Review: The House in Quill Court by Charlotte Betts

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I received this book for free from the publisher/Netgalley  in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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The House in Quill Court by Charlotte Betts Series: Standalone Published by: Piatkus on 25th August 2016 Genres: Fiction; Historical Fiction; Romance Pages: 416 Format: Paperback / E-arc Source: Publisher / Netgalley Rating: ****

About: 1813. Venetia Lovell lives by the sea in Kent with her pretty, frivolous mother and idle younger brother. Venetia’s father, Theo, is an interior decorator to the rich and frequently travels away from home, leaving his sensible and artistic daughter to look after the family. Venetia designs paper hangings and she and her father often daydream about having an imaginary shop where they would display the highest quality furniture, fabrics and art to his clients.

When a handsome but antagonistic stranger, Jack Chamberlaine, arrives at the Lovell’s cottage just before Christmas bringing terrible news, Venetia’s world is turned upside-down and the family have no option but to move to London, to the House in Quill Court and begin a new life. Here, Venetia’s courage and creativity are tested to breaking point, and she discovers a love far greater than she could have ever imagined . . .

From the multi-award-winning author of The Apothecary’s Daughter, The House in Quill Court is a gorgeously evocative Regency novel bursting with historical flavour and characters you won’t forget. If you love Philippa Gregory and Joanne Harris, you will adore Charlotte Betts.

Review: I loved that the story was split between Kitty and Venetia. Both from very different backgrounds but both determined and strong to prove that they are capable and unwilling to give in.

Life isn’t easy, and everyone has their ups and downs. But The House in Quill Court shows that through resourcefulness and support you can succeed.

I did prefer Kitty’s story and wish that we had got a bit more about her. While she had a story line, for me she felt like a secondary character and only had a small role to play in the story.

Historical London felt very real to me. And it felt quite frightening to think how there was no real police force at the time. I really liked the slang that was used in Kitty’s story. It set the story and helped with the historical approach.

This was a compelling, addictive and beautifully written book that had me hooked. So hooked in fact that I actually read it in one sitting.  And there are some shocking, unexpected moments in this book. There are also some predicable ones. But everything is what makes this book so great. It keeps you on your toes and give you the required satisfaction.

This is a book for the historical romance fans with a twist of drama.

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Review: The Butterfly Summer by Harriet Evans

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I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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The Butterfly Summer by Harriet Evans Series: Standalone Published by: Headline Review on 19th May 2016 Genres: Fiction; Historical Fiction; Romance; Mystery Pages: 448 Format: Arc Source: Publisher Rating: ****

About: The Butterfly Summer is packed with unexpected plot twists that will make you gasp out loud and move you to tears – you’ll be desperate to add it to your shelf alongside the best of Santa Montefiore, Jojo Moyes and Kate Morton.

What magic is this?

You follow the hidden creek towards a long-forgotten house.

They call it Keepsake, a place full of wonder … and danger. Locked inside the crumbling elegance of its walls lies the story of the Butterfly Summer, a story you’ve been waiting all your life to hear.

This house is Nina Parr’s birthright. It holds the truth about her family – and a chance to put everything right at last.

Harriet Evans. She brings you home.

Two things happen when you are a Parr girl: when you are ten, you are told about your future role.

The second thing that a Parr girl at some point must learn is harder to tell of.

It is a dark work indeed, the business of this house, hidden from the world.

Review: I actually read this book last November, so I have been slapped myself a little bit over the fact that I didn’t post my review sooner.

This is gorgeous book. And so many family secrets and hidden mystery, it is full of intrigue as you try to figure out how the two story’s are linked and the significance of The Butterfly Summer.

The book is split into two storylines. The first focuses on the present, on Nina, the other focuses on a mysterious Parr woman, Teddy who slowly reveals the secrets of the Keepsake and what it means to be part of the Parr family.

For me it was the ending of this book that stood out. I’ve never really felt as excited, happy and a little relieved. The ending felt like coming home.

I’m also quite excited to reread this book. Something that I never really say. Because having read this book once, the second reading will have such a different meaning. Not just nostalgia.

Haunting and poignant this is book will lead you on a trail to find out the Parr family secret.

Feature: Pastime Pleasures #32 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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Pastime Pleasures is a book that I have read and loved over the last few years. Five to be precise.

