The Betrayal is published on 20 October 2017 and will be available in both ebook and paperback.  It is currently on a special launch price until 22 October (click HERE for the Amazon link).  Anne has been a guest on my blog before and I’m delighted to welcome her back with a post about her latest book.

The Betrayal

by Anne Allen

Thanks, Karen, for inviting me onto your lovely blog to talk about my latest book, ‘The Betrayal’. This is the 6th in my series, The Guernsey Novels, and like the 5th, ‘Echoes of Time’, is dual-time, with chapters set during WWII and the present day. The events I describe during the Occupation are based on fact, but the characters are fictional.

Leo Bichard is a prominent businessman whose French grandmother was a Jew, although both his parents were Christians. His family have never mentioned their ancestry but, unfortunately for Leo, someone tells the Germans, and he is deported with other Jews to concentration camps and does not return. This actually happened to the few Jews in Guernsey and is considered a shameful blot on the island’s history. The local government was unable to resist the demands of the German invaders in this instance, and my story was inspired by this event. Oh, and another inspiration was Renoir. He spent the summer of 1883 in Guernsey painting numerous versions of a particular bay, Muelin Huet, amongst others. At least one of these paintings is in a museum.

Leo sends his beloved wife and child to England a matter of days before the Germans arrive and he stays to defend his property and stand alongside his fellow islanders. However, the Germans soon impose severe restrictions on the population and Leo is forced to close his business and months later his house is taken over by soldiers and he is forced to live in his housekeeper’s small cottage.

When Teresa, his wife, returns after the war, she finds her home wrecked and the family’s valuables, including an extensive art collection, missing. One of those was a treasured family painting by Renoir. Learning she is a widow, she returns heartbroken to live with her family in England.

In 2010 Nigel and his twin Fiona, locals who have lived in London since university, return to Guernsey and buy a long-established antiques shop. A year later, during a refit, they find a hidden stash of paintings, including what appears to be a Renoir. Days later, Fiona finds Nigel dead, an apparent suicide. Refusing to accept the verdict, a distraught Fiona employs a detective to help her discover the truth.
Searching for the true owner of the painting brings Fiona close to someone who helps to heal her broken heart. But there are important questions to answer before she can lay her brother’s ghost to rest —

Who betrayed Leo? Who knew about the stolen Renoir? And are they prepared to kill – again?

The kindle book is open for pre-order NOW and is published on Friday 20th October. The launch price is £1.99 and will increase to £2.99 from 22nd October. All the previous titles are on a promotion at 99p from 18th -22nd October. Bargains! The paperback will be out at the end of the month.

 

|   About the author   |   

Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.

By profession Anne was a psychotherapist but long had the itch to write. Now a full-time writer, she has written The Guernsey Novels, five having been published and the sixth, The Betrayal, is due out in October 2017.

 

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

 

 

It’s a pleasure to welcome to the blog, Carol Warham.  Carol is the author of ‘Resolutions‘. This is her debut novel and is set in Yorkshire. Resolutions was published by Tirgearr Publishing (You can read an excerpt from the link) on 9 August 2017 and is available to buy in ebook format.

 

Resolutions

by Carol Warham

 

RESOLUTIONS takes place in a picturesque old mill town, in the midst of the rolling heathland (known as moors) of West Yorkshire. It sounds like an idyllic and atmospheric location for a good story, doesn’t it?

 

However, I didn’t originally set the story in this location. Far from it, in fact, as far as over four thousand miles away!

The idea for the story came from a location in Orlando, Florida, when, some years ago we holidayed there as a family. One of the places we visited was the town of Celebration. This is a master-planned community built by Disney. It was fashioned on the ‘ideal’ of the American small town. The name captured my imagination, I loved it. My mind started to work on other similar names that could be used for towns, and so the town of Resolution was born.

I now had a problem. There was no way any town in West Yorkshire, or any part of Yorkshire for that matter, would have such a name. The solution, to me, seemed simple enough, I would base the story in the U.S. How wrong could I be?

I took a lot of advice from writers who read my first tentative chapters. Every one of them agreed, I did not have the American idiom of speech, or the feel of the location. I had placed a UK town with UK residents in America – it did not work!

The next piece of advice I was given was to keep the plot but re-locate to an area I know well. This caused me a great deal of anguish. While I accepted the original location was not working, I wanted to keep the name of the town. By now I had a plot that centred around the place, New Year and the keeping of resolutions. I resisted moving it for some time.

Eventually I knew I had to accept that the move was inevitable. I brought my story to the mill town close to where I live, Holmfirth (Last of the Summer Wine town), and renamed it. A hotel in the town plays a significant part in the plot, and so, the town of Yeardon and Resolution Hotel were created.

I have never looked back. From that moment the story flowed. I knew the streets and the surrounding scenery. I went out and took photos of the places I mentioned in the novel and inspiration met me at every corner. I spent one day walking miles and miles deciding – that’s Maggie’s house, this is where Ben and Carly walk, here is the slippy cobbled street she walks down. I had lots of fun, and, what’s more, I couldn’t have done this four thousand miles away!

