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The Distant Shores By Santa Montefiore

The Distant Shores‘The Distant Shores’ is the latest book by Santa Montefiore.

Margot Hart travels to Ireland to write a biography of the famous Deverill family. She knows she must speak to the current Lord Deverill – JP – if she is to uncover the secrets of the past. A notorious recluse, JP won’t be an easy man to crack. But Margot is determined – and she is not a woman who is easily put off. What she never expected was to form a close bond with JP and be drawn into his family disputes. Shouldering the blame for running up debts that forced him to sell the family castle, JP is isolated and vulnerable. With help from his handsome son Colm, it seems as though Margot might be the only one who can restore JP’s fortunes.

Although Santa has written quite a few books, this is actually the first book that I’ve read by the author and I was completely swept away by this historical, Irish drama.

The story is primarily seen through the narrative of Margot Hart who travels to rural Ireland to write a historical book based on the charismatic and fascinating Deverill’s, a family riddled by secrets and bad luck. The Deverill’s family castle is now a hotel and many people believe it to be haunted with the strange goings ons. It’s whilst researching the family history that secrets are unveiled and the estranged family are torn even further apart under the watchful eye of the ghost Kitty, a troubled character in the Deverill’s family history.

This book is actually part of a series but can easily be read as a standalone as Santa has given enough detail and background so that the reader doesn’t feel lost in the story. Her characters are fascinating mix of personalities from the determined Margot, who’s the talk of the Ballinkelly with her warmth and inquisitive nature and Lord JP Deverill who’s using Margot’s book as a distraction from his unhappy life and helping him put old ghosts to rest.

Throughout the story, there’s the underlying tension that Margot is going to reveal more secrets from the already troubled family and it’s evident that the family members are on tenterhooks.

Santa is beautifully descriptive in her writing, from the exquisite descriptions of the haunting castle to the reflective moments seen from the narrative of Kitty, who makes her presence known in some spine tingling ways disturbing the residents.

Although the book is quite long at 416 pages, I immediately sank into it and was able to read it in a few sittings. With a gloriously addictive plot line, a picturesque landscape and a determined protagonist, ‘The Distant Shores’ is the perfect summer read about family history, mending old wounds and reconnecting with some Irish charm weaves throughout.

You can buy ‘The Distant Shores’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Perfectly Imperfect Woman By Milly Johnson

The Perfectly Imperfect WomanOne of my favourite authors Milly Johnson is back with a new book, called ‘The Perfectly Imperfect Woman’.

Marnie Salt has made so many mistakes in her life that she fears she will never get on the right track. But when she ‘meets’ an old lady on a baking chatroom and begins confiding in her, little does she know how her life will change. Arranging to see each other for lunch, Marnie finds discovers that Lilian is every bit as mad and delightful as she’d hoped – and that she owns a whole village in the Yorkshire Dales, which has been passed down through generations. And when Marnie needs a refuge after a crisis, she ups sticks and heads for Wychwell – a temporary measure, so she thinks.
But soon Marnie finds that Wychwell has claimed her as its own and she is duty bound not to leave. Even if what she has to do makes her as unpopular as a force 12 gale in a confetti factory! But everyone has imperfections, as Marnie comes to realise, and that is not such a bad thing – after all, your flaws are perfect for the heart that is meant to love you.

Milly is back with another sparkly, magic story that will grip your heart and attention from the very first page.

In this story we meet Marnie Salt, a young woman that bad luck seems to follow at every opportunity. Her adopted mother hates her and her sister doesn’t speak to her so when Justin Fox appears in her life, she thinks that’s she’s found happiness but she’s sadly wrong and find herself licking her wounds in Wychwell.

After befriending a wise, outspoken old dear called Lilian on the internet, they become friends and Lillian takes Marnie under her wing and introduces her to all her friends in the small magical village of Wychwell.

Even though the village is small, there are plenty of big personalities, some are delighted to see Marnie whilst others feel threatened by her, particularly when there men involved.

I adored this book, it’s such a poignant tale filled with charming characters. I loved Marnie, she was such an underdog that I really felt an empathy for her. She was regularly let down by people and I longed for her to find her happy ever after. Lillian was wonderful, boisterous, outspoken, she felt a connection with Marnie and wanted the young woman with her. The main male was a delightful man called Herv, a kind and gentle soul that many woman lust after. The story is cleverly written and filled with Milly’s quick wit and warm heart. The only downside was that Marnie was a cheesecake maker and all the inclusion of delicious recipes made me so peckish throughout.

Fun and entertaining from the very beginning, ‘The Perfectly Imperfect Woman’ was the perfect book to curl up with when the snow was ats worst, as this sweet tale warmed the cockles of my heart.

