The Virgin Widow By Anne O’Brien

The Virgin Widow

By Anne O’Brien

This historical romance is based on the story of Anne Neville, youngest daughter of ‘the kingmaker’ the Earl of Warwick and how she came to marry the man who was became Richard lll even though her father instigates a treacherous plan to depose Edward lV and put Henry Vl back on the throne.
This action forces the Neville family into exile which will have far reaching consequences for all of them.
Having read previously about Anne Neville in various book – this was a romantic take on the story from the point of view of Anne herself. The skeleton of the story is much historical back and the ‘meat’ on the bones of the story is the author’s imagination.

An enjoyable read without too many battle scenes and the customary happy ending. Perfect for lovers of historical fiction (such as Philipa Gregory and Alison Weir) but not too heavy on the history side of things. Perhaps the ‘chick lit’ of historical fiction.

The Beauty Chorus by Kate Lord Brown

It is 1941, The Battle of Britain is won but England is still facing a threat from Hitler and the Luftwaffe is terrorising the cities and towns. The Allies need to maintain their dominance in the air and they need planes in the right places at the right times. This is where the ATA or ‘The Beauty Chorus’ step into the picture, young women risking their lives to move planes around the country. Thrown together in a small cottage just outside of their air base, 3 young women from very different backgrounds are thrown together as new AT recruits. Evie is from a well to do family where money is no object, Megan is a naive farmer’s daughter from Wales and Stella is a young woman recently returned from Singapore.

As these 3 women move beyond their very different backgrounds true friendship and solidarity grows as they face the traumas of war together and have their friendships tested to the limit.

A heart-warming novel about love, loss, friendship and adventure which were the staple die of the girls from ‘the beauty chorus’. I loved this book and for me I finished it far too quickly. An excellent read!

The Birdcage walk by Kate Riordan

The year is 1901 and young George is living with his father, a birdcage maker and his sister. A chance encounter with a well to do gentleman and the sale of a birdcage to him will change his life forever. A friendship develops between George and the gentleman’s niece and as this friendship blossoms it will set in chain events that will alter his life and the lives of those around him forever.

In an atmospheric murder/thriller, the author transports the reader back to turn of the century London.

This book kept me hooked until the very end. A super book which I really recommend. I am looking forward to reading her latest book ‘The girl in the photograph’ very soon.

Death of a Celebrity By MC Beaton By MC Beaton

By MC Beaton

This is the 18th Hamish Macbeth book in this long running murder mystery series and sadly after reading this book the series seems to be getting a bit tired, plots are getting boring, characters bland and predictable
The small highland village of Lochdubh is quiet and anonymous until a television company takes interest in all the scandals that have happened there over the years making the reporter Crystal French a rather unpopular person. As usual the suspects are numerous and it is Macbeth versus the big boys at Strathbane CID.
The book failed to grasp my attention and as the plot meandered round and round, I got the impression that the plot was drawn out just so the author could fulfil her word quota set by the publisher.
Having read all the previous Hamish books, I am inclined to give the next one a go but with this one I was really close to giving up on it, only persevering because I don’t give up on books lightly and with it being part of a series I felt obliged to finish it. The most disappointing Hamish book so far.

Antiques Roadshow – World War One in 100 Family Treasures by Paul Atterbury by Paul Atterbur

Antiques Roadshow – World War One in 100 Family Treasures

by Paul Atterbury

The beauty of this book was that it is the sort of book that you can dip in and out of and I read the book over the course of several months.

The book is exactly what the title says it is a history of World War One through 100 personal family items. For each item a biography of the owner is given, brief details of what was going on I their particular theatre of war and information about the item itself.

The items are not of national significance on the whole, some items featured are just say a family photograph, a postcard or piece of jewellery but this is what I loved about the book – items telling the personal stories behind the campaigns and battles that we have all read about in the history books. The individual stories keep your interest as they are not too long and rambling. This is a  truly engaging book which will bring home to readers the true human cost of war.

Although intended for an adult reader – this book would also be invaluable to young adults who are perhaps discovering World War One for the first time.

The secrets we share By Emma Hannigan

After a terrible tragedy on her prom night, Nathalie finds herself on a plane to Ireland to stay with a grandmother that until recently, she never knew existed.

In Ireland, Natalie’s grandmother, Clara, is eagerly waiting to meet the granddaughter that she didn’t know existed until a couple of weeks ago as she had lost touch with her son Max over 20 years ago.

As Nathalie and Clara get to know each other, will their relationship help heal the rift between Max and his mother. Throughout the book, family secrets are revealed which stretch back to the darks days of World War Two and the Nazi occupation of Austria.

Enjoyable read but not as good as a couple of her previous books

The love song of Miss Queenie Hennessy By Rachel Joyce

When Miss Queenie Hennessy writes to former colleague Harold Fry, she doesn’t expect him to embark upon a pilgrimage to visit her. We have heard the story of Harold in “The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry”. Now it is the turn for us to hear Queenie’s story. Confessing 20 years of secrets and unrequited love,  Queenie hopes to achieve peace and absolution in her final days.

An amazing book which will have you reaching for the hankies throughout, it helps us not only see the story of Harold Fry through different eyes but also sheds light on why Harold feels the need to walk all the way to see Queenie.

This is \ beautiful book which must be read by all those who enjoyed Harold’s company on his journey from Devon to Northumberland.

The Girls by Lisa Jewell

Virginia Terrace and Virginia Crescent seem the idyllic place for families to live. An enclosed communal garden the perfect place for children to grow up and play with their peers. But is it really that safe? When a 13 year old girl is found unconscious in the garden, neighbours begin to look at each other in a totally different way. Suspicion amongst the families reaches fever pitch and old skeletons come out of the closet.
Full of dark secrets we begin to realise that this oasis in the middle of London is not all it seems. All this mystery and suspense keeps you hooked until the very end with plenty of twists, turns and blind alleys.
Loving Lisa Jewells current style and if you haven’t read any of her books previously then this is one that you must read. Perfect for fans of Liane Morriarty, Kate Morton, Hannah Richell and those who enjoyed books such as “Girl on a train” and “Gone girl”. Just an excellent and enjoyable read (again) by Lisa Jewell.

“The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” By Rachel Joyce

Retiree Harold Fry receives a letter one morning from an old friend who is in a hospice 627 miles from his home dying of cancer. Immediately, he writes a letter to her and whilst his wife is hovering upstairs he pops out to post it. However, instead of posting it at the post box at the end of his street, he decides to walk on a bit further and post it at the next post box he sees. Before he knows it Harold has walked a long way from home and decides that seeing that he has come so far he might as well carry onto Berwick – 627 miles from his home in Kingsbridge, Devon to see his old friend in person. Unfortunately, Harold is only wearing ‘yachting’ shoes, has no compass and no map but however, ill equipped he is; he is determined to make it all the way to Berwick to see his friend Queenie for the final time.

Along the way, Harold meets a variety of people who help him on journey as he travels he has time to reflect on his own life and how it is turned out.

Left at home, Harold’s wife Maureen also has time to reflect on her life and the events that has happened during it.  Whilst Maureen and Harold are many miles apart, will his spur of the moment decision bring the couple closer together or drive them further apart.

This is a beautifully written book which will move you, not only to tears but to laughter as well. It is just an amazing book to read.