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When I first read this book I wasn’t a huge fan. Harry Potter was so much better than this! But over the years as my love for all things Harry Potter have grown so have my feeling for this little book. Because after this book the Harry Potter books double in size. 

Also can I mention Crookshanks?! He is like a secret ninja secret spy agent cat. He knows what is happening and doesn’t get the credit he deserves.

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While it this Harry Potter was never my favourite in terms of magic and adventure. It is still a great book and essential to the series. Basically our wizarding world is expanded. We get to know about an all magical wizard village, sweets with really cool names and a big history lesson.

And then there is the time-turner. It would literally give me all the time in the world to go back and read for a few hours more so that my reading pile would be a lot smaller. Maybe…

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“You think the dead we loved truly ever leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly in times of great trouble?”

Review: The Missing Wife by Sheila O’Flanagan

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I received this book for free from the publisher / Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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The Missing Wife by Sheila O’Flanagan Series: Standalone Published by: Headline Press on 16th June 2016 Genres: Chick-lit; Contemporary; Fiction Pages: 480 Format: Hardback / E-Arc Rating: ****

About: Have you ever wanted to disappear?

When Imogen Naughton vanishes, everyone who knows her is shocked. She has a perfect marriage. Her handsome husband treats her like a princess. She’s always said how lucky she is. So why has she left? And how will she survive without Vince?

What goes on behind closed doors is often a surprise, and Imogen surprises herself by taking the leap she knows she must. But as she begins her journey to find the woman she once was, Imogen’s past is right behind her…

Will it catch up with her? And will she be ready to face it if it does?

Review: A heart-warming, smile on your face type of book.

Like always I enjoyed this new Shelia O’Flanagan book. I like that the story it was told in alternative chapters between Imogen and Vince. We get to see Imogen grow the more she is away from Vince. And we get to understand Vince’s behaviour that goes beyond being OCD.

I became obsessed with this book and had to stay up late to finish it. It is addictive, compelling and brilliantly told. I felt like I stood next to Imogen exploring France, making friends and going on a wild goose chase.

For me the ending was a bit lacking. I felt that there are a little bit more of the story to tell. And it ending too suddenly for me. Maybe I was too involved in the story and just wanted to know absolutely everything!

Despite some unanswered questions this was a fantastic story. And one that I couldn’t get enough of!

Review: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan

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I received this book for free from the Publishers in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan Series: Standalone Published by: Hodder & Stoughton on 30th June 2016 Genres: Contemporary; Fiction; Historical Fiction Pages:  Format: ARC Source: Publisher Rating: ****

About: 1939, and Will and Alice are evacuated to a granite farm in north Cornwall, perched on a windswept cliff. There they meet the farmer’s daughter, Maggie, and against fields of shimmering barley and a sky that stretches forever, enjoy a childhood largely protected from the ravages of war.

But in the sweltering summer of 1943 something happens that will have tragic consequences. A small lie escalates. Over 70 years on Alice is determined to atone for her behaviour – but has she left it too late?

2014, and Maggie’s granddaughter Lucy flees to the childhood home she couldn’t wait to leave thirteen years earlier, marriage over; career apparently ended thanks to one terrible mistake. Can she rebuild herself and the family farm? And can she help her grandmother, plagued by a secret, to find some lasting peace?

This is a novel about identity and belonging; guilt, regret and atonement; the unrealistic expectations placed on children and the pain of coming of age. It’s about small lies and dark secrets. But above all it’s about a beautiful, desolate, complex place.

Review: Having adored The Art of Baking Blind I eagerly read this book. And it was fantastic, so much better than the first.

For me I felt that this was a very different book to The Art of Baking BlindFor starters it is a lot more serious in tone.  The light, fluffy tone is gone and instead there is a sense of brooding darkness as past regrets and mistakes catch up to the present.

This is a story that will pull you in and let you taste the Cornish countryside as you delve into the past and over the edge as you try to find the present.

Captivating and compelling it is hard to decide with story-line is best. Is it the tale of a young evacuee from London trying to make the most of a new life, or will a older women trying to repair a mistake win?

Love, lost and holding on to the past play an important roll in this story. This is perfect read for the end of summer when we all reminisce about our childhood summers.

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