You can buy The Perfectly Imperfect Woman from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Queen Of Wishful Thinking By Milly Johnson

The Queen Of Wishful Thinking‘The Queen Of Wishful Thinking’ is the latest book by Milly Johnson.

When Lewis Harley has a health scare in his early forties, he takes it as a wake-up call. So he and his wife Charlotte leave behind life in the fast lane and Lewis opens the antique shop he has dreamed of. Bonnie Brookland was brought up in the antiques trade and now works for the man who bought out her father’s business, but she isn’t happy there. So when she walks into Lew’s shop, she knows this is the place for her. As Bonnie and Lew start to work together, they soon realise that there is more to their relationship than either thought. But Bonnie is trapped in an unhappy marriage, and Lew and Charlotte have more problems than they care to admit. Each has secrets in their past which are about to be uncovered. Can they find the happiness they both deserve?

St Patrick’s Day saw me drop everything and curl up with Milly’s latest literary offering. In this book we meet the charming and delightful Bonnie, a woman who is unhappy in both her work and home life. Married to a controlling and patronising man, she longs for a change and when the opportunity arises for that change, she seizes it with both hands. Daring to speak out against her previous employer, Bonnie finds herself without a job but when handsome Lewis, a newcomer to the village discovers that his staff at his antique shop is stealing from him, he offers Bonnie a job.

With a few extra pound in her pocket and a spring in her step, Bonnie feels a bit happier in life, she enjoys her time with Lewis and the interaction between the two is sweet and enjoyable. Bonnie introduces Lewis to people who can make his small antiques shop thrive and the two of them embark on making ‘Pot of Gold’ the best it can possibly be.

The story flows between both Bonnie and Lewis and this is entertaining and warmhearted reading. Lewis is married to Charlotte, a vain and high maintenance woman who always wants to have the latest designer brand on her arm, demanding, she is the polar opposite to Bonnie, a kind woman with a big heart and Lewis begins to see this as the story progresses. Lewis moved away to the quiet village after his health scare and it seems that Charlotte is unable to deal with the slower pace of life, whereas Lewis has settled in marvellously.

I adored Bonnie and felt an overwhelming empathy for her as she struggled to live a better life, much older and wiser for her years, she longs to escape the controlling clutches of her dominant husband, but she feels powerless over the secret that he holds over her, until one day she finally breaks free and becomes an independent woman, creating her own little home from scratch with the help from the kind people of the village, who have all come to love Bonnie.

The relationship between Bonnie and Lewis is a sweet one, as they embark on a tentative friendship, but begin to see each other in a different light as they both deal with their emotional baggage.

Like Milly’s previous books. ’The Queen of Wishful Thinking’ is a deliciously fun and witty story, filled with humorous characters, one liners, as well as regular apologies from the local newspaper ‘Daily Trumpet’ for misprinting information, there was rarely a dull moment in this delightful story. Packed with relatable and lovable characters, that you will love and hate in rapid succession, this book was impossible to put down and the sweet inclusion of a dog called Bear who has based on Teddy, Milly’s beloved dog who passed away last year, it made for tender reading.

A book that I couldn’t put down but also didn’t want to end and is most certainly Milly at her very best. Funny, sweet and an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish, ‘The Queen Of Wishful Thinking’ is a book that I could happily read, over and over again.

You can buy The Queen of Wishful Thinking from Amazon. and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Andrew Clover’s New Book – Learn Love In A Week

Learn Love In A Week‘Learn Love in a Week’ is Andrew Clover’s first adult book. Andrew is best known for his ‘Dad Rules’ column in the Sunday Times which became the hit book, ‘Dad Rules book’.

The story of ‘Learn Love In A Week’ is –

Polly has been married to Arthur for ten years when she meets James Hammond. He’s her Road Not Taken. The One That Got Away. He’s also rich, and within a week he has invited Polly to his converted monastery in the country to give her the job she’s always wanted. He also wants her.

Her best friend Em says, “Go.” Em’s spent two years with a man who resists commitment like a dog resists a bath. She understands how it feels to be stuck. But she has her own interest in Polly’s husband. Meanwhile, Arthur says: “Stay. I can change.”

But can he? After ten years, can you learn how to love again? And if you can, how do you know you would choose the same person?

‘Learn Love in a Week’ is a hilarious and sharply observed novel about modern marriage, relationships and family written entirely through the eyes of a man, it will definitely make for entertaining reading!

You can pre-order Learn Love in a Week on Amazon and the paperback will be available from good bookshops from 9th May 2013.