Earlier this year I received the wonderful news that Tirgearr Publishing accepted Resolution and I would join the ranks of their authors. As I started to spread the news, it became clear that many people loved the idea of the book being set in the Holme Valley, our local area. It generated a lot of interest with the local press, the libraries and other groups. I’ve been invited to interviews, to give talks and appeared in the local newspapers. None of this would have happened if I’d have left the story in its original location. In fact, I honestly doubt if it would have been published.

I have learnt that setting is just as important as the characters and the plot. In fact, the location can be a character in its own right.

I’m now starting my second novel, and yes, I’ve learnt my lesson. The location for this novel is set firmly in Yorkshire.

 

 

|   About the Book   |

 

Carly Mitchell returns to the small town of Yeardon in Yorkshire almost a year after running away on her wedding day. Now she wants to try to make amends with Steve, his family, and the townspeople who had prepared a huge party to celebrate her New Year’s Eve wedding.
She intends to stay only for a few days at the Resolution Hotel, owned by Steve’s parents. However, her plans change when Steve’s father is taken ill, and she feels obliged to step in and help with running the hotel. This also means having to deal with Steve’s antagonism since he has never forgiven her for humiliating him.

A further complication comes in the form of Ben Thornton, the local doctor, to whom Carly feels an immediate attraction. They enjoy getting to know each other and falling in love, until a famous model from Ben’s past arrives in the town, and stays at the hotel.
Steve attempts to get his revenge on Carly by driving a wedge between her and Ben, and by threatening to reveal what he knows about Ben’s troubled past unless Carly leaves town.

The resolution lies in Carly’s hands as she struggles between wanting to flee from the town again and wanting to stay with the man she has grown to love.

 

|   About the Author   |

 

Writing has been Carol’s love since childhood. She started by making small comics for her dolls, progressed to training as a journalist for a short while. Once the family had grown up she settled down to writing and having published short stories, poems and holiday articles.

In recent years she has been a judge in the short story section for the HysteriaUK competition and also for the RNA’s romance novel of the year.

Earlier this year, she represented her book group on BBC Radio Leeds, talking about books and the work on her novel.

Carol lives in Yorkshire, surrounded by some beautiful countryside, which is ideal for her other passion of walking, often with a dog called Sam. This lovely area is the location for her first novel, Resolutions.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Published by Michael Joseph/Penguin

Ebook : 19 October 2017   |   Paperback: 25 January 2018

400 pages

Source: ARC received for review


 

|   About the Book   |

 

Gone Girl meets Sliding Doors in this edge-of-your-seat thriller

Joanna is an avoider. So far she has spent her adult life hiding bank statements and changing career aspirations weekly.

But then one night Joanna hears footsteps on the way home. Is she being followed? She is sure it’s him; the man from the bar who wouldn’t leave her alone. Hearing the steps speed up Joanna turns and pushes with all of her might, sending her pursuer tumbling down the steps and lying motionless on the floor.

Now Joanna has to do the thing she hates most – make a decision. Fight or flight? Truth or lie? Right or wrong?

 

|   My Thoughts   |

 

The ‘Sliding Doors’ concept in books is not new, its been done before, as have books focusing on a moral dilemma and I’ve read plenty of those but to me this felt fresh and different. In Anything You Do Say, the plot revolves around two possible outcomes following an incident late at night by a canal path. Our protagonist Joanna is faced with a situation that every woman fears – you are walking home on your own late at night and you think that someone is following you. What Joanna decides to do forms the basis of the ‘Conceal’ where she covers up her actions or ‘Reveal’, where she owns up and faces the consequences. Alternate Conceal or Reveal chapters tell Joanna’s story and the path her life would take depending on her decision.

I’m not going to give away any more of the story because you do need to read it for yourselves. However I LOVED it. Joanna was the type of person that any of us could identify with – she had her flaws and her vulnerabilities and she made some questionable decisions (in both scenarios) in my opinion but I could understand why she made them.

The characterisation was spot on – for Joanna as well as the supporting players; her husband Reuben was a complex character and we see how Joanna’s actions impact on his life.  His reactions in both scenarios play an integral part in the story.

The two outcomes flow seamlessly without confusion and I was addicted to both ‘stories’ without favouring one over the other.

The psychological thriller/suspense market is saturated with much of the same type of story but what particularly appealed to me about this is the fact that it is different. No missing children or toxic marriages – just a well researched thought provoking story that is so realistic.  It’s quite frightening to think of the impact that a split second decision such as this would have.  I have to say I still don’t know what I would do in this situation. I would like to think that I would Reveal but as this book clearly shows nothing is clear cut or black and white.

This is definitely a contender for my Books of the Year List. Do put it on your reading pile, you won’t regret it.

Anything You Do Say is currently only 99p on Amazon UK for the Kindle pre-order download. For this price it’s one not to be missed.

 

My thanks to Jenny of Penguin for providing the copy for review and for the invitation to take part in the tour

 

 

|   About the author   |

Gillian McAllister has been writing for as long as she can remember. She graduated with an English degree and lives in Birmingham where she now works as a lawyer. Her debut novel Everything But The Truth was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller. You can find her on Twitter @gillianmauthor

 

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

 

To celebrate the release of Christmas at the Falling Down Guesthouse on 25 October, I have a fantastic giveaway to share with you.

