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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.

A Family Reunion By Patricia Scanlan

A Family Reunion‘A Family Reunion’ is the latest book by Patricia Scanlan.

When four feisty women from the same family, get together at a family reunion, anything can happen…

‘A Family Reunion’ is a hard hitting and emotional story about a family’s hardship with bitter feelings and revelations.

The story begins on the night of Brigid’s 80th birthday, when a surprise party is organised by her friends and family. Having spent over 60 years giving her life to the Catholic Church and helping those less well off, she’s looking forward to her retirement. But on that night, her younger sister Imelda, who has always jealous of Brigid leaving Ireland and having a more exciting life and leaving her to deal with the family farm and settle for a much slower pace of life than she ever desired. After Imelda reveals the bottled up emotions from the last 60 years, the story then flows for many decades and seen from 3 generations of women. Brigid and Imelda, Imelda’s daughter Keelin and Keelin’s daughter Marie Claire, who has just returned to Ireland from Canada after that her boyfriend was cheating on her.

The story is seen from the different narratives as they all battle with the aftermath of Brigid’s party and all the women are devastated at Imelda’s news.

Imelda is a hard character, she’s selfish absorbed and is not afraid to speak her mind. She longed to leave rural Ireland for the city lights of Dublin, but couldn’t with Brigid becoming a nun and has never forgiving her sister for taking away her opportunity and as the years go by with everyone singing Brigid’s praises, Imelda’s resentment grows.

Brigid is an interesting character, she became a nun to discover more opportunities in life and escape Ireland and found herself loving and embracing helping the sick in Africa and her narratives makes for humbling reading at times.

The story spans over 70 years and it really does make for upsetting and sad reading in part. The Catholic Church has such a strong hold over Ireland and over the years there have been terrible stories revealed with the Catholic Church in the forecourt of them. The Mother and Baby Homes where underage or unwed women had babies only for them to cruelly taken away from them to be sold or to have buried in unmarked graves. Women were unable to get contraceptives and had to travel to Northern Ireland and only recently in 2018, in the Irish Referendum, was it allowed that women could have abortions in Ireland and not have to travel to England for an already traumatic experience.

Patricia has truly written a story that evokes many reactions from the hardships that women faced living in Ireland, the treatment and judgement from the Church that impacted on so many lives as well as the lack of equality. To think, that women were unable to get library cards without consent from their husbands made for truly shocking reading. It’s remarkable to read how the country has progressed throughout the years but without the power and resilience of the women of Ireland, life could be a lot darker.

Sweetly written and crafted with the warmth of Irish culture and dialogue, A story of revelations, hope and the power of family blood, ‘A Family Reunion’ is a poignant and insightful about how the consequences of one night can changes lives forever.

You can buy ‘A Family Reunion’ from Amazon and is also available to buy from good bookshops.

Our Little Cruelties By Liz Nugent

Our Little Cruelties‘Our Little Cruelties’ is latest book by bestselling Irish author, Liz Nugent.

Three brothers are at the funeral. One lies in the coffin. Will, Brian and Luke grow up competing for their mother’s unequal love. As men, the competition continues – for status, money, fame, women. They each betray each other, over and over, until one of them is dead. But which brother killed him?

Liz is back with another crime thriller that has the readers on the edge of their seats as they try to figure out who the bad guy is this Irish story of jealousy and greed.

The story is seen through the narrative of 3 brothers Will, Brian and Luke Drumm in the present moment when they are at the funeral of one of them. From the beginning, it is never clear which one is dead and that’s what pulls the reader in.

All the brothers are so different from each other. Will, the eldest of the brothers is a successful film maker, who’s the apple of their mother’s eyes. But despite his success, Will is a really dislikable character, a sexist narcissist who’s obsessed with his success and being better than his brothers. Brian, the middle brother, is the least creative of the trio but he’s content with leeching off his brothers success whilst Luke, the youngest has battled demons and addictions throughout his life. From his obsession with religion to his drug addiction, he’s a vulnerable character that people prey upon, particularly his brothers.

This book is a fascinating story, Liz has a fantastic skill of cleverly crafting a complex and thrilling story with such a range of deplorable and sympathetic characters. Set in bustling Dublin through the decades, Liz paints a vivid of the music and film scene in Ireland, that the reader really feels part of the story, from the queues of people at Slane to the glamorous film festivals.

The different narratives give an interesting insight to the brothers and their jealousy and resentment towards each other as they all move forward in their careers, relationship and lives.

‘Our Little Cruelties’ is a tense and deliciously dark and unsettling story about the dynamics and rivalries of the brotherhood.

You can buy ‘Our Little Cruelties’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

A Life Of Their Own By Pauline Tait

A Life Of Their Own‘A Life Of Their Own’ is the latest book by Pauline Tait.

When Kate and her children step onto a bus early one Tuesday morning, she knows this is their only chance: their only chance at freedom and at a life of their own. But can she ensure their safety? Can she ensure they will never be found? This feeling haunts Kate as she and her children begin a new life far from New York, far from their troubled past. Little does she know that their new life will bring her closer to a different past, a life she had long given up, making her already fragile world more complicated than she could have ever imagined.

I really enjoyed this story, it was a short story that was easily consumed in one sitting.

Seen through multiple narratives, this story is a coming of age journey as a mother tries to build a new life for herself and her two children. Kate has left the bustle of New York and her controlling husband and escaped to small quiet place where she hopes to recover and make a better life for them all. It’s there that she meets Matthew, the man she loved for many years and never got over.

I loved this story, Kate’s a lovely character, a kind and warm person. It’s lovely to see her blossom and grow in confidence as the story progresses and she grows to find happiness. Her scenes with Matthew make for tender reading as the pair begin to get to know each other all over again.

The story is written in past and present tense, as we relive the horrors of Kate’s controlling relationship and how her confidence was chipped away.

A story about the struggles of domestic abuse and the recovery afterwards, ‘A Life Of Their Own’ is a story about new beginnings and the importance of a mother’s love, a heartfelt and emotional story.

You can buy ‘A Life Of Their Own’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days By Giles Paley-Phillips

One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days‘One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days’ is the latest book by Giles Paley-Phillips.

He will be allowed to visit his mother soon. His mother who is terminally ill, his mother who he has been barred from seeing as he recovers from his own bout of pneumonia. Until then, with the help of his physiotherapist Freya, he must navigate his increasingly empty and isolated existence: his father, who finds solace in the bottom of a glass; his Nana Q, whose betting-slip confetti litters her handbag; his friends, who simply wouldn’t understand. Time passes with the promise of soon, but one hundred and fifty-two days later the boy will come face to face with his grief, and move beyond to a world full of possibility, hope and love.

I consumed this short story in one sitting, told from the narrative of a young boy coming to terms with his mother’s death as well being unable to visit her due to his own sickness.

This story is uniquely written, it’s written in short snappy bursts and speaks honestly and innocently of the boy’s pain at his mother’s sickness. His innocence is quite hard to read at times as he struggles with emotions, from the loss of his mother as well as his hard relationship with his father. He longs to fit into society but with poverty and illness, he stands out to the crowd.

A tender tale about love and loss, ‘One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days’ is a haunting and poignant tale about a child adapting to life whilst struggling with loss and grief, an emotional story that tugs at the hardest of hearts.

You can buy ‘One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.