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The Bookshop Of Second Chances By Jackie Fraser

The Bookshop Of Second Chancesr‘The Bookshop Of Second Chances’ is the latest book by Jackie Fraser.

Thea’s having a bad month. Not only has she been made redundant, she’s also discovered her husband of nearly twenty years is sleeping with one of her friends. And he’s not sorry – he’s leaving. Bewildered and lost, Thea doesn’t know what to do. But, when she learns the great-uncle she barely knew has died and left her his huge collection of second-hand books and a house in the Scottish Lowlands, she seems to have been offered a second chance. Running away to a little town where no one knows her seems like exactly what Thea needs. But when she meets the aristocratic Maltravers brothers – grumpy bookshop owner Edward and his estranged brother Charles, Lord Hollinshaw – her new life quickly becomes just as complicated as the life she was running from…

I curled up on the Bank Holiday Monday with this book and it was just bliss from start to finish.

Set in a small Scottish village, it’s seen from the narrative of Thea who’s relocated due to her marriage breakdown and unexpected inheritance. Now living in an old house surrounded by antique books that are worth a lot of money. She’s becomes unlikely friends with Edward, who owns a bookshop and has employed her to bring his antique bookshop into the 21st century.

The 2 of them have a love/hate relationship and it’s so much fun to read their interactions between them. Edward is a charming character, who’s quite stand offish, but there’s something quite endearing about him as Thea brings him out of his shell. I loved Thea, she’s a sweetheart of a character. After her marriage broke down, she’s nursing a broken heart and through her love of books, she’s piecing it back together with new friendships and beginnings.

The story is wittily written filled with tender moments and laugh out loud scenes and Jackie surprises the reader with some colourful language that genuinely made me snort with laughter.

A romantic comedy that made for heartwarming reading and brightened up a dull bank holiday, ‘The Bookshop Of Second Chances’ is packed with joy, new starts and fun!

You can buy ‘The Bookshop Of Second Chances’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Claire Frost

Claire Frost“Claire Frost grew up in Manchester, the middle of three sisters. She always wanted to do a job that involved writing, so after studying Classics at Bristol University she found a job in magazines. For the last 10 years she’s worked at ‘The Sun on Sunday’s Fabulous’ magazine, where she is Assistant Editor and Books Editor. She can mostly be found at her desk buried beneath an ever-increasing pile of books or at home writing funny and heart-warming novels about love, life and social media.

  1. For readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
    Hi Bronagh – and hi readers of the Handwritten Girl blog! I love writing fun, relatable, feelgood books about romantic relationships, female friendships and how we live our lives online and IRL. I am also a journalist and work as Assistant Editor at Fabulous magazine, where I edit copy plus review books and interview authors for the magazine’s books pages
  2. Can you tell us about your new book called ‘Married at First Swipe’?
    I would love to! Married At First Swipe is about Hannah, who is always looking for her next adventure but also wants to find someone she can settle down with, and her best friend Jess, who is married to her childhood sweetheart and they live with their lovely seven-year-old twins in a nice semi-detached house in a Manchester suburb. But when Jess reveals her dating business is on the verge of going under, Hannah comes up with a daring plan to generate much-needed publicity: she will let Jess set her up on the ultimate blind date – which will take place at the altar. What could possibly go wrong?!
  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    Ooh, I like this question! I am lucky enough to know lots of amazing authors, all of whom I’d love to start a book club with (in fact, a few of us are already in a book club together!), so I would invite all of them. And knowing I had them as my moral support, I would also invite some authors I’d love to fangirl embarrassingly at, such as Jilly Cooper, Kate Atkinson and David Nicholls.
  4. You also have the exciting job of being a magazine book reviewer, what’s it like now having people review your books?
    It’s, um, a bit weird, to be honest! But I also know just how many novels book reviewers get sent, so I am so grateful when people take the time to read and review my books. It means a huge amount when someone tells me they’ve enjoyed reading something I’ve written – whether that person is a book reviewer, blogger or any other kind of reader – and I don’t think that feeling will ever get old.
  5. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    I am not sure anyone will ever better the opening line of Dodie Smith’s ‘I Capture The Castle’: ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.’
  6. What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
    The bit when I hold a finished copy of my book in my hands!
  7. Married At First Swipe

  8. What’s your favourite book of all time?
    Argh, this is SUCH a difficult one! But I will always love ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and more recently, ‘Life After Life’ by Kate Atkinson is breath-takingly amazing.
  9. Is there anything that you would change about your writing journey?
    I really try not to have regrets, but if there was one thing I could tell past-me (and, in fact, present-me!) it’s to have more self-belief in my writing. I have spent – and definitely still spend – far too much time doubting whether I can really do this. But I now have two actual paperbacks with my name on the front, so I definitely CAN do it!
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    Hmm, if I was stranded for a very long time, I guess I’d want books I could re-read over and over again without getting bored. So I would choose the first three books of Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Cazelet chronicles – every time I read the series (which I do every couple of years) I realise just how brilliant she was at creating characters who are both multi-layered, interesting and relatable.
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    I know everyone says this, but actually putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!) is the only real way to improve and develop your writing. You can read all the ‘how to write’ book you want, but unless you are actually filling a page with words, the theory behind it all doesn’t mean anything. I know that every day I write I learn so much – and I hope that every book I write is better than the last.
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    A large cup of coffee (and my espresso martini scented candle!).
  13. And finally, do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    I am working on my third novel right now – all I can say is that it is a little bit different but I am so excited about it!

