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The Ends Of The Earth By Abbie Greaves

The Ends Of The Earth‘The Ends Of The Earth’ is the latest book by Abbie Greaves.

Mary O’Connor has been keeping a vigil for her first love for the past seven years. Every evening without fail, Mary arrives at Ealing Broadway station and sets herself up among the commuters. In her hands Mary holds a sign which bears the words: ‘Come Home Jim.’ Call her mad, call her a nuisance, call her a drain on society – Mary isn’t going anywhere. That is, until an unexpected call turns her world on its head. In spite of all her efforts, Mary can no longer find the strength to hold herself together. She must finally face what happened all those years ago, and answer the question – where on earth is Jim?

I adored Abbie’s debut called ‘The Silent Treatment’ a beautifully written story about grief and mental health and in her latest book, Abbie touches on similar topics.

The story is primarily seen through the narrative of Mary, who’s boyfriend disappeared 7 years ago and every evening, she goes to the train station in Ealing with a sign saying ‘Come Home Jim’. She unintentionally becomes an internet sensation when she was videoed giving out at the station. Aspiring journalist Alice’s job is on the line unless she can get a big story and she believes that Mary and her cardboard sign is the key and begins her investigation into Jim’s disappearance.

I genuinely loved this story, the characters, the complexities as well as the stunning backdrop of Northern Ireland. It’s written in the past and present tense from the perspectives of Mary and Alice. Mary is an outspoken woman from Northern Ireland for falls for Jim with his good looks. She falls headfirst for him and is aware that he has battles with drink and mental health. The story flows back and forth from her perspective, from the moment that she fell for him, his disappearance and her hope that he will return. She works in the shop as well as a helpline, hoping that someday, it will be his voice that she hear. Her hope and faith leap from the pages and she refuses to believe that he will never return. She feels that she let him down and with working at a helpline, will help others. Although Alice is hoping for the big story, you can see the human nature and morals come through the story, as she focuses more on reuniting Mary than the leading headline.

The story is a powerful read that highlights mental health sensitively and with care. Abbie, has written that mental health impacts much more than the victim but those around them, leaving unanswered questions and a desire to help. It’s evident that Mary is frustrated with Jim with his moods as it’s not a physical symptom and how much these outbursts tear the couple apart. Abbie paints a vivid picture of the Northern Ireland landscape and at times, her writing swept me away to the Causeway Coast with Jim and Mary on their adventures.

A story that tackles strong hitting subjects with care, ‘The Ends of the Earth’ is a story of courage and hope. Beautifully written with relatable characters, like Jim, it was hard to let go of this story.

You can buy ‘The Ends Of The Earth’ and is available to buy from Amazon and from good bookshops.

A Taste Of Home By Heidi Swain

A Taste Of Home‘A Taste Of Home’ is the latest book by Heidi Swain.

Fliss Brown has grown up living with her mother on the Rossi family’s Italian fruit farm. But when her mother dies, Fliss finds out she has a family of her own, and heads back to England with Nonna Rossi’s recipe for cherry and almond tart and a piece of advice: connect with your family before it is too late. Fliss discovers that her estranged grandfather owns a fruit farm himself, on the outskirts of Wynbridge, and she arrives to find a farm that has fallen into disrepair. Using her knowledge gleaned from working on the Rossi farm and her desire to find out more about her past, Fliss rolls her sleeves up and gets stuck in. But what will she discover, and can she resurrect the farm’s glory days and find a taste of home?

Heidi is back with another heartwarming story about family, new beginnings and love. The story is seen through the narrative of Fliss just after her mother’s death. Having to deal with the loss breaks Fliss’s heart but then she is given a letter from her mother about the unknown that she has in a small village called Wynbridge having spent her life in Italy with her family. So she plucks up the courage to find her grandfather and finds that they have even more in common than blood, both loving farming and decides to invest her learning from the Rossi family into making the farm a success.

I adore Heidi’s writing, it’s so warm, homely and glorious to curl up with. I loved the characters from the quiet determination of Fliss to her grandfather who’s quite similar in personality and it’s lovely to see them embark on their relationship and the delight of sharing new interests along the way. Other supporting characters include the handsome and charismatic Elliott, who read like the perfect man with his kind nature, whilst Anthony instantly read like a suspicious character. As the story is set in Wynbridge, it was lovely to return to the village and see some of the characters and see where they are now in their life journey’s such Jemma and Lizzie and the Cherry Tree Cafe.

