Helping add a little UK hygge with lovely fragranced simmering grains
I am not a professional book reviewer, just an avid reader. I have a lot of ‘down’ time, due to my various treatments for Metatastic Malignant Melanoma (Stage 4). So I read.
Books are my escape and relaxation and my reviews are my honest opinion. If it’s tripe, I’ll say so and alternately if it’s excellent I may gush a bit. Many books are a good read, but are a bit forgettable, others, however, touch your soul a little and stay with you bringing a little magic to life.
I am 56 and I have stage 4 Malignant Melanoma and have been having various treatments and surgery over the past four years to help prolong my stay on this planet. Currently on Pembrolizumab..every three weeks....Good days and bad days and at times a lot of Scanxiety....
Due to my immunotherapy treatment for my stage 4 malignant melanoma, plus 2 surgeries in the same spot and radiotherapy, again in the same place, I now have nerve damage and neuropathy.
This means constant numbness, pins and needles and horrible pains which range from deep aches in my shoulder, elbow and left hand. Plus the joy stinging pains in my numb armpit and stabbing pains in my fingers and hand. I am left handed and no longer have any real control over it, I can’t write properly but am slowly learning to use my right hand….mmm slow going.
So, the result is I am no longer able to put the time and effort into reading and book blogging, a hard decision but I just can’t concentrate on a book anymore and that’s just not fair on the authors.
I am now just doing my other hobby making home fragrance items. I can do that with one hand.
Thank you to the incredible blog tour organisers for the support and the chance to have read some truly amazing books.
For Mrs May, every day’s the same: a cup of cold, black coffee in the morning, pruning roses, checking on her tenants, wine, prayer and an afternoon nap. She never leaves the building.
Abe Schwartz also lives at The Beresford. His housemate Smythe no longer does. Because Abe just killed him. In exactly sixty seconds, Blair Conroy will ring the doorbell to her new home and Abe will answer the door. They will become friends. Perhaps lovers.
And, when the time comes for one of them to die, as is always the case at The Beresford, there will be sixty seconds to move the body before the next unknowing soul arrives at the door. Because nothing changes at The Beresford, until the doorbell rings…
Eerie, dark, superbly twisted and majestically plotted, The Beresford is the stunning standalone thriller from one of crime fiction’s most exciting names.
The Beresford is a block of apartments, owned by the religious and slightly eccentric Mrs May who never leaves the building unless to potter in the garden occasionally. The other residents are gradually revealed and we get to know them……
The Beresford building has its own darkness and it will give you goosebumps as the story unfolds.
Some of the residents also have dark secrets and Abe immediately springs to mind…
The chapters are short, sharp and pack a punch, the characters are so well written, I could almost see them, which is very scary!
This is a dark, creepy, quirky and utterly compelling read that will make you turn on every light in the house and double lock the doors. Quite simply brilliant and I love it.
Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of The Beresford.
Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Will’s latest title published by Orenda Books, Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize, while Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year and for the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell. Good Samaritans was a book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the eBook charts.
When single mother Maríanna disappears from her home, leaving an apologetic note on the kitchen table, it is assumed that she’s taken her own life – until her body is found on the Grábrók lava fields seven months later, clearly the victim of murder. Her neglected fifteen-year-old daughter Hekla has been placed in foster care, but is her perfect new life hiding something sinister?
Fifteen years earlier, a desperate new mother lies in a maternity ward, unable to look at her own child, the start of an odd and broken relationship that leads to tragedy.
Police officer Elma and her colleagues take on the case, which becomes increasingly complex, as the list of suspects grows ever longer and new light is shed on Maríanna’s past – and the childhood of a girl who never was like the others…
Fresh, richly atmospheric, and with quietly compelling and sophisticated writing reminiscent of Ruth Rendell, Girls Who Lie was an Icelandic #1 bestseller. It further establishes Eva Björg Ægisdóttir as one of the most exciting young crime writers in Iceland.
Set in Iceland, Girls Who Lie is the second in the Forbidden Iceland series with police officer Elma.