    You can find Claire Frost on Twitter

    You can pre-order ‘Married At First Swipe’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 4th February 2021.

Handwritten Girl’s Top 12 Books Of 2020

Top 12 Books Of 2020It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a strange old year. For some of us, we either lost our reading mojo and for others, we discovered a new passion that helped us escape the chaos of the world.

For me, my reading dipped regularly. Sometimes, I couldn’t be found without a book in my hand and other times, I left a pile of half read books in my path unable to find one to catch my attention.

If you’re looking for book ideas for yourself or for others for Christmas, check out my top 12 books of 2020, for some ideas.

Click on the links to read my thoughts on the books and why these books might appeal to you.

‘The Dilemma’ by ‘B.A. Paris
‘The Minute I Saw You’ by Paige Toon
‘The Other Passenger’ by Louise Candlish
‘Grown Ups’ by Marian Keyes
‘My One True North’ by Milly Johnson
‘The Last Charm’ by Ella Allbright
‘My Dark Vanessa’ by Kate Elizabeth Russell
‘Just My Luck’ by Adele Parks
The Lockdown Diary of Tom Cooper’ by Spencer Brown
‘The Flipside’ by James Bailey
‘Invisible Girl’ by Lisa Jewell
‘After The Silence’ by Louise O’Neill.

Although these books are available on Amazon, please consider buying from an independent bookseller to help supporting local businesses during this time.

Married At First Swipe By Claire Frost

Married At First SwipeClaire Frost is back with another hilarious story about relationships and friendships called ‘Married At First Swipe’.

Hannah lives life on the edge. Never one to pass up on a new adventure, she has truly been living her best life. But once the adrenaline wears off, she wishes she had someone to spend the quieter moments with too. Learning that her best friend’s online dating business has taken a hit, she comes up with an idea that just might solve both of their problems. Jess has been with her husband for twenty years. They have a stable marriage, great kids and run their own businesses. But what looks like a perfect life from the outside has its own problems within, and with her business on the brink Jess can’t help but wonder where the spark has gone in her life, and whether settling down is all it’s cracked up to be.
When Hannah embarks upon her latest scheme: finding a man using Jess’s dating app and meeting him for the first time at the altar, both women start to realise the grass isn’t always greener. Can Hannah help her friend save her failing business or will Jess stop her from making what could be the biggest mistake of her life?

The story is seen through the narrative of best friends Jess and Hannah who work together on Jess’s dating app called ‘Save the Date’.

The women have been best friends for years and are polar opposites of each other. Where Jess is settled, married her high school sweetheart with twins, Hannah is a flighty character who’s at her most happiest travelling the world and taking part in adventures whilst bar tending to provide her with spending money. Now settled back in Manchester, Hannah envies Jess’s life with the perfect husband and family, but behind closed doors Jess’s life is far from perfect, her business isn’t doing well, money is short and she’s tired of constantly having to pick up after husband and children. It’s on a night out that the friends come up with the plan of finding a husband for Hannah through ‘Save the Date’. This will provide plenty of exposure and interest in the fledging business as well as get a husband for Hannah, the thing is Hannah will only meet her husband on her wedding day.

As the story progresses and Jess finds a potential husband for Hannah, both women are having to face changes in their lives, the huge media interest in the unorthodox way of finding a husband as well as judgement from family and friends.

I really enjoyed this story, it’s only Claire’s second novel, but she’s already an author that I look forward to reading. Her writing is charming, fresh and flows at lovely pace, engaging, poignant with humour riddled throughout.

The characters are relatable, Jess is at a turning point in her life, she’s unhappy in her marriage, struggling with work and Hannah’s wedding is potentially the lifesaver of ‘Save the Date’. She throws herself into the exposure from the upcoming nuptials and begins to see only the status of the wedding and not the actual wedding itself. I loved her Hannah’s attitude, she’s a daring and trusting person putting all her trust in her best friend to find her husband. She’s an open-minded, but is prone to moments of insecurity especially with her mother, who’s like a Hynacinth Bouquet character with airs and graces.

A frank and honest story about relationships and the pressures of society, ‘Married at First Swipe’ is a deliciously fun and quirky story that explores relationships and sometimes looks can be deceiving and the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

You can pre-order ‘Married At First Swipe’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 4th February 2021.

Heidi Swain Reveals New Book – The Winter Garden

'The Winter GardenHeidi Swain has revealed her festive book for 2020 called ‘The Winter Garden’.

What the back cover says –

Freya Fuller is living her dream, working as a live-in gardener on a beautiful Suffolk estate. But when the owner dies, Freya finds herself forced out of her job and her home with nowhere to go. However, with luck on her side, she’s soon moving to Nightingale Square and helping to create a beautiful winter garden that will be open to the public in time for Christmas.

There’s a warm welcome from all in Nightingale Square, except from local artist Finn. No matter how hard the pair try, they just can’t get along, and working together to bring the winter garden to life quickly becomes a struggle for them both.

Will Freya and Finn be able to put their differences aside in time for Christmas? Or will the arrival of a face from Freya’s past send them all spiralling?

Sounds like the perfect festive story to curl up with.

You can pre-order ‘The Winter Garden’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 1st October 2020.