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Milly Johnson Reveals New Book – The Perfectly Imperfect Woman

The Perfectly Imperfect WomanOne of my favourite authors Milly Johnson is back with a new boo, wonderfully called ‘The Perfectly Imperfect Woman’.

What the back cover says:

Marnie Salt has made so many mistakes in her life that she fears she will never get on the right track. But when she ‘meets’ an old lady on a baking chatroom and begins confiding in her, little does she know how her life will change.

Arranging to see each other for lunch, Marnie finds discovers that Lilian is every bit as mad and delightful as she’d hoped – and that she owns a whole village in the Yorkshire Dales, which has been passed down through generations. And when Marnie needs a refuge after a crisis, she ups sticks and heads for Wychwell – a temporary measure, so she thinks.

But soon Marnie finds that Wychwell has claimed her as its own and she is duty bound not to leave. Even if what she has to do makes her as unpopular as a force 12 gale in a confetti factory! But everyone has imperfections, as Marnie comes to realise, and that is not such a bad thing – after all, your flaws are perfect for the heart that is meant to love you.

‘The Perfectly Imperfect Woman’ is the heart-warming and hilarious new novel from our queen of feel-good fiction – a novel of family, secrets, love and redemption … and broken hearts mended and made all the stronger for it.

You can pre-order The Perfectly Imperfect Woman from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 22nd February 2018.

The Consequence of Love Book Tour – Writing About Love

The Consequence of LoveOn the book tour for Sandra Howard’s new book,’The Consequence Of Love’, Sandra talks about writing about love.

What do you do when you cannot get somebody out of your mind? You’ve been emotionally involved, lived and breathed and given your all to one person; he was everything to you, the one you truly loved. You’d joked and laughed and thought as one, involved yourself in his work; shared and stood by him in a crisis he found himself in, an eruption of frightening circumstances, which had eventually caused him to have to leave the country. You’d waved him away, loving his bravery and vowing fierce, unswerving loyalty all the while before he could return. He’d left your life and disappeared.

You’d kept in touch, but then suddenly and incomprehensibly your line of communication had gone dead. There seemed no rhyme or reason for it, but you’d lost all contact. The man you loved had simply vanished into thin air and your life had lost all meaning. Then when the months had gone by, a year, and you’d had to accept the fact that he could be dead, in some dreadful hole, in love with with or married to someone else, you’d finally lost faith and turned to another in your despair.

But the emotional ties with the past are too strong. You’ve married, settled down, had one child and then another, you have a good life, a good rewarding job, but still you cannot forget. There’d been no closure, no explanation, no chance to grieve, and in very private moments you still yearn and dream. The ties are unbreakable, the man you truly love is still in your blood stream and your husband knows.

I came to write ‘The Consequence of Love’ because I wanted to know what, my character, Nattie, would do if after seven long years with no contact, her true love returned to his homeland and sought her out. He would be desperate to find her again and explain, I wanted to know what had happened to him in all that time, why he’d disappeared, and of course the outcome, what would be the consequence of his return.
I knew him well, he was the hero of the novel I’d written over seven years ago called ‘A Matter of Loyalty’ and a number of readers had got in touch to say how much they too wanted to know how things had worked out.

The one thing I’ve learned about writing fiction is how impossibly hard it is to let go. The characters take over, they lead you by the hand, do things you wouldn’t have expected and lead you down strange and wonderful paths. They become part of the family. Some of them continued through my first three books and now, with ‘The Consequence of Love’, seven years on, we’ve been reunited again.

You can buy The Consequence of Love from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Keep You Safe By Melissa Hill

Keep You Safe‘Keep You Safe’ is the latest book by Melissa Hill.

Every mother faces impossible choices. Vaccination is one of the hardest. For single mum Kate O’Hara, there was no decision to make. Her daughter Rosie is one of a small percentage of Irish children who can’t be vaccinated against measles. All Kate can do is hope that her little girl is safe. For mummy blogger Madeleine Cooper, it was a leap of faith she wasn’t prepared to take when she and her husband declined controversial measles jabs for their daughter Clara. All she can do is pray that it’s the right decision. But when classmates Clara and Rosie both become sick will Kate pay for Madeleine’s choice?

For those who know Melissa Hill, they would have enjoyed her romantic and fun stories of love and friendship. But, with her first book with HQ, Melissa has gone a little bit darker with her writing and writes about most parents fears, when their child becomes seriously ill.

The story is seen through the eyes of mothers Kate O’Hara and Madeleine Cooper, who’s daughters become ill with measles. The possible consequences that both girls were never given the MMR Booster, a vaccination against various illnesses including measles. As Madeleine’s daughter recovers from the illness, Kate’s becomes worse and it suddenly becomes a situation where her daughter is fighting for her life.

The two women are complete polar opposites. Kate is a single mother after her husband suddenly died. She’s struggling to make ends meet as a single parent, but her daughter Rosie is her priority. Unfortunately, Rosie wasn’t able to get the MMR vaccination as she was allergic to it, so Kate lives in constant fear that her daughter will become ill. Meanwhile, Madeleine is the ultimate yummy mummy, with her outspoken views and popular blogs, she voices her views on parenting, which others may not always agree with, but that doesn’t bother Madeleine. She’s confident and occasionally unorthodox. Like Kate, her daughter Clara was also not vaccinated, but that was because, Madeleine and her husband Greg were worried about the side effects, as some people believed that the vaccine could cause Autism.

Essentially the story is a battle of morals and ethnics. As Clara becomes better, Rosie gets considerably worse and all fingers of blame point towards outspoken Madeleine as they decided not to get their children vaccinated.