This thriller is told from two perspectives, Elma and an in-named woman.
A missing woman’s body has been found in a cave, first thoughts are this is a tragic suicide, but now suspicions are this may have been murder, so Elma begins the investigation.
Meanwhile, the other part of this tale is the unnamed woman as we hear of her depression and her struggles with her child…..how are these two stories linked?………slowly it starts to become clear!
This is an atmospheric, dark and chilling thriller that’s full of a simmering tension from the start. Great characters and a beautifully twisty plot, this will keep you guessing. Nordic Noir at its finest. Brilliant and I loved it.
Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Girls Who Lie.
Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva Björg Ægisdóttir studied for an MSc in Globalisation in Norway before returning to Iceland and deciding to write a novel – something she had wanted to do since she won a short-story competition at the age of fifteen. After nine months combining her writing with work as a stewardess and caring for her children, Eva finished The Creak on the Stairs. It was published in 2018, and became a bestseller in Iceland. It also went on to win the Blackbird Award, a prize set up by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Ragnar Jónasson to encourage new Icelandic crime writers. It was published in English by Orenda Books in 2020. Eva lives in Reykjavík with her husband and three children and is currently working on the third book in the Forbidden Iceland series. Follow her on @evaaegisdottir
Sarah always thought of herself and her husband, Tom, as good people. But that was before their son Freddy came home saying he’d done something terrible. Begging them not to tell the police.
Soon Sarah and Tom must find out just how far they are willing to push themselves, and their marriage, to protect their only child . . .
As the lies build up and Sarah is presented with the perfect opportunity to get Freddy off the hook, she is faced with a terrifying decision . . .
Save her son . . . or save herself?
Tom and Sarah are an unlikely couple, chalk and cheese everyone says. Even their ideas about parenting and discipline are different.
Then one night their son comes home, disheveled and distraught, he tells them he’s killed someone.
Tom wants to call the police, Sarah want to protect him…..but how far will she go?
The story then jumps to the past, how Tom and Sarah met, their struggles to have a baby and their joy when Freddie is born…..it also gives glimpses into a court case where Freddie is on trial.
The Lies We Tell is a family drama with a simmering tension as more and more information is slowly revealed. Fantastically well developed characters and beautiful descriptions of Cornwall, this is a cautionary tale about family, a marriage, lies and their consequences. A compelling, slow burn of a psychological thriller. Brilliant.
Thank you to Rob of Adventures with Words for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an ARC of The Lies We Tell.
With the startling twists of Gone Girl and the haunting emotional power of Room, Mirrorland is a thrilling work of psychological suspense about twin sisters, the man they both love, and the dark childhood they can’t leave behind.
Cat lives in Los Angeles, far away from 36 Westeryk Road, the imposing gothic house in Edinburgh where she and her estranged twin sister, El, grew up. As girls, they invented Mirrorland, a dark, imaginary place under the pantry stairs full of pirates, witches, and clowns. These days Cat rarely thinks about their childhood home, or the fact that El now lives there with her husband Ross.
But when El mysteriously disappears after going out on her sailboat, Cat is forced to return to 36 Westeryk Road, which has scarcely changed in twenty years. The grand old house is still full of shadowy corners, and at every turn Cat finds herself stumbling on long-held secrets and terrifying ghosts from the past. Because someone—El?—has left Cat clues in almost every room: a treasure hunt that leads right back to Mirrorland, where she knows the truth lies crouched and waiting…
A twisty, dark, and brilliantly crafted thriller about love and betrayal, redemption and revenge, Mirrorland is a propulsive, page-turning debut about the power of imagination and the price of freedom.
Mirrorland is a unique thriller with a twist.
Cat and her twin sister, El had an imaginary world when they were growing up, Mirrorland. Here there was fear, clowns, witches and more….
As they got older they become estranged, Cat lives in the US but El still lives in Edinburgh in their childhood home with her husband. But then El disappears.
Cat returns to Edinburgh and the hunt for El begins. The police are involved but Cat begins to get strange messages……a treasure hunt, but will she like what she finds?
