”

“Another one?”

“Her Nani’s fixing her up, remember?”

“Maybe her Nani should set me up.”

“Be careful what you wish for, Serena,” Shaylee says, as she buys the cinema tickets on her phone. “She’s driving Raina crazy right now.”

“Well, I guess I’d rather be alone than crazy.” Serena sets her hands on the table with purpose. “And in fact, I will be. I am never going to date again.”

“You still don’t mean that.”

“Watch me.”

Shaylee leans forward on her elbow, like she’s trying to read Serena’s face.

“I’m serious. This is bullshit. I’m done with dating.”

She reaches across the table and grab’s Serena’s wrist, rotating the watch face upwards. 9:04 pm.

“We have three hours until the movie starts,” Shaylee says. “Three whole hours to kill…”

“Your point is?”

“I’ll make you a deal. In the next three hours, I’ll introduce you to three men. Three men of my choosing.”

“Tonight?”

“Yeah,” Shaylee says. “Tonight. And if you don’t like any of them, I’ll leave you alone. I won’t say all the things friends are supposed to say about ‘taking time for yourself’ or ‘letting yourself heal’ – or anything like that. I’ll let you give up.”

“You’ll let me give up.”

“Not just let you, Serena, I’ll enforce it.”

Three men? Three hours? Would Shaylee pick them out in this very bar? Serena glances around the room, a few strangers already catching her eye. Or, would Shaylee go through Serena’s phone? Message men she’s met up with in the past but has already written off. Connect her with new ones on her dating apps?

“So are you in?”

Tapping her fingers on the table, she shrugs. It’s not like she had anything better to do, or at this point, anything to lose.

Three hours. Three mini-dates. This would be a walk in the park, and then she could sit down and embrace spinsterhood in peace.

“I’m in.”

If you enjoyed this short introduction to the characters, you can buy the book The Arrangement from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Forever House By Veronica Henry

The “Forever House‘The Forever House’ is the latest book by Veronica Henry.

Hunter’s Moon is the ultimate ‘forever’ house. Nestled by a river in the Peasebrook valley, it has been the Willoughbys’ home for over fifty years, and now estate agent Belinda Baxter is determined to find the perfect family to live there. But the sale of the house unlocks decades of family secrets – and brings Belinda face to face with her own troubled past.

I started this book the other night and fell in love with the bittersweet tale.

When Sally’s husband, Alexander is diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease, they decide to sell up the family home, for something a lot more easier to manage. The home called ‘Hunter’s Moon’ has been in Alexander’s family for generations and holds many memories for the family and both Sally and Alex, as it was the place that they fell in love in, when Sally was hired as the family housekeeper many years. Deciding to move out of my their happy home, they invest their trust into Belinda Baxter, the local estate agent who invests her time and dedication to helping people find their forever home, the kind and gentle woman who feels an empathy towards the elderly couple.

The story is told in the past and present tense, when Sally and Alexander first met back in 1967 and Sally was employed as housekeeper for Hunter’s Moon, when Alexander’s mother, Margot was a bestselling author and invested all her time in writing and let the house go to wrack and ruin, but then Alexander met Sally and thought she would be perfect, homely and organised, she settled into Hunter’s Moon and quickly became part of the family. The present tense, is the elderly couple having to deal with the double blow of leaving their home as well as deal with Alexander’s as they both notice his health deteriorating. Meanwhile, Belinda has her own problems as she tries to find the perfect buyer for Hunter’s Moon, her past reappears bringing with them unhappy memories and old ghosts.

This is truly, a lovely story. It’s a warm hearted and whimsical tale that is filled with charm as well as sadness, as Sally and Alexander prepare to leave their family home and deal with his illness. The scenes about Motor Neurone disease were sensitively written and researched well and I felt a strong empathy for Alexander as he challenged the changes in his body. The relationship between Sally and Alexander is a tender and interesting one, reading through the past chapters, it’s lovely how they went from friends to lovers and how seamlessly their relationship developed. Margot, Alexander’s mother was a vibrant character, self absorbed and dramatic, she loved being the centre of attention and struggled when this wasn’t the case. I particularly loved Belinda, her warm and soft nature and genuine care for clients made for sweet reading and I really empathised with her at times.

