Skip to content

The Winter Promise By Rosie Goodwin

The Winter Promise‘The Winter Promise’ is the latest book by Rosie Goodwin and is the first book in her new ‘Precious Stones’ saga.

When Opal Sharp finds herself and her younger siblings suddenly orphaned and destitute, she thinks things can get no worse. But soon three of them – including Opal – are struck down with the illness that took their father, and her brother Charlie is forced to make an impossible decision. Unable to afford a doctor, he knows the younger children will not survive. So, unbeknownst to Opal, Charlie takes their younger siblings to the workhouse. When she finds out, Opal is heartbroken. Charlie starts taking risks to try to support what’s left of the Sharp family and earn Opal’s forgiveness, but he takes it too far and finds himself in trouble with the law. Soon, he is sent on a convict ship to Australia. As poor Opal is forced to say goodbye to the final member of her family, she makes a promise to reunite them all one day.

When it comes to historical fiction, it’s a genre that I don’t really read a lot off and tend to avoid it if I’m being honest.

But there was something about ‘The Winter Promise’ that stood out to me and I must admit that I really enjoyed reading this story of family, discovery and love. I actually found myself looking forward to returning to reading it when I put it down

The story is seen through of siblings Opal, Charlie and Susie who sadly get separated when they come become ill with the fever. Charlie fearing the first for his little brother and sister bring them to a work house hoping that they will recover whilst Opal herself deals the illness. Once she’s back to health, they return for their younger siblings only to discover that Christopher has died and Susie has been given to a new home. Distraught Opal and Charlie are set determined to get their family back together but ends up being shipped off to Australia after being falsely imprisoned.

The story then flows over the years as the siblings all go about their lives but always there in the background is the thought of finding each other. I loved Opal, she’s a strong independent woman who falls on her feet when she becomes a maid for Mrs King, an outspoken but kind soul who sees beyond the slums that Opal grew up in. Whereas Charlie is determined to make something of his life after the harsh upbringing. Like Opal, Susie is determined and vibrant and scene with either of the sisters made for lovely reading.

The story flowed at a lovely gentle and was beautifully descriptive in parts, whether it was the elegant ballgowns or the surrounding beauty of England and Australia. There are also some sad and poignant moments in the story from the loss of a child and sickness and this makes for tender reading. The author has also a special skill for making horrible characters such as Esther Partridge, the plump woman who was jealous of Opal, Opal’s husband, Henry as well as Agatha, Susie’s nanny. All this characters were horrible and it made for fascinating reading as they all got their comeuppance.

Wonderfully written with a heartwarming story and engaging characters, ‘The Winter Promise’ is story of love and faith and is a delicious introduction to a new author and is perfect for people who enjoy sinking into riveting sagas.

You can buy ‘The Winter Promise’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

An Unsuitable Marriage By Colette Dartford

An Unsuitable Marriage‘An Unsuitable Marriage’ is the latest book by Colette Dartford.

Olivia had everything – a loving husband in Geoffrey, a thoughtful and intelligent son in Edward and a beautiful home in the Somerset countryside. But all that changed when Geoffrey’s business went under. Now penniless and homeless, Geoffrey is living with his recently widowed mother, whilst Olivia has been forced to work as a housemistress at her son’s elite boarding school. With their marriage under intolerable strain, Geoffrey makes a mistake – one that has devastating consequences for the guilty and innocent alike . . .’An Unsuitable Marriage’ is an unexpected tale of drama and suspense. A story about family, who at such an important time in their lives, should be coming together but instead are moving further and further apart.

In this book, we meet Olivia, a house mistress at the local boarding school. She’s unhappy, having to leave her comfortable life behind when her husband’s business went bankrupt and they had to give up their house and they moved into her mother-in-law’s house. Rowena, is an old-fashioned woman, set in her ways and is delighted to have her son back in her bosom, meanwhile she tends to leave Olivia to her own devices whilst quietly judging her. Geoffrey, is distraught that he let his family down, as he struggles to find work, he’s reminded of all the people he let down when his factory closed. At a time, when the pair of them should be supporting each other, they are drifting further away from each other and finding comfort in other peoples arms.