This thriller is told from two timelines, the past, with the children’s make believe world and the present. It’s dark and full it a subtle tension that keeps you wondering just what is going on…….but then it all comes together in the incredible final chapters. Well written with great characters, even if they weren’t particularly likeable and thoroughly engrossing.
Originally posted on 28 April 2021for a Random Things Tours blog tour.
Anne’s life is rushing to an unexpected and untimely end. But her diagnosis of terminal cancer isn’t just a shock for her – and for her daughter Sigrid and granddaughter Mia – it shines a spotlight onto their fractured and uncomfortable relationships.
A spur-of-the moment trip to France acts as a catalyst for the
three generations of women to reveal harboured secrets, long-held frustrations and suppressed desires – and to learn humbling and heartwarming lessons about how life should be lived when death is so close.
With all of Helga Flatland’s trademark insight, sharp yet warm wit and deep empathy, One Last Time examines the great dramas that can be found in ordinary lives, asks the questions that matter to us all – and ultimately celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. An enchantingly beautiful novel that urges us to treasure what we have and rethink how we live our lives, from one of Norway’s most distinguished literary novelists.
One Last Time is the story of the members of a broken family and how they grow closer when one of them gets a terminal cancer diagnosis .
Anne has cancer and she is trying to come to terms with what this means. Her relationship with her daughter, Sigrid is fraught to say the least.
Sigrid’s own relationships with her daughter, Mia, and her partner all have their own issues too.
This ordinary family has ordinary problems, which could have been resolved by just honest talking, but as in any family there are always things left unsaid.
Helga Flatland has brought this family to life with her fantastic writing, the emotions just jump off the page. The way Anna’s thoughts about her cancer prognosis are so real (having stage four cancer, I’ve had some of these thoughts myself), the fear and worrying about everyone else is always there. This is incredible writing that’s so full of empathy , it’s beautiful, incredibly sad yet uplifting, there will be tears and laughter to the end. I loved it.
Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of One Last Time.
Helga Flatland is already one of Norway’s most awarded and widely read authors. Born in Telemark, Norway, in 1984, she made her literary debut in 2010 with the novel Stay If You Can, Leave If You Must, for which she was awarded the Tarjei Vesaas’ First Book Prize. She has written four novels and a children’s book and has won several other literary awards.
Her fifth novel, A Modern Family (her first English translation), was published to wide acclaim in Norway in August 2017, and was a number-one bestseller. The rights have subsequently been sold across Europe and the novel has sold more than 100,000 copies. One Last Time was published in Norway in 2020, where it topped the bestseller lists, and was shortlisted for the Norwegian Booksellers Awar
Dr Harrison Lane is everything you wouldn’t expect from a man with a psychology doctorate. For victims, he’s everything they need.
As Head of the Metropolitan Police’s Ritualistic Behavioural Crime Unit, Dr Harrison Lane knows his Voodoo from his Aum Shinrikyo and a Satanist from a Shaman.
Harrison had an unusual childhood, raised by a bohemian mother and one of the native American Shadow Wolves – the elite tracking squad that works with US Drug enforcers. After his mother’s murder, he dedicated his life to finding those who hide behind spiritualism and religion to do evil.
Following the discovery of a missing boy’s body in what looks like a Satanic killing, Harrison is called in to help detectives. When a second boy is snatched, it becomes a race against time to save him, and sees Harrison come face-to-face with some dark secrets from his own childhood.
Preacher Boy is the first book in a gripping new crime mystery series from Amazon Top 20 bestselling author, Gwyn GB.
This is the first the book of a new crime thriller.
Dr. Harrison Lane is part of the Met’s Police Ritualistic Behavioural Crimes Unit. He is investigating a seemingly ritualistic murder of a young boy. Using his unique skills he’s helping DCI Barker in her investigation, all the while Harrison is dealing with memories of his own past and the death of his mother.
Then another young boy disappears and this becomes a race against time to stop a serial killer before anyone else dies…….
This really is a gripping read, from the bizarre killings, the fantastic characters and a dark, twisted plot keeping you hooked from start to finish. A fantastic start to a new crime thriller series and is a must read for any fan of the tv show, Criminal Minds.
Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Preacher Boy.
Gwyn is an Amazon Top 20 bestselling author. She’s a former UK national TV newscaster and presenter, and journalist for national newspapers and magazines. Gwyn became a journalist because all she wanted to do was write and has finally realised her dream of being a full-time fiction author. Born in the UK, Gwyn now lives in the Channel Islands with her family, including a rescue dog and 17-year-old goldfish.
Gwyn launched her debut novel, Islands as Gwyn Garfield-Bennett in 2016, the romantic suspense book rose quickly into the Amazon top 20. Her first crime mystery series, featuring DI Falle, launched with Lonely Hearts in 2017.
T. J. Newman, a former bookseller turned flight attendant, worked for Virgin America and Alaska Airlines from 2011 to 2021. She wrote much of Falling on cross-country red-eye flights while her passengers were asleep. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Falling is her first novel.
Violette Toussaint is the caretaker at a cemetery in a small town in Bourgogne. Her daily life is lived to the rhythms of the hilarious and touching confidences of random visitors and her colleagues—three gravediggers, three groundskeepers, and a priest.
Violette’s routine is disrupted one day by the arrival of police chief Julien Seul, wishing to deposit his mother’s ashes on the gravesite of a complete stranger. Julien is not the only one to guard a painful secret: his mother’s story of clandestine love breaks through Violette’s carefully constructed defences to reveal the tragic loss of her daughter, and her steely determination to find out who is responsible.
An unforgettable story of love and loss told through the life of a woman who believes obstinately in happiness. Touching on the deepest aspects of human life, Fresh Water for Flowers brings out the exceptional and the poetic in the ordinary and reminds us of the life affirming value of kindness.
Fresh Water For Flowers is a tale of loss and grief, but also love and friendship.
Violette has been the caretaker of a cemetery for twenty years. She’s very quiet but she has friends in the shape of the gravediggers and she talks to the grieving mourners.
Violette is such a lovely character, so empathetic as dealing with her own grief she knows how others feel.
There are lots of memories and stories of those buried in the cemetery and a little mystery too. This is so beautifully written (and translated) with a gentle, almost poetic insight into grief and how we deal with it and memories of the past. A charming melancholic read.
Thank you to Gaby at Midas PR for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and ARC of Fresh Water For Flowers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Valérie Perrin is a photographer and screenwriter who works with (and is married to) Claude Lelouch. Her first novel, Les Oubliés du Dimanche, has won numerous prizes, including the 2016 Lire Élire and Poulet-Malassis prizes. Fresh Water for Flowers is her first novel to be translated into English and an international sensation.
Hildegarde Serle graduated in French from Oxford University. After working as a newspaper subeditor in London for many years, she obtained the Chartered Institute of Linguists Diploma in Translation. She is the translator of A Winter’s Promise and The Missing of Clairdelune, atmospheric, absorbing tale.
Sebastian James Murphy is twenty years, six months and two days old. He loves swimming, fried eggs and Billy Ocean.
Sebastian is autistic. And lonely. Veronica wants her son Sebastian to be happy, and she wants the world to accept him for who he is. She is also thinking about paying a professional to give him what he desperately wants.
Violetta is a high-class escort, who steps out into the night thinking only of money. Of her nursing degree. Paying for her dad’s care. Getting through the dark.
When these three lives collide, and intertwine in unexpected ways, everything changes.
Sebastian Murphy is a young man of twenty, he is also autistic.
He lives with his condition but there are times he wishes he could be cured. His mum, Veronica is fiercely protective of her son and as she rightly says, not all disabilities are visible (something I am personally very aware of).
Then there is Violeta, a student nurse, short of money and caring for her dad too, so to make the money she needs, she is also an escort.
These three lives are entwined with lonely Seb, Veronica who just wants him to be happy and experience the same things any young man wants, namely sex and Violeta who she is thinking of paying to give him that.
This is quite simply, astounding story telling, beautifully written and so full of emotion it’s heartbreaking and yet heartwarming too. With incredible, loveable characters it deals with coping with autism from both sides in a sympathetic and honest way. My favourite read of this year and will stay with me for a long time.
Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of This is How We Are Human.
Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her 2019 novel Call Me Star Girl won Best magazine Book of the Year, and was followed by I Am Dust.
When journalist Harry Lawson is pulled from a private swimming pool, his drowning looks like a tragic accident, but for one small detail – he knew someone was going to kill him.
The three text messages he fired off to an old flame the night before confirm he’s a troubled man. But former friend and sleuth, Kent Fisher, believes the messages hint at something deeper and more sinister – an investigation that cost Harry his life.
When a second reporter dies, it’s clear there’s a killer with unfinished business. As Kent inches towards a breakthrough he clashes with close friend Detective Inspector Ashley Goodman. She instructs him to stop investigating, knowing full well he won’t.
For Kent there’s no going back. He has to finish what he started, even though he risks losing a friend, and maybe his own life.
In the seventh murder mystery of the series, Kent Fisher digs deep to complete an investigation that’s far removed from the one he started.
#7 in the Kent Fisher Mysteries series, it can be read as a stand-alone but you will be missing out on a fantastic series.
Here, when Kent’s friend, the journalist Harry, is found dead he begins the investigation. He finds that Harry seemed to have known someone would kill him…
Kent begins to wonder who he can trust and when another journalist is killed DI Goodman tells him to leave the investigation to the police….but obviously he can’t. Will he catch the killer before anyone else dies?
Kent has an animal sanctuary and a will they won’t they, on and off relationship with Gemma. All the while he is trying to find out who killed his friend and why.
This is a marvellously twisty tale that will keep you guessing right to the end…full of tension, fantastic characters and a clever plot makes this another must read from Robert Crouch.
Mum-to-be Rachel did everything right, but it all went wrong. Her son, Luke, was stillborn and she finds herself on maternity leave without a baby, trying to make sense of her loss.
When a misguided well-wisher tells her that ‘everything happens for a reason’, she becomes obsessed with finding that reason, driven by grief and convinced that she is somehow to blame. She remembers that on the day she discovered her pregnancy, she’d stopped a man from jumping in front of a train, and she’s now certain that saving his life cost her the life of her son.
Desperate to find him, she enlists an unlikely ally in Lola, an Underground worker, and Lola’s seven-year-old daughter, and eventually tracks him down, with completely unexpected results…
Both a heart-wrenching portrait of grief and a gloriously uplifting and disarmingly funny story of a young woman’s determination, Everything Happens for a Reason is a bittersweet, life-affirming and, quite simply, unforgettable read.
Everything Happens for a Reason is the tale of grief and trying to make sense of tragedy.
Rachel was pregnant when she stopped a man from jumping in front of a train…but then tragedy strikes and her baby is stillborn. Utterly heartbroken, Rachel tris to fins a reason why? She wonders if saving the man at the train station is linked to the loss of her baby.
So, she decides to find him.
This is a heartbreaking read as Rachel struggles to believe everything happens for a reason all the while dealing with her grief. There are a few moments of humour with Lola and her daughter mixed with the tears in this heartbreaking and yet heartwarming and uplifting tale. A wonderful mix of tears and laughter.
Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Everything Happens For A Reason.
ABOUT KATIE ALLEN
Everything Happens for a Reason is Katie’s first novel. She used to be a journalist and columnist at the Guardian and Observer, and started her career as a Reuters correspondent in Berlin and London. The events in Everything Happens for a Reason are fiction, but the premise is loosely autobiographical. Katie’s son, Finn, was stillborn in 2010, and her character’s experience of grief and being on maternity leave without a baby is based on her own. And yes, someone did say to her ‘Everything happens for a reason’.
Katie grew up in Warwickshire and now lives in South London with her husband, children, dog, cat and stick insects. When she’s not writing or walking children and dogs, Katie loves baking, playing the piano, reading news and wishing she had written other people’s brilliant novels.
After accepting a generous opportunity to start afresh, Leslie Wills, a young man from Stoke-on-Trent, eagerly begins his long-distance journey to the Scottish Highlands of Elphin, a settled village that sits huddled amongst the dominating mountains. Its people are welcoming, and the beauty of the land is great. But deep within its Highland paths, a location rests hidden from the public’s eye. A location which entices you to learn the truth of its troubled past. But once you bear witness to its sights and sounds, its presences will never allow you to forget.
Uncover the truth, Journeying back to a forgotten time. With a plot full of secrets and suspicion that will leave you longing for answers.
I love a good ghost story and Echoes of Home really fit the bill.
Here, Leslie Wills mum has died and he feels a little lost, what’s is going to happen now?.
His brother offers him a home, Elphin Cottage in the highlands, so obviously he goes.
The cottage is in a remote area, in a stunningly beautiful landscape, alone except for one other cottage. But these cottages have a dark past and is Leslie about to be one a part of it?
Beautifully written and atmospheric, you can feel the chill breeze and the creaks of an old cottage….a classic ghost story that will make a perfect Halloween read.
Thank you to Zooloos Book Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Echoes of Home.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born and bred in the county of Staffordshire. Matt is a keen reader of classical, horror and fantasy literature and enjoys writing in the style of traditional ghost stories. During his working life, Matt joined the ambulance service in 2009, transporting critically ill patients all over the UK. After writing his first novel, Matt was welcomed into the family of Question Mark Press publishing and now dedicates his time on future releases. His hobbies include genealogy and hiking, and he enjoys spending time with his wife, Emma, his children, and his family.
In the dying days of the old asylums, three paths intersect.
Henry was only a boy when he waved goodbye to his glamorous grown-up sister; approaching sixty, his life is still on hold as he awaits her return.
As a high-society hostess renowned for her recitals, Matty’s burden weighs heavily upon her, but she bears it with fortitude and grace.
Janice, a young social worker, wants to set the world to rights, but she needs to tackle challenges closer to home.
A brother and sister separated by decades of deceit. Will truth prevail over bigotry, or will the buried secret keep family apart?
In this, her third novel, Anne Goodwin has drawn on the language and landscapes of her native Cumbria and on the culture of long-stay psychiatric hospitals where she began her clinical psychology career.
Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home is mainly set in a psychiatric hospital for long stay patients. Matilda has been here for decades, sent here as a young woman but now a young idealist social worker has arrived and she’s working to get people back to ‘normal’ lives outside.
This is a beautifully written tale of a world many of us have no idea exists, of a community within the community. I fell in love with Matty and her friends, the odd and peculiar who really just want to get on with life.
It’s also horrifying how people could be hospitalised for so many years just because people are scared of those with mental health problems. Out of sight out of mind seems to be the answer for many.
It is clear, from her writing, the author has strong feelings on this issue and this makes for an emotional and thought provoking read.
Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Matilda Windsor is Coming Home
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anne Goodwin grew up in the non-touristy part of Cumbria, where this novel is set. When she went to university ninety miles away, no-one could understand her accent. After nine years of studying, her first post on qualifying as a clinical psychologist was in a long-stay psychiatric hospital in the process of closing.
Her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, about a woman who has kept her past identity a secret for thirty years, was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Her second novel, Underneath, about a man who keeps a woman captive in his cellar, was published in 2017. Her short story collection, Becoming Someone, on the theme of identity, was published in November 2018. Subscribers to her newsletter can download a free e-book of prize-winning short stories.
In May 2021, IWM will publish two more novels in their Wartime Classics Series which was launched in September 2019 to great acclaim, bringing the total number of novels in the series to ten. Each has been brought back into print to enable a new generation of readers to hear stories of those who experienced conflict first hand.