Beautifully written, ‘The Forever House’ is a poignant tale of love and loss, with tender characters and storyline, this book was an absolute feel good page turner.

You can buy The Forever House from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops

Secrets Of A Happy Marriage By Cathy Kelly

Secrets Of A Happy Marriage ‘Secrets Of A Happy Marriage’ is the latest book by Cathy Kelly.

Bess is hoping to show everyone just how happy her recent marriage is, but behind all the party-planning the cracks are beginning to show. Why is joining a family so difficult? Jojo, Bess’s stepdaughter, has a point to make. Bess is not her mother, and she won’t replace the one she’s been missing every day for the last two years. And will she ever get the chance to become a mum herself? Cousin Cari is a fierce career-woman who isn’t unnerved by anything – apart from facing the man who left her at the altar, and he’s on the guestlist. Her job has been a safe place to hide ever since – but is it time to let love into her life again? Thanks to laughter, tears and one surprise appearance, the Brannigans might just discover the secrets of a happy marriage . . . But will they find out before it’s too late?

Cathy Kelly is back with a sensitively written new book about new beginnings, family secrets and finding love.

In this story, we meet the Brannigan ladies, as they lead up to the 70th birthday of man of the Brannigan clan and the dramas that unfold before them.

Bess Brannigan has recently married widowed Edward much to the despair of his daughter, Jojo who never got over the death of her mother and who hates Bess for taking over her parents house and changing it and more importantly for taking her mothers place. Distraught at the thought of a woman replacing her mother, Jojo’s life is riddled with stress and the fact that she and her husband Hugh are unable to become pregnant makes life for Jojo even harder.

Meanwhile her best friend and cousin Cari has just given up on men, after being jilted at the alter, she throws her life into her career and being the best literary agent, she can be but when her key client is taken away. Cari decides to take a step from her career and when she meets handsome Conal, a man who distracts her from life and also makes her begin to live and find faith in love.

Finally Bess thought that she found love later on in life and was looking forward to settling down with Edward but his daughter, Jojo hates her and brings the worst out in Bess. As Bess tries to organise the best birthday ever for Edward, she finds all her plans falling apart and the perfect marriage she dreamed off spiralling out of control.

The story is warmhearted read and made for sweet and poignant reading tackling the issues of infertility and infidelity. I found myself sympathising with Jojo dealing with the pressures of life and babies, she was a relatable character.

An emotional and heartwarming story about family filled with wisdom, love and humour, ‘Secrets Of A Happy Marriage’ is a modern story of women’s lives and the issues and pressures that they face.

You can buy Secrets of a Happy Marriage from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.

A Cornish Christmas Carol By Liz Fenwick

A Cornish Christmas CarolLiz Fenwick is back with a short Christmas novella called ‘A Cornish Christmas Carol’.

Joy to the world? Not if Abigail Scorrier has anything to do with it. She’s spent most of her adult life trying to avoid the festive frenzy. She loved Christmas as a child in Cornwall: the colourful stockings hanging above a crackling fire, the excitement of what will be waiting for her the next morning. But ever since her life took a heart-breaking turn, she’s buried those memories and done everything she can to avoid her past, her family and most of all, the Christmas season. But on Christmas Eve, Abigail will have three visitors she can’t ignore, and what they reveal about her past, present and future might just change her life – and mend her heart.

I spent Saturday evening, reading this short novella and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this festive tale. The story is seen through the eyes of Abigail, a woman who has no interest in Christmas. Driven by her career, she finds herself working over the festive season as her pregnant assistant is unable to travel. Disgruntled and fed up, she packs up and travels to Cornwall to work on a television programme, it’s whilst she’s travelling to Cornwall that’s she visited by three ghosts, one of the past, present and future. These visits help Abigail figure out where she is in life, how she became the hard woman that she is known as and how she can turn her life around.

The story is essentially a modern version of the well loved Dicken’s tale, ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Initially, Abigail is a cold character, who has no interest in the sentiment of Christmas but as the story unfolds, we find out that she wasn’t always such a hard hearted woman.

With an stunning cover, this book is an interesting and captivating story from the beginning, ‘A Cornish Christmas Carol’ is a warmly written tale that is perfect to curl up with a glass of mulled wine.

You can buy A Cornish Christmas Carol from Amazon and will be available for your Kindle.