Book Review: Letters to Eloise by Emily Williams

Todays review is of Letters to Eloise by Emily Williams.

When post-graduate student Flora falls unexpectedly pregnant during her final year studies she hits a huge predicament; continue a recent affair with her handsome but mysterious lecturer who dazzles her with love letters taken from the ancient tale of ‘Abelard and Heloise’, or chase after the past with her estranged first love?
But will either man be there to support her during the turmoil ahead? (Thanks Amazon)

As you may have noticed, I do not regularly give 5 star reviews.  This is not because I don’t love the books that I read, I just have a habit of comparing all books (even when it is not necessarily right to do so) which means that very few get that coveted 5 stars.  I am going to go big (spoiler alert) and let you know at the beginning of this review that this novel will be getting 5 stars.  That’s right – 5 stars.

So I am ashamed to say that I have had this novel sat in my ‘to be read’ pile for far too long.  Having now read it, I am so annoyed that it took me so long to pick it up!  You know how it is – sometimes it’s a reading deadline for another novel, sometimes the kids won’t let you sit down, sometimes you just pick up another book.  Well quite frankly I am irritated that it took me so long to pick up this book, because once I did, I could not put it down.

Firstly, I feel that I must acknowledge that this was Emily Williams’ debut novel. Debut! If this is what she produces for her first published work, then honestly I will be devouring anything and everything she writes in the future!

I don’t really want to tell you very much about this novel if I’m completely honest because I’m rather hoping that you will pick it up and read it yourself.  However, as the title implies, this novel is a series of letters to Eloise.  It is not about Eloise though.  It is about Flora, a young woman who is at the most pivotal moment in her life.  This is a story almost entirely about love.  Sometimes the love of a man, but ultimately it is a novel about a mothers unwavering love for her child.  Emily William’s captures a mothers love perfectly; the love that sprouts from nothing the moment you realise you are growing another person inside you.  The moment you realise that you would do anything to keep them safe and give them the life they deserve. I unashamedly laughed and cried in public reading this book (my eleven year old sons will confirm this if required!) – I know you will too.  So, I insist that you go and get yourself a copy of this book, a glass of wine and big bar of chocolate, then settle in and read it from cover to cover.  You won’t regret it.

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you to Emily William’s for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: A Single Journey by Frankie McGowan

My latest review is of A Single Journey by Frankie McGowan.

Harriet has begun to despair of her life.

A failed relationship, a business in trouble and a flat that’s falling apart. Oh, and her only friend is an aging and eccentric Russian woman, Elena.

When Elena unexpectedly dies and leaves everything to Harriet, the young woman is thrown into a whole new dilemma as she finds herself in a bitter court case against Elena’s family for her inheritance.

Against the advice of her friends, family and lawyers, Harriet sets off on her own, very singular journey to Berlin.

She knows she has to fight for justice. But when she meets Neil, who is struggling with a complicated marriage, she must also decide if she’ll also fight for love.

A Single Journey is yet another book that I have had for a long time and not read.  It was therefore another book that surprised me! I literally had no idea what this book was about (yes, I know there is blurb for a reason, but the fact that I’ve read it once and added it to my TBR list must mean I wanted to read it at some point!).

This is a novel about Harriet, a young woman who has a number of issues in her life; bad choice in men, a business making very little money and a falling apart flat.  She feels responsible for her elderly (and very eccentric) Russian landlady, Elena, who seems to have no friends or family around her.  When Elena dies suddenly, Harriet discovers that actually, she knows very little about the women she has shared a building with.  Finding herself Elena’s sole heir, Harriet becomes embroiled in a legal battle with Elena’s long lost family.  With nothing left to lose, Harriet takes it upon herself to journey to Berlin, and find out everything she can about her elderly landlady who was seemingly all alone in the world until she was dead.  Harriet decides to take the single journey that Elena never seemed to be able to take in her lifetime.