 

 

***Win 4 dozen homemade Christmas cookies from Sunday Times bestselling author Michele Gorman,

aka Lilly Bartlett! ***

Enter to WIN 4 dozen Christmas cookies baked by the author! Unlike poor Lottie in Christmas at the Falling-Down Guesthouse, she’s a keen cook who grew up baking every Christmas with her mum – dozens and dozens (and dozens!) of cookies to fuel the family through the season. This year, she’ll be baking for YOU!

The giveaway is global and the winner will be randomly selected on November 1st. To enter, sign up HERE for Michele’s/Lilly’s newsletter (around 3x per year, you can unsubscribe easily at any time and your details will never be shared).

 

|   About the book   |

Put your feet up and tuck into the mince pies, because you won’t have to lift a finger to enjoy this Christmas!

Too bad the same can’t be said for single mother and extremely undomestic goddess, Lottie. When her beloved Aunt Kate ends up in hospital just before Christmas, Lottie and her seven-year-old daughter rush to rural Wales to take over her B&B. A picky hotel reviewer and his mad family are coming to stay, and without the rating only he can give them, Aunt Kate will lose her livelihood.

But Lottie can barely run her own life, let alone a hotel. How will she manage to turn the falling-down guesthouse into the luxurious wonderland the reviewer expects? And could the mysterious taxi driver, Danny, who agrees to help her, turn out to be the real gift this season?

As the snow sparkles on the trees and hot chocolate steams in your hand, snuggle into the delicious magic of Christmas at the Falling-Down Guesthouse.

Pre-Order Links:  AmazonUK   |   AmazonUS

Published by Bookouture

Ebook: 13 October 2017

408 pages


 

|   About the Book   |

 

Some secrets you can never tell.

Everyone thinks the Thomas’s are the perfect family: grand London house, gorgeous kids.

They don’t know wife Dominique is a paranoid wreck.

They don’t know husband Ben is trapped in a web of deceit.

They don’t know daughter Ruby lives in fear of the next abusive text.

But someone knows all their secrets.

Can the lies that bind them destroy them all?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Gone Girl, and The Girl on the Train will be captivated.

 

|   My thoughts   |

 

The story begins as dramatically as it ends, with the police having been called to a property in a quiet residential street in the early hours of Christmas Day following suspected gunshots. What they find as they make their way through the house is gradually revealed throughout the book but in between, we hear from the Thomas family members themselves, with a countdown over a period of about a week and leading up to Christmas Day, where we discover that the carefully presented façade of a perfect family life is actually anything but.

The story centres around the four family members, parents Dominque/Dom, Benjamin and their two children, 15 year old Ruby and the youngest 8 year old Amber (known as ‘Mouse’). Mouse had that childlike innocence with a fondness for hiding in small spaces with her book, hence the name. Ben runs his own accountancy business, and likes to look the part of a successful businessman with the most expensive of watches, the flash Mercedes, the big house; he also funds his wife’s expensive lifestyle which include regular hair appointments and lunches with her lawyer friend Fiona. However, despite this apparently envious lifestyle, both Dom and Ben are hiding things from each other.  Their daughter Ruby is heading for a meltdown – her life is being made a misery by bullying and in the absence of any comfort or help from her parents, she keeps a diary in which she records her most personal thoughts – none of which make for easy reading. She wasn’t my favourite character (that was Mouse) but Ruby was the character that I felt the most sympathy for. Her self-absorbed parents were so wrapped up in their own lives that she was mostly dismissed or punished for being a troublemaker – they didn’t seem to consider that there could be reasons behind her bad behaviour and she wasn’t mature enough to properly articulate her distress.

As we meet the characters and discover what their lives are actually like the story becomes more interesting. The intriguing structure and teasing cliff-hangers cast doubt all the way through and the story is presented in such a way that I felt that anyone at all could be responsible – for varying reasons. As the story went on, I suspected nearly everybody in turn and by the time I reached the final chapters, my head was spinning with all the possible conclusions that could have wrought such devastation on the family.

This was a well written and suspenseful read leading to a dramatic conclusion. The characterisation was excellent for both the main and peripheral characters.  This is not a fast paced read but the slow build up just heightens the anticipation of what may happen and there were some difficult but rather relevant topics included which added to the realism of the story.  In summary, a dark and engrossing read which kept me hooked.

 

|   About the author   |

Barbara is the Amazon and USA Today bestselling author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE, FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD, and THE DARKEST LIES. Her latest book is HER LAST SECRET.

Much of her success is thanks to her twenty-odd years’ experience as a national newspaper and magazine journalist. She’s interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. Thanks to people sharing their stories with her, she knows a lot about the emotional impact of violence and wrong-doing. That’s why her novels are dark, realistic and tackle not just the crime but its repercussions.

When not writing feverishly, she is often found hiding behind a camera, taking wildlife photographs.

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