First published in 1942, Sword of Bone is a lightly fictionalised memoir based on Anthony Rhodes’ own experiences during the Second World War – firstly during the so-called ‘Phoney War’ from 1939 – 40, followed by the terror of the evacuation of Dunkirk. Shortly after war was declared, he was sent to France serving with the British Army where his days were filled with billeting, friendships and administration – the minutiae of Army life. Apart from a visit to the Maginot Line, the conflict seems a distant prospect. It is only in the Spring of 1940 that the true situation becomes clear – the Belgian, British armies and some French divisions are ‘now crowded into a small pocket in the North of France’. The men are ordered to retreat to the coast and the beaches of Dunkirk where they face a desperate and frightening wait for evacuation.
The ‘miracle’ of Dunkirk was a brilliantly improvised naval operation that extracted more than 338,000 men from the Dunkirk beaches and brought them safely back to England. Some 850 vessels, including channel steamers and fishing boats, took part in this, Operation ‘Dynamo’. The final pages of the novel outline Rhodes’ experiences of the chaos of the evacuation where the scenes are depicted in vivid and terrifying detail.
IWM Senior Curator, Alan Jeffreys, has written an introduction to each book that provides context and the wider historical background. He says, ‘researching the Wartime Classics has been one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve worked on in my years at IWM. It’s been very exciting rediscovering these fantastic novels and helping to bring them to the wider readership they so deserve’.
Sword of Bone is the story of the uneasy calm before the storm of WW2 and Dunkirk. The soldiers in France are living the high life at first believing this war would be like WW1, a battle fought in the trenches.
However, things changed rapidly and they were trapped near the sea, with nowhere to go. The largest rescue mission is then put underway with just about anything that floated being sent to pick these despairing men up.
This is a slow burn of a read with all events building up to the historic rescue at Dunkirk. There is some dark humour and will appeal to anyone with a love of war fiction.
Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an ARC of Sword of Bone.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anthony Rhodes (1916 – 2004) served with the British Army in France during the so-called ‘Phoney War’ and was evacuated from Dunkirk in May 1940. In the latter part of the war he was sent to Canada as a camouflage officer and was invalided out of the Army in 1947 having served for 12 years. After the conflict he enjoyed a long academic and literary career and wrote on various subjects, including the 1956 Hungarian Revolution for the Daily Telegraph and well-regarded histories of the Vatican.
It’s truffle season and in the hills around Bologna the hunt is on for the legendary Boscuri White, the golden nugget of Italian gastronomy. But when an American truffle ‘supertaster’ goes missing, English detective Daniel Leicester discovers not all truffles are created equal. Did the missing supertaster bite off more than he could chew?
As he goes on the hunt for Ryan Lee, Daniel discovers the secrets behind ‘Food City’, from the immigrant kitchen staff to the full scale of a multi-million Euro business. After a key witness is found dead at the foot of one of Bologna’s famous towers, the stakes could not be higher. Daniel teams up with a glamorous TV reporter, but the deeper he goes into the disappearance of the supertaster the darker things become. Murder is once again on the menu, but this time Daniel himself stands accused. And the only way he can clear his name is by finding Ryan Lee…
Discover Bologna through the eyes of English detective Daniel Leicester as he walks the shadowy porticoes in search of the truth and, perhaps, even gets a little nearer to solving the mystery of Italy itself.
The Hunting Season is a mystery tale set in Bologna.
Private Investigator,Daniel Leicester, is trying to find a missing man, Ryan Lee
His parents reported him missing when he didn’t pick them up at the airport as they’d arranged,
This tale has a lot of beautifully written and descriptive detail about Italy, it’s customs and food and at times the missing man mystery seems forgotten.
With lots of characters the story gradually unfolds and the mystery is solved. A slow burn, well written mystery tale that clearly shows the author’s love of Bologna.
Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an ARC of The Hunting Season.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tom Benjamin grew up in London and began his working life as a reporter before becoming a spokesman for Scotland Yard. He went on to work in international aid and public health, developing Britain’s first national programme against alcohol abuse and heading up drugs awareness campaign FRANK. He now lives in Bologna, Italy.
Find Tom on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at tombenjaminsays or at tombenjamin.com