The story is beautifully written and it’s obviously written with love, with the stunning descriptions of the backdrop of Italy to the stunning landscapes of the fruit farm. I found the story not only an aspiring tale but also so informative with regards to operating a farm, as well as the delicious recipes along the way. No Heidi book is complete without the inclusion of her mouth-watering recipes.

With a stunning setting and heartwarming characters, ‘A Taste Of Home’ is the perfect book to whisk you with this escapism read.

You can buy ‘A Taste Of Home’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Promise By Emma Heatherington

The Promise‘The Promise’ is the latest book by Emma Heatherington.

One terrible moment changes everything for teenagers Kate and David. Brought together during the darkest of times, a spark of hope is ignited between them – a hand held in the darkness, a promise whispered. Neither of them will ever forget those moments. It’s another ten years before David and Kate meet once more, and their lives are now so different. The promise they made to each other on that fateful day still binds them, but now they have so much more to lose. With so much at stake, have they missed their once chance at happiness? They only way they will ever know is to risk everything to be together. Is that too high a price to pay for love?

The latest book by Emma is a sad and tender love story, about being in the wrong place at the wrong time but finding the right person to be with. Seen through the narrative of Kate Foley and David Campbell, they are bound together when they are both caught up in a bomb attack in their local town. Both experience a strong connection with each other and Kates vows to see David again when he’s taken away in ambulance. Many years later they are reunited and their feelings are strong but they are both in relationships and moved on and unable to fight the strong bond that they have developed.

I started this book last night and right from the start, I had an uncomfortable sensation reading it, as it brought back haunting memories of Northern Ireland from a day that people are still seeking justice for. Like, many others I remember the day that the Omagh bomb off, I was in the markets in Dundalk getting a necklace with my name on it. The hush as the radio reported the explosion and everyone pulled their loved ones closer and the television footage of the people climbing from the wreckages.

This book brought it all back and Emma paints vividly the fear and anguish and how it blew lives apart but also brought people together as everyone wanted peace. The divide between Protestants and Catholics as well as the attitudes that had manifested from generation to generation. I lived through it and still to do this day it baffles me.

For me this is a love story that is like no other, whether it’s because it’s set on my doorstep or because I could have been Kate, I felt a deep connection with Kate and as the book progresses, I wished for the kind and sweet woman to get her happy ever after.

The story is seen through the narrative of Kate and David, Kate is Catholic and is seen to be from the wrong side of the tracks, whilst David’s father is Reverend and looks down on people, particularly Catholic’s and this does make for realistic and upsetting reading in parts. The story is written over a period of time as the pair become closer and try to battle feelings, But as David is in a relationship, I had conflicting feelings over this, as I wanted him to be true and not lead Kate on, who had essentially paused her life for him.

‘The Promise’ is like a modern day, ‘Love Across The Barricades’ and Emma beautifully wrote the hardship that Northern Ireland has had to face for many decades and proved that no matter the religion, all lives were changed that day. A story of hope, courage and new beginnings, this book is tremendously written, haunting and relatable.

You can pre-order your copy of ‘The Promise’ from Amazon and is also available from Eason from 14th October 2021.

And Then She Ran By Karen Clarke

And Then She Ran‘And Then She Ran’ is the latest book by Karen Clarke.

Grace bundled her eight-week-old daughter into her carry cot, opened the door and ran. Her life in New York faded into the background – she needed to keep her baby safe. She needed to get as far away from Patrick as possible. Now, staying in a remote cottage in Wales, Grace is trying to start again. But she can’t shake the uneasy feeling that she’s been followed.
And then she finds a note. Left on her bed. A tiny scrap of paper with scrawl in bright red pen. Keep her close. Anything could happen. She’s been found. Patrick wants his baby back. But Grace will do everything to stop him.

This book is the perfect book to get absorbed in, a story of a cat and mouse chase, this suspenseful story with filled with twists.