This is a novel about love, loss, regret and justice.  When all seems lost, Harriet can do nothing but push forward, fighting for a woman she realises that she barely knew.  It’s about fighting for justice and what is right, no matter what the cost.  By learning everything she can about Elena, Harriet also learns more about herself; what she really wants from life, and what she is willing to risk to get it.

I love a novel set abroad, and this was no exception.  Frankie McGowan’s descriptions of Berlin were vivid.  It is a city that I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting, but the writing really brought it to life – both the dark and vibrant sides of the city.  I really felt I was there with Harriet, struggling in an unknown city unable to speak the language.

There is an underlying love story in this novel, but don’t read this novel if you are purely looking for romance.  I would say that the romance element of the story is a minor plot line – and rightly so.  I would not have wanted it to detract from learning about Elena and her intricate past.

This was an intriguing read – I loved learning more about Elena, the eccentric Russian lady; a woman who proudly held her head high and did not believe in settling for anything less than what you really want.  Her life was full of twists and turns, and I enjoyed following Harriet as she endeavoured to ensure that in death, Elena could finally  rest in peace.

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you to Alice Rees at Endeavour Press for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland

My latest review is a good one – Stephanie Butland’s Lost for Words.


Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never show you.

Into her refuge – the York book emporium where she works – come a poet, a lover, a friend, and three mysterious deliveries, each of which stirs unsettling memories.

Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past and she can’t hide any longer. She must decide who around her she can trust. Can she find the courage to right a heartbreaking wrong? And will she ever find the words to tell her own story?

It’s time to turn the pages of her past . . .

So Lost for Words is a novel that has been sat on my Kindle for some time now, I just never seemed to get round to reading it.  When I finally did pick it up, I had completely forgotten what it was about, except that it has a picture of a bookshop on the front cover and that can only ever be a good thing!  I also have a habit of not re-reading the blurb of a book, so when I have a book for a while it’s always a surprise when I finally read it!

Lost for Words was definitely a surprise! I expected a lighthearted, easy-read romance and that is not what I got at all – please note however that this was not a bad thing.

Loveday Cardew is not your typical novel heroine.  She is a complex character who has had a very difficult upbringing, something that continues to impact on her adult life.  She helps run a lovely secondhand bookstore in York, owned by her close and dear friend Archie, the closest man she has to a father figure in her life.  For a number of years she has existed quietly, sorting and selling secondhand books by day and spending time in her small flat by night.  She is not surrounded by friends and family, and those who do know her, know very little about her.  A series of events, including Nathan unexpectedly walking into her life, cause Loveday to question everything she knows, and to start to actually explore the events of her past.

Loveday, Archie and Nathan are all fascinating characters, and I really enjoyed getting to know them all.  They each have their own secrets, all of which were appropriate for the story.  I enjoyed learning about each of them, and I most definitely have a soft spot for Archie – what a character!

As already mentioned, this is not a romance novel – not in the typical sense anyway.  This is more a story of self-discovery; the story of a young woman finally learning to own her past rather than run from it.  It’s a story of love and friendship, and how our friendships often save us, even when we didn’t realise we needed saving.

So, despite not being the novel I was expecting, I am more than happy to recommend it to you all.  It was a beautiful story, full of love, loss, friendship and discovery.  I hope you all go and grab and copy!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square by Heidi Swain


My latest review is of Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square by Heidi Swain.

Kate is on the run from her almost-divorced husband who is determined to have her back, and she has found the perfect place to hide… a little cottage on Nightingale Square in Norwich, far away from her old life in London. But the residents of Nightingale Square don’t take no for an answer, and Kate soon finds herself pulled into a friendship with Lisa, her bossy but lovely new neighbour.

