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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.

Because Of You By Dawn French

Because Of You‘Because Of You’ is the latest book by Dawn French.

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock . . . midnight. The old millennium turns into the new. In the same hospital, two very different women give birth to two very similar daughters. Hope leaves with a beautiful baby girl. Anna leaves with empty arms. Seventeen years later, the gods who keep watch over broken-hearted mothers wreak mighty revenge, and the truth starts rolling, terrible and deep, toward them all. The power of mother-love will be tested to its limits. Perhaps beyond.

Ok, so I’ve just finished reading this book and the tears are tripping me, so apologies if this review does not make sense! It’s a good job that tissues came with this book, as I really needed them!

This book is a beautifully written story about motherhood and loss and really pulls at the readers heartstrings.

On New Years 1999, mothers to be Anna and Hope are looking forward to celebrating the new year with a new addition to their families, but the unexpected happens and over the next 18 years, we see the women adapt to changes. Hope becomes the besotted mother to her outspoken and fun daughter Minnie, whilst Anna longs to be a mother.

It’s difficult to go into too much details with this story as you can easily give something away in the many twists that Dawn has weaved into the tale.

The characters are a fabulous mix of personalities from Anna’s husband, Julius who’s an self centred egocentric to the quiet determination of Anna. I particularly loved Hope, who’s love for Minnie is never ending whilst Minnie, is the star of the show with her wit, charm and never one to shy away from confrontation. Another character who really struck a chord with me was Issac, who was Hope’s ex boyfriend, he was a gentle soul who’s calming presence and love never strayed far in the story.

For a comedian, Dawn has written a story that would make the hardest of hearts fall apart. Cleverly written with humour to help the reader recover from the tender moments. Dawn shines a spotlight on the hardships of motherhood and the lengths that a person will go to achieve it. A stellar book written with warmth and compassion, ‘Because Of You’ is a beautiful book to curl up, filled with laughter and smiles this book made for emotional reading.

You can buy ‘Because Of You’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

A Postcard From Paris By Alex Brown

A Postcard From Paris‘A Postcard From Paris’ is the latest book in the ‘Postcard’ series by Alex Brown.

Annie Lovell is keen to put the spark back into her life and when her elderly neighbour inherits an abandoned Parisian apartment she goes to Paris to discover more. Her curiosity takes an unexpected turn on discovering a bundle of secret diaries hidden within the walls, detailing the life of a young English woman, Beatrice Crawford, who volunteered in 1916 to nurse the soldiers in the fields of France. Captivated by the romantic City of Light, Annie realises first appearances are not always as they seem. Following Beatrice’s journey from the Great War, through the Roaring Twenties and to a very different life in Nazi-occupied Paris, Annie must piece together the events from the past, if she is to fulfil the legacy that Beatrice left for her to find…

Alex is back with another story brimming with history and strong female relationships set in the most romantic city in the world.

The story is primarily seen through the narrative of Annie, who has been asked to go to Paris on behalf of her older friend Joan, who’s been left an apartment and shop from a deceased relative by the name of Beatrice. Unable to travel, Annie has been given the task to tidy up the apartment and the shop as they prepare to sell it. But whilst on this trip, Annie befriends two women, who like Annie are at a crossroads in their life. Maggie’s husband has died and outspoken New Yorker Kristen has just come out of a messy divorce. Both women take Annie under their skin as they delve into the elusive history of Beatrice, a mysterious British woman that has divided opinions in the city.

I adored this story, from the exquisite descriptions of the city to the dialogue between the new friends. Alex has written a beautiful story that really pulls the reader in. The characters are fabulous mix of personalities from the kind hearted Annie who’s been given a second chance at life. Her children are grown up and have flown the nest. Her daughter Phoebe is a complicated character who’s never properly got over her father deserting her family. As the story progresses, we seem Annie blossom in confidence, rediscover her passion for creativity and love. The love interest in the story is such a sweet addition to the story, Ethiene is a handsome and charismatic character that the reader instantly falls in love with.