The story is a battle of morals, loyalty and despair as Olivia and Geoffrey try to carry on with their marriage but both are desperately unhappy. As the story progresses, the pair are faced with other problems, their son being bullied, the guilt of redundancy and affairs and the mysterious and sudden death of the Principals wife.

‘An Unsuitable Marriage’ is an emotional tale that really tugs at the heartstrings. The characters and the situations are relatable and sympathetic so the book was easy to delve into and get absorbed in. The book is filled with many issues, bullying, redundancy as well as adultery that there rarely is a dull moment in this gentle story. Cleverly crafted with warmhearted twists and turns that made for enjoyable reading, ‘An Unsuitable Marriage’ is about finding strength and survival and is perfect for fans of Hilary Boyd and Jill Mansell.

You can buy An Unsuitable Marriage from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.

Giveaway – Win A Copy Of Christmas At Lilac Cottage By Holly Martin

Christmas At Lilac CottageIt’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas and I’ve a copy of Holly Martin’s new book ‘Christmas At Lilac Cottage to giveaway to one lucky person.

The story of ‘Christmas At Lilac Cottage’ is –

Penny Meadows loves her cosy cottage with its stunning views over the snow-topped town of White Cliff Bay, but not even the roaring log fire can keep her personal life from feeling frozen.

That is until dashing Henry and his daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage for the festive season. And between decking the halls and baking delicious mince pies, Penny realises there is more to Henry than meets the eye.

With sleigh bells ringing and fairy lights twinkling, the ice-sculpting competition and Christmas Eve ball are in full swing. Will Penny be able to melt the ice and allow love into her heart? And will she finally have the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of?

To be in with a chance of winning this festive read, please answer the following question by leaving your answer in the comment box below.

What is the name of Henry’s daughter?

The lucky winner will be revealed on Monday 31st October. Good luck!

Research: How Far to Go By Caroline Carver

Caroline Carver. Credit Steve AyresI’m delighted to be kicking off the book tour for Caroline Carver’s new book ‘Spare Me The Truth’ and today on the first day, Caroline talks about how far to go when it comes to researching for a book.

For an author to create a richly textured novel, it gives them a tremendous edge if they’ve lived or worked within the environment they’re writing about. Like John Grisham who builds his stories around lawyers, and Michael Connelly, a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

The trouble for me with ‘Spare Me the Truth’, and its three main characters, was that I’m not an MI5 officer, or a police constable, or even a GP, so I had to create each individual’s worlds purely from research.

To start with, I turned to the Internet, which is a fantastic tool and today I can’t think how I managed to survive without it. The trouble is, an article on a murder will lead me off on a merry chase of forensic science, how the pattern of cuts in a pyjama top sent a killer to jail, how to tell a murder from what appears to be a cut-and-dried case of suicide (this one kept me occupied for ages). I have to be very strict in getting the information I need and not what I find fascinating or I can merrily fritter away hours.

Spare Me The TruthSince my novel is mostly set in the UK, it was easy to get up to Stockton-on-Tees, then Basingstoke and London. For the snapshot scenes set in India I’ve drawn on my time there which, although years ago, are still vibrant in my memories. I’m careful of the time I spend walking the streets of my novel or I could keep walking, captivated, for days. Just enough to soak up its atmosphere and see with my own eyes locations that would figure in my story, and whether a street smells of fish and chips or freshly ground coffee.

I interviewed a spook, a cop and a GP. I was extremely particular in how I approached these professionals, not wanting to waste their time, and wrote an extensive outline before talking to them. This narrowed my questions down nicely, and made me look far less woolly than if I’d met them during the ideas stage. It also prevented me from making some potentially embarrassing errors as well as providing new avenues of ideas. I had one (fairly lengthy) meeting with each, and although I would have loved more, it was perfectly enough for my purposes. I did, however, keep in touch by email for the smaller queries that cropped up while writing the book.

Writing is all about authenticity. With ‘Spare Me The Truth’, for example, I made a conscious effort to garner enough information on the real-life memory-erasing drug without getting bogged down into massive technical detail. It’s my bet readers will have little patience with long descriptive passages of propranolol uses!

Over time, I’ve learned to trust how much research I need to do, and it’s a lot less than when I first started writing. Now, I simply know a little … about a lot.

You can pre-order Spare Me the Truth: An Explosive, High Octane Thriller (The Dan Forrester Series) from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 7th May 2016.