Within a matter of days Kate is landed with the job of campaigning the council to turn the green into a community garden, meanwhile all the residents of Nightingale Square are horrified to discover that the Victorian mansion house on the other side of the square has been bought by developers. But when all hope is lost, the arrival of a handsome stranger is sure to turn things around! (Thanks Netgalley)

I am no stranger to Heidi Swain’s novel’s, having read and reviewed The Cherry Tree Cafe and Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair, neither of which disappointed.  Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square is no exception.  I like that Heidi’s novels are all linked, with the characters over-lapping novels and the setting remaining the same – Wynbridge.  This novel is no different, except for the change in venue – Heidi now introduces us to Nightingale Square, a beautiful community, a hidden treasure in fact, within the city of Norwich.  Close enough to Wynbridge that we still get to see the characters we know and love, but far enough away that we get to learn about this new setting and those that live within it.

Kate is our newly single main character.  She is in desperate need of a fresh start, and rather than returning to her family in Wynbridge she chooses to buy a small cottage in need of TLC in Nightingale Square.  She wants to hide from the world, or more specifically her soon to be ex-husband, and this seems to be the perfect place to do that.

Rather than finding the peace and quiet she seeks, Kate instead finds herself in the midst of a tight knit community who are keen to involve her and get to know her.  She quickly finds herself with new friends who have no qualms about telling her that her views on love are wrong!  What follows is the story of a woman who thought she understood love, life and friends and instead finds that sometimes it’s good to be wrong!

I really enjoyed this novel.  It was easy to read with a good pace, a beautiful new setting and really lovely relationships; both friendships and romantic.  The characters are all well-rounded and likeable – I found some of Kate’s view on love a little annoying, but despite this I enjoyed learning more about her and her newfound community.  I very much hope that Heidi Swain lets us re-visit Nightingale Square soon!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster UK Fiction for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

*BLOG TOUR* The Mistress of Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble

It is my pleasure to be today’s stop on the blog tour for The Mistress of Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble.  Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation.

Elizabeth Pennington should be the rightful heir of Bath’s premier department store through her enterprising schemes and dogged hard work. Her father, Edward Pennington believes his daughter lacks the business acumen to run his empire and is resolute a man will succeed him.

Determined to break from her father’s iron-clad hold and prove she is worthy of inheriting the store, Elizabeth forms an unlikely alliance with ambitious and charismatic master glove-maker Joseph Carter.  United they forge forward to bring Pennington’s into a new decade, embracing women’s equality and progression whilst trying not to mix business and pleasure.

Can this dream team thwart Edward Pennington’s plans for the store?  Or will Edward prove himself an unshakeable force who will ultimately ruin both Elizabeth and Joseph?

As we all know, I am a fan of a historical novel so I jumped at the chance to be involved in this blog tour and get my hands on this lovely novel, and I was not disappointed!

The Mistress of Pennington’s is set in 1910, a slightly earlier time period than I usually read so it was nice to read something a little different.  It is set as the suffragette movement is gaining momentum with women try to cement their position in society as equal to men.  Elizabeth Pennington is the perfect heroine for this novel.  She is the only child of Edward Pennington, a wealthy widowed man who owns the large and prestigious department store in Bath.  Elizabeth has spent years attempting to prove herself within her fathers store, acutely aware that Edward Pennington is sorely disappointed that he doesn’t have a son to take over the store from him when the time comes.  Edward Pennington is struggling with the changes in society, believing women to be far inferior to men, and also believing that the wealthy upper classes are far superior to their working class counterparts.

Elizabeth seeks change along with many of her female peers, and as a result of her relationship with her father she is wary and mistrustful of men.  When she meets Joseph Carter, a glove-maker, she finds a heartbroken man with drive, ambition and the same ideals as her.  The difference in class between Joseph and Elizabeth is clear, with the descriptions of both of their lives being very clearly defined. Together they aim to change the ethos of Pennington’s, giving more equality to men and women, as well as allowing the working classes into a world previously only accessible to those in the upper classes.

Bath is a beautiful city setting for this novel, and Rachel Brimble really describes the opulence and almost majestic beauty of Pennington’s, along with how people such as Joseph Carter found it was an inspiring place to visit.

This is a beautifully written novel, and I am more than happy to recommend this to you all!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