It’s heartbreaking to read both mothers sides of the story as they are both in their own types of hell. Kate is praying that her daughter gets better whilst also reluctantly disliking Madeleine for having a healthy daughter. But she is also tortured, that her daughter may possibly never fully recover and the only way, she can pay for her treatment is to take Madeleine and her husband to court.

Whilst, the tables have turned for Madeleine, she is delighted that Clara is safe and well but she is also guilt ridden at the thought of poor Rosie. As well as that she has become a public hate figure for her outspoken opinions on not vaccinating her daughter.

This story is realistically and cleverly written and really does tug at heartstrings. With having both sides of the story with two hugely different personalities, where Kate shies away, Madeleine embraces the spotlight. The story is so vivid in parts, that you really get a clear understanding of the torture that both mothers are going through and at the end of the day, the both share a common ground of just wanting to keep their children safe.

Riveting from the very start, ‘Keep You Safe’ is a completely different story from Melissa. Tackling issues and dilemmas that all parents face and face, this book was an emotional roller coaster I kept me gripped and will most definitely raise a lot of questions in book clubs.

You can pre-order Keep You Safe from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops 21st September 2017.

You, Me, Everything By Catherine Isaac

You, Me, Everything‘You, Me, Everything’ is Catherine Isaac’s debut novel.

Sick of her boyfriend Adam’s lying and cheating, Laura throws him out only months after giving birth to their son. While she brings up William with the help of her mum, Susan, Adam moves to France to follow his dreams. But ten years on, Susan is battling a debilitating disease, aged just 53, and she convinces her daughter that William needs his father in his life. So, in their first trip abroad in years, Laura and ten-year-old William set off to spend the summer at Chateau de Roussignol, in the sunlit hills of the Dordogne, where Adam now lives. Laura is determined is to make Adam fall in love with his own son. But the problem isn’t only that he’s an unwilling participant in this game. It’s that Laura is tormented by a secret of her own, one that nobody – especially William – must discover.

If you haven’t heard of Catherine Issac then I’m sure you’ve heard of her other writing name, Jane Costello. Jane has written nine novels, all filled with humour and charm that make for the perfect escapism read.

In her first book, writing as Catherine Issac, although there is the sharp injection of Jane’s humour, there is also a beautiful tenderness to this love story that made the book a struggle to put down.

In this story, we meet single mother Jess and her son, William who head off to France as Jess wants William to bond with his father. Even though, Adam broke Jess’s heart, she wants them to have a relationship and spend more time together despite the distance.

Jess isn’t entirely happy about this situation, but goes ahead with the plan, more so to keep her mother happy. Her mother, is terminally ill with Huntington’s disease, an illness that is rapidly taking over her body and one of her wishes, is that William has a relationship with his father.

The story is written in the first person and is seen solely through Jess’s narrative. She’s a kind hearted woman, who never really got over the heartbreak that Adam caused her and tries to hide her resentful feelings from William. Meanwhile, William is wildly curious about life and loves nothing more than sharing random facts. I loved the scenes with William and Jess, where they argued over ownership of the iPad and he battled with his occasionally embarrassing mother.

The main subject of the story is Jess’s mothers ongoing battle with Huntington’s Disease and regularly flashes back to when Jess was a teenager and her mother began to show symptoms of the illness. What’s terrifying to read is that in all the advancements in medicine and technology, there is no known cure for the illness and once contracted, the illness has a 50/50 chance of being passed onto a child. Catherine has thoroughly researched the illness and provides background information for those who have never heard of it.

To say that this story is beautifully written would be an understatement and it’s no surprise that it’s already being adapted for film.

It’s gentle, flows at a lovely pace and for every tearjerking moment, there’s a gentle joke to lighten the mood.

A story that stays with you long after you reached the final page, ‘You, Me, Everything’ is an enchanting tale about love, new beginnings and most importantly, hope.

You can pre-order You Me Everything from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 20th September 2018.

Practice Makes Perfect Book Tour – Cotswolds Quirks

Penny ParksOn the book tour for Penny Parks’ new book, ‘Practice Makes Perfect’, Penny talks about the quirks of living in the Cotswolds.

There must be something in the water…

I’m often asked what I love about living in the Cotswolds and, in truth, there are so many different answers to that question – the wonderful sense of community in our village, the honey coloured stone, the rolling fields and countryside… well, you catch my drift. But one of the notable quirks of Cotswold life is our particular penchant for a bonkers event.

If you happen to visit the Cotswolds, for example, on a Bank Holiday in May, you will find grown men and athletes hurtling down a virtually-vertical hillside near Gloucester in pursuit of a rolling cheese – yes, you did read that correctly. A nine-pound Double Gloucester Cheese to be precise.

Cotswolds Park

And on that self-same day, you would see the streets of Tetbury decked out for a country fair, as men and women alike attempt an undulating and challenging course, whilst carrying a fully laden wool sack on their shoulders.

TetburyNeither one for the faint hearted!

If you like your madness a little more genteel, then of course you could opt for the Boxing Day Bibury Duck Race – try saying that after a festive tipple or two! – where thousands of people turn out to watch a flotilla of sponsored yellow ducks race their way along the River Coln.

Bourton-on-the-Water

Practice Makes PerfectOr pop into Bourton-on-the-Water for a quick game of football in the river – splashing about on August Bank Holiday in an attempt to best the opposing team.

So whatever your inclination, there is almost certainly a Cotswold tradition that might float your boat – or indeed your duck. And it is this spirit of gung-ho adventure and individuality that makes the Cotswolds such a wonderful place to be.

And since my fictional town of Larkford is set in the Cotswolds, it is my very great pleasure to bring a little of this hearty hedonism to the page, where of course we can be assured that Dan and Taffy will make the very most of it.

You can buy Practice Makes Perfect from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Images from Loving The Cotswolds