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A Simple Wish By Rosie Goodwin

A Simple Wish’A Simple Wish’ is the latest historical fiction book by Rosie Goodwin.

Ruby Carter works hard in her parents’ bakery. Whilst life isn’t easy, she’s happy enough – her gentle mother protects young Ruby from her cruel father and loves her unconditionally. So, when her mother falls seriously ill, Ruby is heartbroken. Then, from her deathbed, her mother reveals that Ruby was adopted. Stricken by grief and alone with the violent man she called her father, Ruby feels she has no choice but to flee. At just fifteen, homeless and alone she is relieved when a kindly stranger named Mrs Bamber takes pity on poor Ruby and welcomes her into her home. But soon, Ruby learns Mrs Bamber is not as generous as she first seemed – she forces Ruby into a life of crime as a jewel thief in Birmingham’s jewellery quarter. With nothing to her name and nowhere to go Ruby has no choice but to go along with it, despite the guilt and shame she feels. But Ruby is determined that she will atone for what she’s done, and be reunited with her birth parents. Ruby’s only wish is to find her family.

I’m not the biggest fan of historical fiction but this is the second book that I’ve read in by Rosie in one sitting so maybe my opinions are changing.

15-year-old Ruby who after her mother has died discovered that she’s adopted. After being attacked by her father, she flees the family home and begins a journey of her own, finding her place in life as well as looking for her birth mother. This journey is a chaotic one where Ruby has to battle her morals before being sent to live with a family and being the house maid to a young spoilt woman who’s jealous of Ruby’s pretty looks, kind nature and natural flair at creating distinctive jewellery. Miranda’s jealousy towards Ruby ends up with Ruby being sent to a new workplace where she’s able to hone her skill as well as relax and not worry about being attacked or being accused of being a thief.
 
I loved this story and was able to comfortably sink in it and get lost in the 1800’s world, a world filled with rags to riches tales with impressive jewels. Ruby is a lovely character that is instantly likable and as a reader, you really want her to be happy and finally belong somewhere. Throughout the story, she’s faced with many horrendous challenges and each time she comes back stronger and more determined that ever. The supporting characters make for warm reading as they all look out and support each other in busy houses with horrible mistresses and it makes for wonderful reading as we see the lives unfold.
 
This is the second book in Rosie’s ‘Precious Stones’ books and it’s a wonderfully uplifting and warm story. Beautifully written against the background of fancy London and rural Birmingham and filled with handsome men and glamorous women, ‘A Simple Wish’ is a poignant and emotional story about a young woman’s determination to find her place in life against all odds.

You can buy ‘A Simple Wish’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Red Monarch By Bella Ellis

The Red MonarchThe Red Monarch’ is the third book By Bella Ellis in Bronte Mysteries series.

The Brontë sisters’ first poetry collection has just been published, potentially marking an end to their careers as amateur detectors, when Anne receives a letter from her former pupil Lydia Robinson. Lydia has eloped with a young actor, Harry Roxby, and following her disinheritance, the couple been living in poverty in London. Harry has become embroiled with a criminal gang and is in terrible danger after allegedly losing something very valuable that he was meant to deliver to their leader. The desperate and heavily pregnant Lydia has a week to return what her husband supposedly stole, or he will be killed. She knows there are few people who she can turn to in this time of need, but the sisters agree to help Lydia, beginning a race against time to save Harry’s life. In doing so, our intrepid sisters come face to face with a terrifying adversary whom even the toughest of the slum-dwellers are afraid of . . . The Red Monarch.

The latest book in the Bronte Mysteries sees the Bronte sisters and their brother leave the Yorkshire wilds for the busy streets of London as they are asked to help find a missing man and missing jewell.

Once again Bella Ellis aka Rowan Coleman has delivered another deliciously atmospheric and compelling story about the Bronte sisters and their detecting skills.

The story sees them meeting some unscrupulous characters and putting themselves in danger as they try to solve mysteries. The various narratives give an interesting insight into the sisters as they find their places in world and experience new things, feelings and emotions as they try to be accepted as female detectives and writers, as well as deal with new loves.

