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One Moonlit Night By Rachel Hore

One Moonlit Night‘One Moonlit Night’ is the latest book by Rachel Hore.

Forced to leave their family home in London after it is bombed, Maddie and her two young daughters take refuge at Knyghton, the beautiful country house in Norfolk where Maddie’s husband Philip spent the summers of his childhood. But Philip is gone, believed to have been killed in action in northern France. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Maddie refuses to give up hope that she and Philip will some day be reunited. Arriving at Knyghton, Maddie feels closer to her missing husband, but she soon realises that there’s a reason Philip has never spoken to her about his past. Something happened at Knyghton one summer years before. Something that involved Philip, his cousin Lyle and a mysterious young woman named Flora. Maddie’s curiosity turns to desperation as she tries to discover the truth, but no one will speak about what happened all those years ago, and no one will reassure her that Philip will ever return to Knyghton.

I’ve spent this morning with my head in this beautifully written story about new beginnings and loss.

Unknown of whether her husband Philip is dead or alive whilst fighting in the war. Maddie’s family home is bombed, with nowhere to turn, she finds refuge in the Knyghton, the childhood home of Philip.

Along with her two little girls Sarah and Grace,Maddie is trying to adjust to a quieter pace of life in Norfolk living with Lyle, Philip’s cousin Lyle, a contrary man and Gussie, Philip eccentric aunt along with her four dogs. Maddie has never given up hope that Philip will return to her and throws herself into providing a good life for her little girls, focusing on her illustration work whilst learning the history of Philip’s family and the mystery that’s surrounds the Anderson family.

When it comes to historical fiction, it’s a genre that I don’t read much of it but I thoroughly enjoyed spending my morning with my head in this historical journey.

Beautifully written, this book was a joy to read. Maddie is a great character, she’s a kind and resilient woman determined to provide a better life for her little girls and is not afraid of hard work. It makes for fascinating reading as she learns about Philip’s complex family history and meets the family that’s all ever heard about. There’s an array of colourful characters in this story, particularly Gussie who had a childlike wonder about the world as well as whilst being mysterious about the Anderson family. The descriptions of Knyghton are wonderfully descriptive, as well as the turmoil of the Second World War and how lives were torn apart.

A compelling story packed with secrets, hope and mystery, ‘One Moonlit Night’ is a touching and poignant story about never giving up and family.

You can buy ‘One Moonlit Night’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Summer Fair By Heidi Swain

The Summer FairThe Summer Fair’ is the latest book by Heidi Swain.

Beth loves her job working in a care home, looking after its elderly residents, but she doesn’t love the cramped and dirty house-share she currently lives in. So, when she gets the opportunity to move to Nightingale Square, sharing a house with the lovely Eli, she jumps at the chance. The community at Nightingale Square welcomes Beth with open arms, and when she needs help to organise a fundraiser for the care home they rally round. Then she discovers The Arches, a local creative arts centre, has closed and the venture to replace it needs their help too – but this opens old wounds and past secrets for Beth.Music was always an important part of her life, but now she has closed the door on all that. Will her friends at the care home and the people of Nightingale Square help her find a way to learn to love it once more…?

For the last couple of days I’ve been reading the latest book by Heidi and even though I’m miserable and dosed with the cold, this book made me smile.

The story is seen through Beth, a carer an elderly person’s house who’s tired of living with people who take her kindness for granted. So when the opportunity arises to move into a beautiful cottage in Nightingale Square, she picks up her house plants and embarks on a new journey, along with handsome new lodger as well as a promotion in the nursing home. Beth is the absolute star of this story, she’s caring with a huge heart and has been carrying a heavy burden since the tragic loss of her mother. She’s deeply loved by the residents and staff in the nursing home and it makes for touching reading, as she arranges activities to get them entertained and see them reignite their lust for life. Whilst her housemate Elijah has also brought back her passion for music, something she has struggled with. Together the pair of them face fears and form a strong bond and this makes for wonderfully uplifting reading.

Once again, Heidi has delivered another beautifully written story that is bursting with warmth, heart and charm. Filled with hope and new beginnings, Beth’s journey made for tender reading as she embraced new challenges and put old ghosts to bed.

It was also wonderful to return to Nightingale Square and feel that sense of community as well as see them old faces from other books by Heidi.

Beautifully descriptive with warm characters, kind souls and a story to get lost in, ‘The Summer Fair’ was a joy to read and the perfect tonic.

You can pre-order ‘The Summer Fair’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 12th May 2022.

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.