Published by Zaffre

Ebook and Paperback : 16 November 2017

448 pages



I’m thrilled to be hosting today’s blog tour for The Perfect Victim on its publication day and delighted to welcome Corrie Jackson to the blog with a guest post, talking about her writing space.

 

 

Where I write

by Corrie Jackson

At a fashion magazine you learn to write anywhere, anyhow. On photo shoots and planes, in taxis and hotel rooms. With one eye on the computer, the other on the hot movie star kicking back on the editor’s sofa. You write while the sound system pumps out the latest chart-topper, and while your mad colleagues entertain the office with comedy-gold anecdotes. Life on a fashion magazine is loud, fast and colourful. A world where you’re one step away from an A-list impromptu visit (Kanye West’s fly-by still has the GLAMOUR staffers LOL-ing, but that’s another story…)

When I left my role as Assistant Editor at GLAMOUR to move to Los Angeles with my husband and son, I figured I was due some peace and quiet. I was embarking on a grown-up project: Writing. A. Book. So I carved out a space in our 1930s Santa Monica house; a sun-dappled room with floor-to-ceiling windows where I watched hummingbirds dart and dive against the Californian sky. The office was perfect.

Too perfect.

The silence was deafening. It was the first time I could hear myself think and the words wouldn’t come. Exchanging the buzz of a creative office to a solo project was far tougher than I imagined. For the first time, there was no collaboration, no one to bounce ideas off. Just me, in a room with a computer. I soon retreated to a noisy café on the corner where, surrounded by LA’s craziest characters, the words began to flow.

Then, midway through my first book, something happened. I found myself fully immersed in the world I’d created. Suddenly the buzz became distracting. I needed to turn off the voices around me so that I could hear the voices in my head. One day, I returned to my little office filled with sunlight and the scent of jasmine, and my brain had space to think.

Since then I’ve moved to the East Coast of America, to a ranch-style house just outside New York City. I’ve claimed a room for myself, with wraparound windows overlooking the woods. It’s a place where the hustle and bustle of two small kids and a dog can’t reach me. I’ve learnt to trust the silence. My desk is fairly uncluttered. A few personal photographs; beautiful stationery from my favourite Los Angeles store and a scented candle (you can take the girl out of magazines…) My shelf is littered with reference books as well my first-ever collection of Sherlock Holmes stories (I have several: my Arthur Conan Doyle obsession started young). Perched on my desk is a framed print, baring the words: It’s up to you. Which sums up the whole writing process, really. No one but me can create the next character, plot point or sentence. There are no colleagues, no brainstorms, no Hollywood hunks. Just me, in a room with a computer.

And there’s something quite beautiful about that.

 

|   About the Book   |

 

For fans of Nicci French and Sophie Hannah, Corrie Jackson’s explosive new thriller will leave you questioning how far you would go for friendship.

Charlie and Emily Swift are the Instagram-perfect couple: gorgeous, successful and in love. But then Charlie is named as the prime suspect in a gruesome murder and Emily’s world falls apart.

Desperate for answers, she turns to Charlie’s troubled best friend, London Herald journalist, Sophie Kent. Sophie knows police have the wrong man – she trusts Charlie with her life.

Then Charlie flees.

Sophie puts her reputation on the line to clear his name. But as she’s drawn deeper into Charlie and Emily’s unravelling marriage, she realises that there is nothing perfect about the Swifts.

As she begins to question Charlie’s innocence, something happens that blows the investigation – and their friendship – apart.

Now Sophie isn’t just fighting for justice, she’s fighting for her life.

 

 

 

|   About the author   |

 

Corrie Jackson has been a journalist for fifteen years and has worked at Harpers Bazaar, The Daily Mail, Grazia and Glamour. She has lived in London and Los Angeles, and now resides just outside New York with her husband and two children.

 

Author Links:

Website  |   Twitter   |   Facebook    |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads

 

 

Published by Urbane Publications

Ebook and paperback : 2 November 2017

304 pages


My thanks to Abby Fairbrother and Urbane for the invitation to take part in the blog tour.  For my turn today, I’m delighted to host Angelena with a guest post.

MUM – WHY DID KATIE CALL ME A CURRY MUNCHER?

by Angelena Boden

The trials and tribulations of raising dual heritage children… not forgetting the good bits.