In a time filled with discrimination, sexism and a deep resentment to women, Ellis writes wonderfully of the inspiring women who were brave and challenged dynamics and stood up for beliefs and weren’t afraid to stand up to be heard.

Wonderfully written and filled with charm and wit. This historical fiction book is a glorious story from the first page, this atmospheric and chilling story set in the theatric and scary streets of London. ‘The Red Monarch’ is another fantastic instalment in the
Bronte sisters.

You can pre-order ‘The Red Monarch’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 18th November 2021.

The Girl With The Silver Bangle By Linda Finlay

The Girl With The Silver Bangle‘The Girl With The Silver Bangle’ is the latest book by Linda Finlay.

London, 1910. A cruel twist of fate means Daisy must give up the job she loves painting for a theatre company and move to Devon. Only the silver bangle she wears on her wrist brings comfort, reminding her of a young man who once promised her his heart. In Devon, life is very different. Lodging with her uncle at his busy tavern, Daisy must scrub and serve for her keep. And when her uncle catches her sketching, he is furious and forbids her to draw. But a chance meeting with two travelling artists offers Daisy a different path, and steeling her courage, Daisy runs away with them to Lamorna, Cornwall, home to a famous group of bohemian artists…

Set in 1911, the story is seen from the aspiring artist Daisy, who’s world turns upside down when her father when standing up for a woman loses his job as well as the family home. Without an income, the family of three move to a slum area, to the top floor where Daisy’s mum is unable to leave due to her bad leg. Daisy becomes the main breadwinner in the family, as she gets a promotion in her job. She’s no longer just a runner but a set artist and this gives her an extra few bob as well as confidence to hone her skill. Moving up in the world, with a boyfriend that’s asked for her hand in marriage, life is going well for Daisy until a tram accident kills her father and seriously injures her mother, leaving Daisy with no other option but to move in with her creepy uncle, a man she doesn’t know.

Her uncles offers her a roof in his ale house but Daisy hates it, from the leering stares from the men, to the bullying behaviour from Polly, her uncle’s help who hates everyone and everything. The only solace is that her mother will get better and she will marry Harry, but he never responds to her letters and Daisy worries that he no longer loves her and finds herself clutching to the silver bangle that he made for her proving his love.

Trapped in an unknown town with a handsy uncle and with no money to her name, she finds help with Claude and Grace who rescue her and give her the confidence to hone her art and not to give up on love or life.

I’m not the biggest fan of historical fiction, but I must admit that I was easily absorbed in this story of friendship and love. Set in a time when the Suffragettes were becoming known and women were finding their voices, this book paints a vivid and harsh picture of the hardship that women were exposed to. I loved Daisy, she was a bright and determined young woman who had her life paved out for her, only for it to be cruelly taken away and how she adapts to change with the help from her new friends.

A story of hardship and determination against the backdrop of the rural countryside, ‘The Girl With The Silver Bangle’ is a romantic and atmospheric story that sweeps the reader away with it vivid descriptions and dialogue and a leading lady that never gives up.

You can buy ‘The Girl With The Silver Bangle’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Over The Rainbow Book Tour – Extract

Over The RainbowOn the book tour for Katie Flynn’s new book called ‘Over The Rainbow’, which is the third book in ‘The Liverpool Sisters’ series. Sit back and enjoy an extract from the historical fiction tale.

Prologue 1922

Olivia Campbell was watching the dragonflies as they hovered above the surface of the pond when she overheard a boy’s voice from the far side of the privet hedge. He appeared to be having a heated discussion with someone.

Of course, Olivia knew it was wrong to eavesdrop, but he was being so vocal with his thoughts it was impossible not to overhear.

‘The man’s an idiot,’ he said sullenly, ‘a bully and a coward.’

Olivia listened with interest, wondering who it was the boy had such beef with. She waited for the other person’s response, hoping that they would shed some light on the matter, but the boy continued to talk before his companion had a chance to respond.