The story is also seen through Beatrice’s perspective through letters and diary entries and this makes for fascinating reading, set during the Second World War. Beatrice is a wonderfully strong character, who wants to make a change and help people during the horrendous time and her contributions do make for tear jerking reading.

The two perspectives make for captivating reader and are weaved cleverly together.
‘A Postcard from Paris’ is a beautifully written emotional and engaging story that is filled with hope, magic and charm.

You can buy ‘A Postcard From Paris’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Wife Who Got A Life By Tracy Bloom

The Wife Who Got A Life‘The Wife Who Got A Life’ is the latest book by Tracy Bloom.

Cathy Collins is a mum on a mission – to change her life. When her husband drops a midlife-crisis bombshell, Cathy decides it’s time to take control. No more laundry, teenage tantrums or housework. After years of putting herself last, she’s going to be first for a change. Cathy Collins is carving a new path, and nothing is going to get in her way…

I spent last night reading this book and the amount of times, I nearly fell out of bed laughing. This book is the perfect escapism and I urge everyone who needs a laugh to check it out.

The story is written the narrative of Cathy, who starts journaling after her sister from America, Lizzy sends her a motivational journal, she decides that this is the year that she’s going to make a change. The mother of the family, she’s left to everything, the cooking, the cleaning and the general upkeep of the house as well as looking after her parents. Tired of being taken for granted, Cathy decides to take a stand in life, getting a proper job, ignoring the rogue fish finger on the floor, hiring someone to cook, having spent too much of her life burning sausages as well as trying to ignore her husband mid life crisis.

I love Cathy, she’s warm, funny and such a lovely person. I love how she’s putting herself first for a change and the rest of the family are having to adapt to this. I also loved Cathy’s family, particularly her outspoken teenage son called Freddy who always had a wisecrack or witty response.

The story reflects on society, how it’s expected for the mother to run the house, but it also reflects on the power of family and friendship which makes for tender reading as it deals with grief and sickness.

A relatable story that pulls the reader in from the first quip to the first scenario, ‘The Wife That Found A Life’ is a fun and upbeat book about family dramas, upcoming menopause with plenty of entertainment along the way.

You can pre-order ‘The Wife Who Got A Life’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 29th April 2021.

Lost Property By Helen Paris

Lost Property‘Lost Property’ is the latest book by Helen Paris.

Twelve years ago her life veered off course, and the guilt over what happened still haunts her. Before then she was living in Paris, forging an exciting career; now her time is spent visiting her mother’s care home, fielding interfering calls from her sister and working at the London Transport Lost Property office, diligently cataloguing items as misplaced as herself. But when elderly Mr Appleby arrives in search of his late wife’s purse, his grief stirs something in Dot. Determined to help, she sets off on a mission – one that could start to heal Dot’s own loss and let her find where she belongs once more…

If you’re looking for a book that will tug at your heartstrings, then I wholeheartedly recommend this book. A story of discovery and friendship that made for emotional and reactive reading.

The story is seen through the narrative of Dot, who works in the Lost and Found and her sole goal is to reunite people with their lost goods. But when an elderly man loses his hold-all containing the purse of his beloved wife, Dot is determined to get it back to him, Dot is just as lost in real life, with her mother in a nursing home battling dementia, her father tragically died and he was the person that Dot really connected with. Her elder sister Philippa was a typical girl and was her mother’s favourite, whilst Dot loved her father and their adventures together.

Dot is a wonderful character, she’s kind with a big heart who doesn’t like change and when her sister wants to sell the ofamily home, she’s against the idea and finds herself trying to run away from reality.

The story is beautifully written and really encapsulates the concept of lost and found. Dot is lost in her life since the sudden death of her father, a man that she idolised and having that major role model in her life has left her in limbo. Her job helps reunite people with things that are genuinely important to them and this makes for tender reading in parts. Her mother is also lost, battling dementia and forgets her daughters and instead lives in the past with her husband and happier times.

A storyline that will stay with you, long after the you reached the final page, ‘Lost Property’ is a poignant and witty debut about reconnection and rediscovering your way in life.

You can buy ‘Lost Property’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.