When my first daughter was born in 1983 the Birmingham Evening Mail were doing a piece on mixed marriages.  I agreed to take part but I found the final version disturbing in its use of language. I quote  “and when the café au lait children come along, to hell with what the neighbours think.”

One of the greatest worries mothers like me face is whether the children are going to be accepted by both sides – family and community. Research has shown that dual heritage children face more rejection and isolation than those from a mono racial background. For a child to feel a sense of belonging, both families, need to accept them. In our case, their Iranian family thought they were too western as they got older and began to look for a new wife for my husband. On my side of the family my father was dismissive of them initially. So it was down to me.

This question of identify and belonging becomes more prevalent as children move through their teenage years. They need to be like their peers and will discard any cultural baggage as they see it in order to fit in. This creates additional clashes with parents who often turn in on each other. That’s my story anyway.

The use of language in relation to  my daughters has been a theme running through their upbringing and the scene of many battles.  Let’s start with their names. Both have ancient Persian names that have no religious link. The amount of times they’ve been spelt incorrectly or had an insulting comment attached to them are too many to count. Here’s an interesting fact. I had no say in choosing them. In Iran, baby names are a family decision. In fact for six weeks I called them both by something else entirely. A name sets a child up for life. It can help them or cause problems so it’s worth thinking about in advance. When blame rained down on them for the invasion of Iraq and the rise of Al Qaeda, I did ask if they wanted to use their English middle names but such a suggestion was met with fury. ‘We’re proud of who we are. You obviously are not.’ 

My daughters had a good understanding of Farsi ( Persian) when they were young but were averse to speaking it. My husband didn’t encourage it for sinister reasons I learned much later and this was a bone of contention between us. Research shows that bilingualism is beneficial to the cognitive development of the brain and apparently can delay the onset of dementia. Anyone raising dual heritage children where a second language is involved should really encourage bilingualism. Not only does it open up extra work opportunities but language helps us to understand the culture of a country and the nature of its people more fully.

Although brought up in a faith, their father was agnostic so religion was never a big issue at first but he insisted on maintaining certain rituals to keep the extended family happy. When you marry an Iranian you marry the clan. It was only when his father became ill, did he take a greater interest in God and started to wield his new found religious authority over us.

I’ve heard it said, and I agree, that children of dual heritage have to be twice as good and work twice as hard to be accepted. My daughters have different experiences of this. Anousheh went to a private girls’ school in Birmingham, onto Cambridge, Trinity College Dublin and into the law. She was with girls similar to her and I cannot recall a single problem she had of not being accepted but then she keeps a lot to herself. She now fights for the rights of women who have been raped during acts of war and genocide.

Aniseh, the younger one and the rebel, insisted on going to a girls’ comprehensive where she was definitely in a minority. For five years she endured racist taunts, (see the title of this blog) and staff who didn’t take my complaints seriously. If I could name the school I would but I remember the Deputy Head saying, ‘ Oh girls will be girls.’  I took my daughter out of school in her GSCE year and taught her at home.  She went onto Aston University (Birmingham) built  up a million pound business and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for her work with disadvantaged young people. Resilience in the face of adversity. I’d like to think I instilled in both of them the values of respect, fairness and citizenship.

I could write a book on this but as space is short I’ll sum up some of the main challenges of raising children who find themselves with a foot in two worlds.

1.   It’s important to give them a strong sense of identity by knitting the two backgrounds together and giving them the space to become themselves.

2.   The issue of raising a child in a faith or none needs to be discussed at the outset bearing in mind that come the teenage years they may well turn their backs on everything you’ve taught them.

3.   Let them learn both languages from the native speaker of that language. There will be confusion at first. My daughters used to start a sentence in one language and finish it in another.

4.   As with all children, help them to feel secure and grounded and comfortable in their own skin whatever its colour.

5.   Let your child see they belong in both cultures and hope that’s how both families view it. If they are travelling long distances to see the “other” family once a year, prepare them in advance.  Travelling to Iran meant long briefings on how to behave in all aspects of daily living.

I am happy to take questions on any aspects of this blog.

 

|   About the Book   |

 

The Future Can’t Wait is a contemporary novel set in multicultural Birmingham against a background of growing radicalisation of young people sympathetic to Islamic State. Kendra Blackmore’s half Iranian daughter Ariana (Rani) undergoes an identity crisis which results in her cutting off all contact with her family. Sick with worry and desperate to understand why her home loving daughter would do this, Kendra becomes increasingly desperate for answers – and to bring her estranged daughter home….

|   About the Author   |

 

Angelena Boden (M.Soc.Sc PGDE) has spent thirty five years as an international training consultant, specialising in interpersonal skills and conflict resolution. She trained in Transactional Analysis, the psychology of communication and behaviour, her preferred tool for counselling and coaching.

Since retiring from training, she runs a coaching practice in Malvern for people who are going through transition periods in their life; divorce, empty nesting, redundancy or coping with difficult situations at work, home and within the wider family.

Angelena has two half Iranian daughters and has extensive experience of helping mixed nationality couples navigate problems in their marriages.

She is the author of The Cruelty of Lambs, a novel about psychological domestic abuse. Her new book, The Future Can’t Wait tackles the breakdown of a mother and daughter relationship within a cross cultural context. It is published by Urbane Publications and is out in November 2017.

Author Links:    Website   |   Twitter   |  Facebook   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads

 

 

Away for Christmas – by Jan Ruth

Published by Celtic Connections

ebook available: 13 November 2017

107 pages (novella)


I’ve read one of Jan’s books before and very much enjoyed it so when she asked if I would like to review her latest novella, Away for Christmas, I didn’t hesitate in saying yes and I’m delighted to be sharing my review and a Christmas themed Q&A today on publication day.

 

|   About the Book   |

 

Jonathan Jones has written a novel. Losing his job a few days before Christmas means the pressure is on for his book to become a bestseller, but when his partner drops her own bombshell, the festive holiday looks set to be a disaster.

When he’s bequeathed a failing bookshop in their seaside town, it seems that some of his prayers have been answered, but his publishing company turn out to be not what they seem, and when his ex-wife suddenly declares her romantic intent, another Christmas looks set to be complicated.

Is everything lost, or can the true meaning of words, a dog called Frodo, and the sheer magic of Christmas be enough to save Jonathan’s book, and his skin?

Bookmuse Magazine: “If you’re a writer you will laugh, despair and sympathise with Jonathan Jones, and the trials and tribulations he faces as he battles to become a published author. And if you’re a reader, you’ll be captivated by the excellent story-telling that weaves Jonathan’s complicated life into a page turning drama. A real feel good novella, perfect to curl up with on a stormy winter’s afternoon…”
You’ll enjoy this if you like: Jojo Moyes, Jill Mansell, Erica James.
Ideal accompaniments: Hot chocolate with marshmallows and a plate of shortbread.

 

|   My thoughts   |

Away for Christmas was a perfectly charming story and one which I thoroughly enjoyed.  It took perhaps a couple of hours in total to read but although this was a novella, it didn’t feel like a short read; the storyline didn’t feel rushed at all and the characters were fully fleshed out, warts and all.

It’s very difficult to review a shorter story without giving away too much of the plot which I don’t want to do but I have to admit that when I first started reading I wasn’t too enamoured with Jonathan Jones.  An accountant desperate to be a full time writer, it seemed that he had put his own ambitions above that of everyone else, including his family. He had signed a contract with Tangerine Press, which may have been a mistake as a friend who had self published her book, seemed to be having far more success.  However as the story went on and his personal and publishing woes got worse, I actually felt quite sorry for him.  I did wonder whether the author had based some parts of the story on her own experiences, or at the very least had added some artistic licence as Tangerine Press appeared to be one to avoid at all costs!

Lovers of bookshops and dogs are well catered for in this story.  Jonathan’s life was full of drama, much of it of his doing to be fair but this is a story of families and relationships, realising what is important and finding your way again.  The storyline around the elderly bookshop owner Gwilym I found particularly moving and Frodo the dog was much loved addition to the story; there was a certain character who I really took a dislike to when they suggested that Frodo find a new home!

This is a perfect read to get you in the mood for Christmas. Set mainly in North Wales, there is an excellent sense of place with the snowy descriptions adding greatly to the atmosphere.  Any book about a bookshop is a hit with me – I can definitely recommend this one although I wonder if Fireside Book Reviews would too!! (You have to read the book to get this reference!)

Finally, I have to give congratulations to the designer of the book cover. Its a real stunner and perfectly sums up the beauty of the book.

Away for Christmas is now available to download from Amazon (and if you’re in the UK, its just 1.50).

 

 

Q&A

 

Welcome to the blog Jan. Can you please tell us a little about ‘Away for Christmas’ and the inspiration for this particular story.

Away for Christmas is about the joy and pain of publishing books, the joy and pain of fractured relationships, and of course, the joy and pain of Christmas itself. The festive period is not always fun for everyone, but most of all, this is a story about staying true to oneself and looking for the real Christmas spirit beyond the baubles and the glitter.

The story is set over three Christmastimes, and because I feel sure readers will be looking for a few hours of warm and cosy escapism at this time of the year, rest assured there’s a happy ending by the time Jonathan makes it to 2017.

Regular readers will know that my characters tend not to be in the first flush of youth, and that the joy and pain of relationships are often par for the course. Christmas is very much a family time and can unearth a multitude of unwelcome emotions and in the case of my character, present plenty of troublesome hurdles before the festivities can be enjoyed. His ex-wife doesn’t always make life easy, but Jonathan is determined to be a better dad, against all the odds.

And finally, the joy and pain of publishing books! There are some great publishers out there, ones who achieve results, look after their authors and understand the industry from the ground up. This story isn’t based on them.

It’s no secret that I’ve been round the houses and back again with regard to writing and publishing. Thirty years ago I used to believe that a good book would always be snapped up by a publisher regardless of genre, style, and content. In the real, commercial world, this just isn’t true. I see on a regular basis, writers excited by offers from vanity publishers, or those who operate under the guise of assisted publishing, not realising the implications until it’s perhaps too late. Even contracts from those real publishers with seemingly no pitfalls or upfront costs, can dissolve into a horribly disappointing experience. Of course, my poor character thinks he’s landed lucky when a small publisher offers him a three-book deal. What could go wrong? If you’ve ever dreamed of writing a book or maybe you’ve just typed THE END to your manuscript, you might think twice about your next step…

Away for Christmas is mainly set in North Wales, an area that you very familiar with. How important is location to you and which comes to you first in the writing process, plot or characters?

There’s no doubt I’m in my creative comfort zone horse riding or tramping across the hills on a moody day. There’s no better way of busting that plot! I think character and plot, or theme, tends to be fairly equal in the writing process. Setting is hugely important to me. The castles and the rugged hillsides strewn with stone settlements, druid circles and Roman roads bring out the historical muse in me. To think that I am treading the same path as someone who lived in the Iron Age, is both fascinating and humbling. Moving to Snowdonia 20 years ago kick-started my stalled obsession with writing in a very positive way. All this talk of the past makes me sound as if I write historical-based fiction. Far from it. Much as I admire many other genres I tend to be very much rooted in current times and my work reflects a lot of my own life experiences. But this is where I find the two ideas merge a little because I am most certainly inspired by this Ice Age landscape. What has gone before certainly shapes what we see today, but does it shape what we feel, too?

I’m in awe of your gorgeous Facebook photos of the Snowdonia landscape. What are the best and also the more challenging aspects of living there?

In a nutshell, I love being close to such isolation and wildness, and yet my local supermarket is still only a ten minute drive away! (Does this make me a fake country person?) The landscape itself is often challenging, conditions can change in an instant and become dangerous, even in high summer.

Describe a typical Christmas Day in your household and do you have any family traditions?

It tends to be all pyjamas, opening the special booze too early and trying not eat before the main event. Because of this, I tend cook lunch for the middle part of the day so we can hopefully get out for a walk before dusk and sober up before repeating more or less the same scenario in the evening.

You can travel anywhere in the world – where would be your ideal place to spend Christmas?

I like being home, I really do. When we were busy working and the family were young, we always used to want to ‘go away’ somewhere for Christmas but now that we can, we invariably don’t want to.

Who puts up the Christmas decorations in your house?

Me! No point relying on the menfolk.

Do you have an all-time favourite Christmas book?

A Child’s Christmas in Wales, by Dylan Thomas.

What is the best and worst Christmas present you have ever received?

Best pressie ever was a saddle when I was 21.

Quick fire questions:

Christmas Tree – real or artificial: real
Favourite Christmas song: The Pogues, Fairytale of New York
Favourite Christmas film: Hmm… not a film watcher.
Turkey (or something else?): Chicken with lots of extra special trimmings
Christmas pudding or plum pudding and Cream or brandy butter: Christmas pudding with cream for me, always with custard for my other half and neither for my son – he’d always choose chocolate pudding over the fruit ones.
Favourite Sweet or Savoury treats: Always savoury.
Queen’s speech or DVD: Oops, neither!

