*BLOG TOUR* Sunshine and Secrets by Daisy James

Sunshine & Secrets

So today is day that Sunshine and Secrets stops by at Chapter and Cake on its Blog Tour!

Title: Sunshine & Secrets

Author Name: Daisy James

Previous Books (if applicable): N/A

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Release Date: 19th March 2018

Publisher: Canelo 

When newly heartbroken, michelin-starred chef Millie Harper is offered a job overseeing the setup of The Paradise Cookery School she jumps at the opportunity. Leaving London and her memories of heartbreak behind she hops on a plane to the hilltop cocoa plantation in St Lucia.

But this beautiful island break might be more work than she’d expected….  With only two weeks to have the kitchen installed, cocoa pods going missing from the plantation and the notoriously relaxed island workmen to contend with, she’s going to need some help. Gruff but charming estate manager Zach Baxter, is only too happy to offer his opinions. As the two clash heads can they remain focussed on the job in hand and get the cookery school finished in time?

I do love a good location in a novel, and that is exactly what enticed me to want to read this book.  St Lucia is the most luscious of back drops for this story, and it provides exactly the kind of escapism that both Millie Harper and the reader need.  Set on a hilltop cocoa plantation, you can imagine the greenery, the warmth and you can almost smell that amazing aroma that you only find on a Caribbean island following the afternoon rainfall.  Daisy James captures all of this perfectly, and it really does add to the story.

Now to the story itself. Millie Harper is heartbroken, and despite being a Michelin-starred chef, she finds herself working in a little patisserie in London as she tries to forget her heartache.  When the opportunity arises to oversee the set up of The Paradise Cookery School, a new cookery school being set up by the celebrity cookery book writer Claudia Croft, Millie jumps at the chance to leave behind her those painful memories, if only for a couple of weeks.

The two weeks that follow involve sun, rain, some very relaxed workmen, a lot of cooking and the mystery of cocoa pods disappearing from the plantation. Millie finds herself working far harder than she expected whilst trying to ensure that The Paradise Cookery School is in a position to be the roaring success she knows it can be. Plus, what would a novel set in such a beautiful location be if there wasn’t a hint of romance thrown in for good measure?  With both Zach, the estate manager of the plantation and the handsome Marc capturing Millies attention, could there be romance on the cards for her?

I really enjoyed Sunshine and Secrets.  There was beautiful scenery, a great main character that was definitely relatable and just enough intrigue and mystery to make you want to keep reading.  It is the perfect story to read whilst laying on a warm beach, or cuddled up under a blanket whilst its snowing outside, imagining the warm St Lucian sun on your face.  I highly recommend this novel if you’re looking for a little escapism as it will draw you in and get you dreaming of balmy days in St Lucia.  I will definitely be reading the next instalment in this series, Confetti and Confusion, as soon as I can get a copy!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you to Daisy James, Canelo and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.  Thank you also to Canelo for providing me with the opportunity to be part of this Blog Tour!

Author Bio: 

Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her summerhouse, she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.


Author Social Media Links

Twitter: @daisyjamesbooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/daisyjamesbooks/

Book Review: Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict


My latest book review is of Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict.

From the author of The Other Einstein comes the mesmerizing story of love, power, and the woman who inspired an American dynasty. 

In the industrial 1860s at the dawn of the Carnegie empire, Irish immigrant Clara Kelly finds herself in desperate circumstances.  Looking for a way out, she seeks employment as a lady’s maid in the home of the prominent businessman Andrew Carnegie.  Soon, the bond between Clara and her employer deepens into love. But when Clara goes missing, Carnegie’s search for her unearths secrets and revelations that lay the foundation for his lasting legacy.

With capturing insight and sunning heart, Carnegie’s Maid tells the story of one lost woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie’s transformation from ruthless industrialist into the world’s first true philanthropist. (Thanks Netgalley)

Firstly I must confess to not having read The Other Einstein – however when I saw the synopsis for this novel I knew that I had to read it.  It’s been a little while since I’ve indulged in my love of historical fiction, and I was excited to get stuck into Carnegie’s Maid.  My usual historical fiction preferences often centre around the 1930’s and 1940’s, so I was looking forward to branching out – I was not disappointed.

I know very little about American history, or important figures in American history – my passion is for British history and the monarchy.  It was therefore nice to read about a time in American history that I know very little about.  For this reason I am unable to comment on any of the factual historical events that are referred to within the novel.  I know that Andrew Carnegie existed, so I like the idea that Marie Benedict used a real person in American history, and made his story her own by creating a reason for him becoming the philanthropist he is eventually known to be.

Clara Kelly may be a fictional character, but her plight to save her family in the wake of the Irish Potato Famine is very real.  With the death of more than one million people, the famine was devastating to so many Irish families, and Clara’s emigration to America was a very viable option.  Weaving a fictional story amongst so much fact cannot be easy, however I really felt that Marie Benedict achieved this seamlessly: Fact and fiction become one, with the lines between the two barely visible.  Clara’s predicament really resonates with the reader as she is left with secrets to hide, a love that she truly wants to blossom and a family that she desperately wants to save.

The journey that both Clara and Andrew embark on is a beautiful one, and the setting they do it within only highlights the difficulties of these journeys all the more.  I wanted them both to succeed, and I wanted them to do it together.  This is such a lovely novel, and it has encouraged me to find out more about this industrial period in America’s history, as well as to learn more about the issues faced by the Irish in such a bleak period of their history.  I highly recommend this novel, and I will be reading The Other Einstein in the not too distant future.

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖 📗

Thank you to Netgalley, Marie Benedict and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark for a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.