The story is seen solely through the narrative of Grace who’s ran away from New York for a small rural town in Wales where only her aunt knows her. She has ran from her power driven lover Patrick with her baby Lily and is determined to set up a new life for herself. But as she settles into the slower pace of life and adjusts to being a mother, she meets a Declan, a handsome and charismatic Irish man, who refuses to take no for an answer. Tentatively, Grace gets to know Declan, but as she gets closer, strange things and scary things start to happen, things go missing, phone lines are cut and Grace begins to fear that Patrick has sent Declan after her and Lily.

Grace is an interesting character, who’s had a complex life. Her parents relationship was turbulent as her father was prone to physical outbursts and her mother bore the brought of them. Grace was an only child and had no one to turn to and faced a lot of it alone. After her father died, Grace’s relationship with her mother became strained and she lost contact and she finds herself turning to aunt Morag for support. I really liked Morag, who initially was a gruff character who lived a simple life without a television or internet for distraction but as Grace and Lily stay with her, she becomes a softer and more approachable character, and this truly made for heartwarming reading at times.

This story travels at a good pace that keeps the reader engaged with regular twists and reveals that kept my attention hooked. Initially the story seems quite straight forward but as it progresses, we see new unexpected developments and more me, that’s the sign of a great thriller.

Set against the atmospheric, rural countryside of Wales, ‘And Then She Ran’ is a thrilling psychological story, filled with drama, suspense and the power of a mother’s love, this book will hook you from the first sentence.

You can buy ‘And Then She Ran’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.

Her Last Holiday By CL Taylor

Her Last Holiday Today marks the release of the latest book by CL Taylor called ‘Her Last Holiday’ and it’s a book that’s disturbed my slumber for the last couple of nights.

Two years ago, Fran’s sister Jenna disappeared on a wellness retreat in Gozo that went terribly wrong. Tom Wade, the now infamous man behind Soul Shrink Retreats, has just been released from prison after serving his sentence for the deaths of two people. But he has never let on what happened to the third victim: Jenna. Determined to find out the truth, Fran books herself onto his upcoming retreat – the first since his release – and finds herself face to face with the man who might hold the key to her sister’s disappearance. The only question is, will she escape the retreat alive? Or does someone out there want Jenna’s secrets to stay hidden?

The story is written through the narrative of 3 strong and determined women, sisters Fran and Jenna and another woman called Kate. It flows in a past and present tense, with the present narrative seen through Fran and Kate’s eyes and the past through Jenna’s having disappeared after her holiday, hence the name, ‘Her Last Holiday’.

Fran is determined to find out what happened to her younger sister after disappearing from a spiritual retreat and is convinced that Tom Wade, the leader of SoulShrink, is behind it. Tom has just been released from prison after the 2 of other people who accidentally died on the same retreat but Tom has always maintained his innocence regarding Jenna. Now back in the open, his wife Kate is adamant that normal services resume and goes about creating a new retreat in the same resort. Fran is guilt ridden by elderly mother into joining the retreat and finally finding the truth.

The story flows back and forth between the narratives and different time periods really set the scene for the story. Fran and Jenna never had a close relationship due to their age gap and that really affected Jenna and her confidence which becomes very apparent whilst confiding in Tom, who she unexpectedly falls for. Fran is a brash character who’s quick to speak up and easily falls into character as she pretends to be someone else on the retreat but she finds it hard to hold her tongue, when revelations come to light and her questioning raises suspicions. Kate is a complex character who’s fuelled by money and control and won’t let anything stand in the way of her success, including her husband Tom, she’s ruthless but also occasionally admirable in her ballsiness.

This book is gripping for many reasons, the strong female leads all with complexities making for fascinating reading, their riddled with secrets and lies and within each chapter, a drama is revealed hooking the reader even further in. Their narratives are unreliable, leaving the reader unsure of who to believe and being set in a spiritual retreat where people come to cleanse themselves against the exotic backdrop of Gozo adds an element of mystery and luxury to the story.

Once again, Cally has outdid herself with her latest book, riddled with suspense, dominant characters and twists at every turn, ‘Her Last Holiday’ is a compulsive thriller that pulls the reader in to discover the truth.

You can buy ‘Her Last Holiday’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.