 

|   About the author  |

 

Jan Ruth writes contemporary fiction about the darker side of the family dynamic with a generous helping of humour, horses and dogs. Her books blend the serenities of rural life with the headaches of city business, exploring the endless complexities of relationships.

 

 

 

 

Author Links:   Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook   |   Amazon Geo link   |   Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m delighted to be taking part in the paperback cover reveal for Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon.  The ebook and hardback were published in July by Corvus and the paperback will be out in early January. I have also been given an excerpt to share.

 

Firstly, a little about the book:

Robin and Sarah weren’t the closest of twins. They weren’t even that similar. But they loved each other dearly. Until, in the cruellest of domestic twists, they were taken from one another.

Now, in her early 30s, Robin lives alone. Agoraphobic and suffering from panic attacks, she spends her days pacing the rooms of her house. The rest of the time she watches – watches the street, the houses, the neighbours. Until one day, she sees something she shouldn’t…

And Sarah? Sarah got what she wanted – the good-looking man, the beautiful baby, the perfect home. But she’s just been accused of the most terrible thing of all. She can’t be around her new family until she has come to terms with something that happened a long time ago. And to do that, she needs to track down her twin sister.

But Sarah isn’t the only person looking for Robin. As their paths intersect, something dangerous is set in motion, leading Robin and Sarah to fight for much more than their relationship…

 

now for the excerpt:

 

DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES by Holly Seddon

CHAPTER ONE
Present day – ROBIN

Robin drags in the stuffy air with thin breaths, puffs it out quickly. Dust dances in the foot of a sunbeam. Robin tries not to imagine those tiny specks filling her lungs, weighing her down.

Outside, the Manchester pavement is grey and wet but the air has a freshness, a flirtation with spring. Robin won’t feel this. She won’t let the damp tingle her skin. It won’t slowly sink into the cotton of her faded black T-shirt.

A bus rushes past the window, spraying the front of her house and its nearest neighbours with a burst of puddle water temporarily turned into surf. But Robin doesn’t see this. She only hears the gush and the disappointment of the woman whose jeans got ‘fucking soaked‘.

Robin did not go out yesterday and she will not leave her house today. Bar fire or flood, she’ll still be inside tomorrow. Just as she has been inside for these last years. Until a few weeks ago, everything in Robin’s world had been fine and safe. A cosy shell. She spends her days clocking up the recommended ten thousand steps a day on her pedometer, watching television, lifting a metal graveyard of weights and aimlessly searching the internet.

Robin is careful and controlled. She only answers her door by prior appointment. Online groceries arriving outside of designated slots get lumped back to the depot by irritated drivers. Unexpected parcels are unclaimed. There is an election soon, but Robin is not interested in discussing politics with earnest enthusiasts in bad suits shuffling on her doorstep.

Someone is knocking on her door right now. They were polite at first but now they’re building to a crescendo of frustration. Robin stares forward at the television in grim determination, jaw jutting ahead. The screen is filled with bright colours and mild voices. Television for toddlers. The minutes are filled with stories of triumph in simple tasks, of helping friends or learning a cheerful new skill. There is no baddie, there is no guilt or fear. Everyone is happy.

As the knocks grow a little more frantic, Robin deliberately takes a deep breath. She focuses on her chest filling and expanding and the slow seeping of air back out between her teeth. Still she stares doggedly at the screen.

 

and finally now the cover! I  love it, so very striking.

 

|   About the Author   |

 

Holly Seddon is a full time writer, living slap bang in the middle of Amsterdam with her husband James and a house full of children and pets. Holly has written for newspapers, websites and magazines since her early 20s after growing up in the English countryside, obsessed with music and books.

Her first novel TRY NOT TO BREATHE was published worldwide in 2016 and became a national and international bestseller.

Her second novel DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES was published in July 2017.

 

 

Author Links:  Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook   |   Amazon UK  |   Goodreads

 

Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I

Published by Harper360

Available in ebook and paperback: 5 October 2017

400 pages

Source: Advanced Reading Copy


 

When I was invited by the publisher to review Last Christmas in Paris and to take part in the blog tour, I didn’t hesitate to say yes please.  I already adore Hazel Gaynor’s writing, having reviewed her previous books here (links below) and whilst Heather Webb is a new author to me, the collaboration of the two authors and the wartime setting made this irresistible. Having read it, I can safely say that this is a book I will be recommending to everyone!

 

|   About the Book   |

 

New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor has joined with Heather Webb to create this unforgettably romantic novel of the Great War.

August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.

But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…

Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?

Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him…

 

|   My Review   |

 

It’s not easy to tell a story simply by using an epistolary format. It has been successfully done before (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society) immediately springs to mind but I’m delighted to say that these two authors have pulled this off magnificently, Last Christmas in Paris is a gorgeous read and I loved it.

With the occasional interruption into a change of timeline set in 1968, Last Christmas in Paris is told entirely through letters (and telegrams) during the years of 1914-1918, mainly between Evie Elliott and Thomas Harding – the childhood best friend of Evie’s brother Will.  Evie is a prolific letter writer and it’s not only Tom who receives her missives but her brother Will, and her best friend Alice.

Evie was an absolute delight and I adored her. She wasn’t content just to sit by and let life pass by. She had principles, gumption and bucket loads of courage. Although from a privileged family, she had no airs or graces and was desperate to ‘do her bit’ for her country when war was declared. Her mother was dead set against her working at all but eventually Evie is able to get a job with the local postmistress delivering letters and those awful official telegrams bringing bad news. Not content with keeping quiet about the propaganda from the government and other news agencies who put out the false reports that everything is going swimmingly well for the troops, she secures a column in a newspaper – telling the truth as she sees it from a woman’s point of view and not holding back on the awful conditions in France and the difficulties faced by both fighting soldiers and the people at home waiting for their return.

When Tom went to war, he and Evie were not romantically involved. As Will’s younger sister, she has always been teased by both boys but through their correspondence we begin to see a different side to both Tom and Evie.  Tom’s letters are heavily censored for mentions of location and other sensitive information but nevertheless through the level of detail, the evocative prose and historical facts I was completely swept up in their lives.   The letters start off formally from Tom’s side – signing off with ‘Lieutenant Thomas Harding’ whilst those from Evie are jolly and newsy and include gifts of hand knitted socks, tobacco and books – anything to try and lift Tom’s spirits. As the war continues for far longer than anyone expected, their correspondence becomes more personal and intimate. Both pour out their innermost feelings about the war and life in general.

One interesting little thing which I didn’t know until now was that there are different meanings for where you place stamps on an envelope.  This is something that Tom and Evie do with the other having to work out the meaning of the stamp position on the letters they sent to each other. I just had to Google and found this

The characterisation was spot on with the main characters being incredibly engaging and believable – Tom stole a little bit of my heart and even those I disliked intensely (yes John Hopper I’m looking at you!) were able to get under my skin!  The storyline of ‘war neuroses’ (what we now know as PTSD) was extremely poignant and saddening.  These poor soldiers who had been through hell at the front, were referred to as ‘Lacking Moral Fibre’ and ‘weak-minded’ when they were returned to Britain for hospital treatment.

Last Christmas in Paris will make you smile whilst breaking your heart.  I was completely mesmerised by the letters, the characters, and oh just by the entire storyline and it will definitely be one of my favourite books this year.  I made the mistake of finishing the last 50 pages or so on my morning train commute. My goodness this was an emotional read – a word of warning – if you’re reading this book in public make sure you have tissues!

My thanks to Helena of Harper 360 for the review copy and for the invitation to take part in the blog tour. You can follow the tour below.

 

 

|   About the authors   |

Hazel Gaynor is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel The Girl from the Savoy was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail Canada bestseller, and was shortlisted for the BGE Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris will be published in 2017.  Hazel was selected by US Library Journal as one of ‘Ten Big Breakout Authors’ for 2015 and her work has been translated into several languages. Originally from Yorkshire, England, Hazel now lives in Ireland.

Heather Webb is the acclaimed author of historical novels Becoming Josephine and Rodin’s Lover.  In 2015, Goodreads selected Rodin’s Lover as a Top Pick of the Month.  Heather is a member of the Historical Novel Society and lives in New England with her children and husband, and one feisty rabbit.

 

Author Links – Hazel Gaynor:  Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook   |   Amazon UK   |   Amazon US   |   Goodreads

Author Links – Heather Webb:  Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook   |   Amazon UK   |   Amazon US   |   Goodreads

 

Related Review Posts (Hazel Gaynor):

The Girl Who Came Home (A Novel of the Titanic)

A Memory of Violets