‘He thinks he can do what he wants because it’s him what pays our measly wages,’ he fumed. ‘The whole thing’s a damned joke if you ask me. The old git gives with one hand and takes with the other, paying us to work for him then taking it back through the rent he charges for his run-down, rat-infested, damp-riddled slums.’

Olivia gently nibbled the inside of her bottom lip. The man he was describing sounded very much like her father. The Campbells were used to disgruntled workers visiting the house to air their grievances, but they normally came on their own.

Her father might be a miserable so-and-so, but he was getting on in years, and two against one wasn’t fair on any man. She frowned. Whoever the boy was talking to seemed unwilling to make a contribution to the conversation. As he drew nearer to the house, she decided to see for herself just how many of them there were. She walked along the length of the hedge until she came to a gap where an old gate once stood.

Crouching down, she peeped through the sparse branches as she waited for the boy to draw level. Much to her surprise, he appeared to be on his own. Not wishing to be caught spying, she quickly ducked back down out of sight, but she was too late. The boy stopped abruptly and turned to face her, then stepped forward and peered through the gap in the hedge.

‘Hello?’ Olivia kept quiet, hoping that he would believe himself to be mistaken and move on, but instead he edged closer to the small gap and looked through. She tried to make herself as small as possible, but in doing so she caught his eye. He pointed at her.

‘I can see you!’ Olivia looked up in embarrassment. ‘I wasn’t spying! I live here,’ she said defensively. She stood up and indicated the house just visible through the trees. He looked past Olivia to the large white house much further up the garden and blew a low whistle. ‘Blimey! You must have a penny or two!’

You can buy ‘Over The Rainbow’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Other Daughter By Caroline Bishop

The Other Daughter‘The Other Daughter’ is the latest book by Caroline Bishop.

When Jessica discovers a shocking secret about her birth, she leaves her London home and travels to Switzerland in search of answers. She knows her journalist mother spent time in the country forty years earlier, reporting on the Swiss women’s liberation movement, but what she doesn’t know is what happened to her while she was there. Can Jess summon the courage to face the truth about her family, or will her search only hurt herself and those around her even more?

It’s difficult to go into too much detail about this book, without giving too much away but it’s a beautifully written story about a search for answers.

The story is written in the past and present of mother and daughter Evelyn and Jess. After her mother died, Jess discovered something that left any unanswered questions, taking her to Switzerland looking for answers. Whilst in Switzerland, she works for a professional couple called Julia and Michael, teaching their children Lea and Luca, English. As Jess helps improve the children’s English, she’s determined to find some answers to her past.

The past narrative is seen from Evelyn, who aspires to be a successful journalist writing current affairs and hard hitting stories in the 1970’s, but it’s difficult to be taken seriously as a writer in male dominated industry and she finds herself the butt of jokes. But persistence pays off when she travels to Switzerland to follow a women’s movement looking for equality. But just as her career has taken off, Evelyn becomes pregnant and fears that all her hard work will be for nothing when the baby is born.

This book is a beautifully written story of two women finding their places in life and the struggles they have faced along the way. I loved Evelyn, her passion and determination for equality and for her own right to work made for fascinating reading. It’s was also incredibly reflective of how far society has moved forward. Granted, we’re still along way of from the ideal scenario but, to think of time when a woman couldn’t stand at a bar to order a drink made for astounding reading.

Caroline paints a vivid picture with her writing, whether it was the bustling city of London or the Swiss Alps, she sweeps the reader away in this poignant tale. This book is Caroline’s debut novel and I thought it was a tremendous, story, well paced with relatable characters and never once did my interest waver.

Jess was also an interesting woman who’s faced some struggles, things that should have come naturally to her have been cruelly taken away and she battled emotions with this and this does make for sympathetic and relatable reading.

A fascinating story into the exploration of women’s rights and one woman’s journey into the background of her birth, ‘The Other Daughter’ is an emotional story that really engaged my attention.

You can buy ‘The Other Daughter’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.