Book reviews

The Passing Tribute by Simon Marshall – Book Review



In the tumultuous aftermath of the First World War the Wilson brothers head in opposite directions: Richard, interned in Austria throughout the conflict, returns to England; Edward, a junior officer, is dispatched from Italy to Vienna as part of the British Army s relief mission.

For Edward, it will be a return to the city and to love. But it will not be the same city: Vienna is no longer the administrative heart of an Empire, merely a provincial capital ravaged by starvation, and paralysed by the winter snows. Will it be the same love?

In London, Richard is employed in the ministerial heart of government, and soon dazzled by the Under Secretary s vision for a new, federal Europe. But for the new to exist the old must be replaced; and the Habsburg Emperor, on his estate near the Czech border, revolution all around, refuses to go. One man is sent to make sure that he does.

With the brothers estranged by distance and time, their lives become unknowingly entwined in a shadowy plot and it seems the end of the war is only the beginning of their struggle.



Before you start reading this, I would get settled in a comfy chair and be prepared for a slow, thoughtful and unique read….it reminded me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo….in that is seems experimental in its language and plot and more about the feeling and emotions it raises.

It’s a beautifully written tale of two brothers, and their lives after the war, the rebuilding of lives and society and politics… it’s beautifully poetic at times and there is a little humour too.

It uses the language of the early 20th century at the time of WW1, so can take a little getting used to..

I feel this is the kind of book to linger over and enjoy the language, it will be perfect for book clubs everywhere as there is so much to discuss.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.




This is Simon’s second novel. In 2015 he self-published The Long Drawn Aisle, then immediately started work researching and writing The Passing Tribute.
A political historian at heart, Simon read modern history at UCL before gaining an MA distinction in Imperial and Commonwealth History at King’s College London. It was during these studies that his profound and ongoing fascination with the pre and post WW1 European settlement was stirred, and it has inspired both of his novels to date.

Simon was born and raised in London, but has lived and worked for most of the past decade in France. With youthful pretensions to screenwriting and poetry, prose has taken over and he has worked variously as a private tutor, English language teacher, assistant bar manager, gig economy dromedary, and Real Tennis professional. As The Long Drawn Aisle took him over ten years to write (and rewrite, and rewrite), he has therefore had plenty of time to immerse himself in all of these glorious postings. And long – says the man in short trousers – may it continue!

Twitter @LongDrawnAisle


Paperback: 288 pages
• Publisher: Unbound Digital (7 Mar. 2019)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 178965016X
• ISBN-13: 978-1789650167



Book reviews, Historical fiction

A Tale of Two Sisters by Merryn Allingham – Book Review



Separated by time and distance, two sisters seek answers for all they’ve lost

When Alice Verinder’s beloved sister Lydia goes missing, Alice boards the Orient Express bound for Topkapi Palace in Constantinople, determined to find her.
Lydia was governess to the Sultan’s young children and though her letters spoke of exotic delights and welcoming hosts, the reception Alice receives is decidedly cold and answers unforthcoming.

Now, as Alice digs deeper into the secrets of a land foreign to her she has only Englishman Harry Frome to help her. But as their search uncovers unforeseen dangers and exposes an unexpected ardour, is Alice ready for the truths they’ll uncover?

An emotional historical drama perfect for fans of Linda Finlay and Rosie Goodwin


Set in the early twentieth century Turkey, and is so beautifully written you feel a part of the time and culture…

I found this to be a well plotted tale with enough mystery and twists to keep you engrossed and guessing right  to the end..

Lydia and Alice are sisters, but so different in outlook. Lydia is driven by what she feels is inequality and is full of life, but still not quite ready for what life throws at her. While Alice, is a homebody, and looks out for her family first and foremost….but who is the brave one in the end?

This is not a fast paced read, but one to settle down to and enjoy….it’s full of history with the mystery of Lydia’s disappearance adding to the suspense….with a little romance too…..a lovely, deep and emotion packed read.

Thank you to Canelo for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook and this is my honest, unbiased review.

Links to Book:

Amazon (UK)
Kobo (UK)
Google Books (UK)
Apple Books (UK)



Author Bio:

Merryn Allingham was born into an army family and spent her childhood moving around the UK and abroad. Unsurprisingly it gave her itchy feet and in her twenties she escaped from an unloved secretarial career to work as cabin crew and see the world.
Merryn  still loves to travel and visit new places, especially those with an interesting history, but the arrival of marriage, children and cats meant a more settled life in the south of England, where she has lived ever since. It also gave her the opportunity to go back to ‘school’ and eventually teach at university.
She has written seven historical novels, all mysteries with a helping of suspense and a dash of romance – sometimes set in exotic locations and often against a background of stirring world events.
For the latest news of Merryn’s writing, visit her website or join her on Facebook or twitter.

Title: A Tale of Two Sisters

Author Name: Merryn Allingham

Previous Books (if applicable): TBC

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: 21st March 2019