Saturday, June 22, 2019

Blog Tour: A Cornish Summer by Catherine Alliott

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Today I'm delighted to bring you a post as part of the Blog Tour for Catherine Alliott's new novel, A Cornish Summer

Flora's been in love with her husband for twenty years. The trouble is, he's been married to someone else for the past fifteen.

Now she's been invited to spend the summer in the shady lanes and sandy coves of Cornwall. It should be blissful.

There's just one small snag: she'll be staying with her former mother-in-law, Belinda.

And Flora discovers she's not the only one invited when her ex-husband shows up out of the blue, complete with his new wife. So now there are two small snags. 

Can Flora spend the summer playing happy families wth the woman who stole her husband's heart, and the mother-in-law who might have had a hand in it? 

Or will stumbling on the family secret change her mind about them all?

I went into this book expecting a character-focused book and wasn't disappointed. It's a slow burner - the first half is more about establishing who's who and what went on in the past to get them to where they are at the moment. I can't say I took to Flora immediately - I much preferred her friend Celia and I really loved Babs from the first time she appeared on the page. 

There are a few different storylines happening simultaneously - a serious one about business, a secret, and Flora's own journey. Out of all of these, I liked seeing Flora's personal journey the most. I felt like "the secret" was a little predictable and I'm really not a fan of that particular thing being used as a plot device - I feel like it's overused in TV dramas, movies and books. I do have to say that here, it was done more respectfully than I've seen it done before - the addition of Christina was really good and I liked her character a lot. 

While I felt like there were a lot of characters to keep track of, I had my favourites and didn't feel overwhelmed. I enjoyed the writing and thought that the story ended well. If you're looking for a character-driven beach or plane read, this is your one!

Thank you to Sriya at Penguin Random House for sending me an early copy, if you'd like to get this for yourself you can request it at your local library or purchase via the links below:

You can also check out the other stops on the Blog Tour below:

Monday, June 3, 2019

Blog Tour: The House on the Edge of the Cliff by Carol Drinkwater

Not paid or sponsored.
Links to buy are affiliates.


Today I'm bringing you something a little different - one of my reading goals this year was to say yes to books I normally wouldn't read. I'm incredibly lucky to have the chance to read books before they're published, and as I hadn't read anything by Carol Drinkwater before, I accepted this one.

Grace first came to France a lifetime ago. Young and full of dreams of adventure, she met two very different men.

She fell under the spell of one. The other fell under hers.

Until one summer night shattered everything . . .

Now, Grace is living an idyllic life with her husband, sheltered from the world in a magnificent Provençal villa, perched atop a windswept cliff.

Every day she looks out over the sea - the only witness to that fateful night years ago.

Until a stranger arrives at the house. A stranger who knows everything, and won't leave until he gets what he wants.

The story begins with Grace, a married woman in her sixties, living in France. She is waiting for her husband Peter to undergo heart surgery, and is understandably worried. When a mysterious stranger shows up and threatens to unravel everything Grace has built for herself, she is determined to protect her family. 

This story goes back and forth between the present day and 1968. I really, really loved the 1968 chapters - they were set in Paris, when Grace was sixteen years old and looking for a new life after leaving a difficult family life in England behind. She arrives just as the Paris Riots are brewing - the student protests against the Vietnam War kicked off the largest social movement of 20th Century France. 

The level of detail was astounding, I really felt like this was a historical account of what happened. Down to the description of the Vogue cover - this is entirely accurate, the April 1968 cover of Paris Vogue is exactly as the author describes it (as you can see here). 
For this reason, I think I was less concerned about what was happening to Grace in the present. I longed to get back to the past chapters, I just found her story so interesting and engaging. 

I wasn't a huge fan of the whole "mysterious stranger" element, but I understood the need to tie the past and present together. For me, the true beauty of this book lies in the chapters set between 1968 and the present day - they evoke the most stunning atmosphere, I felt like I was in Paris with Grace and I was accompanying her on her journey towards fulfilling her goals. I didn't connect with present-day Grace at all, but it was good to see how she got where she is today. 

I'm very glad I took a chance on this one, even though I felt it was a little long at times - I still read it in one day and was prompted to research the Paris Riots more - this is such an important time in history and this book would be a great starting point for anyone wondering what it was all about. 

Give this one a go if you're looking for something related to France, or if you're looking for an engaging holiday read this Summer!

Thank you, as always, to Sriya at Michael Joseph Books for allowing me to read an advance copy. 

The House on the Edge of the Cliff  is available now on:

You can catch up with the other stops on the blog tour below: