Book Review: Coming Home to Holly Close Farm by Julie Houston

I am so pleased to bring you my review of Coming Home to Holly Close Farm by Julie Houston.

Charlie Maddison loves being an architect in London, but when she finds out her boyfriend, Dominic, is actually married, she runs back to the beautiful countryside of Westenbury and her parents.  Charlie’s sister Daisy, a landscape gardener, is also back home in desperate need of company and some fun.

Their great-grandmother, Madge – now in her early nineties – reveals she has a house, Holly Close Farm, mysteriously abandoned over sixty years ago, and persuades the girls to project manage its renovation.

As work gets underway, the sisters start uncovering their family’s history, and the dark secrets that are hidden at the Farm.  A heart-breaking tale of wartime romance, jealousy and betrayal slowly emerges, but with a moral at its end: true love can withstand any obstacle, and, before long, Charlie dares to believe in love again too…

I was lucky enough to read A Village Affair by Julie Houston last year as part of the blog tour, so was very excited when she emailed me about her latest novel Coming Home to Holly Close Farm.  I am very pleased to say that I was not disappointed!

Charlie Maddison unexpectedly finds herself leaving London, boyfriendless, homeless and jobless.  Heartbroken, and desperately unhappy to be back in her small village she finds herself in the midst of family secrets that had remained hidden for sixty years.

I do not want to give away anything more about this story than I have to – whilst it is not technically a dual timeline novel, there is a second story that is told via memories.  As you will by now be well aware if you are a regular reader of mine, I love anything set during World War II, and so I was particularly pleased to discover these memories were set during this time period.

This novel had me hooked.  I really enjoyed A Village Affair, but I loved Coming Home to Holly Close Farm.  I wanted to read more, both about Charlie and Daisy, but also about Madge, James and Arthur.  This was a fabulous novel about heartbreak, love but most of all about family.  I cannot recommend this novel enough – grab a copy and let me know what you think!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖 📕

Thank you to Julie Houston and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this novel.  All opinions expressed are entirely my own.


*BLOG TOUR* A View to a Kilt by Wendy Holden


Today it is my pleasure to bring you A View to a Kilt by Wendy Holden as part of her blog tour.

Forget about Cool Britannia and Gallic Chic.  Scotland is having a fashion moment.

London’s most glamorous glossy magazine is in trouble.  Advertising revenues are non existent, and if editor Laura Lake can’t pick them up, she’s out of a job.

According to those in the know, Scotland is having a fashion moment.  Haggis tempura is on Michelin-starred menus, smart spas are offering porridge facials, and a chain of eco-hotels is offering celebrity bagpipe lessons.  So Laura’s off to a baronial estate in the Scottish Highlands to get a slice of this ultra-high-end market.

It’s supposed to be gorgeous, glitzy and glamorous.  But intrigue follows Laura like night follows day.  And at Glenravish Castle – a shooting lodge fit for a billionaire – Laura finds herself hunting for a scoop that won’t just save her job, it could save her life…

I must admit to having never read a Wendy Holden novel before, but I can now confirm that A View to a Kilt will definitely not be the last Wendy Holden novel that I read!

Laura Lake is the editor of the award winning magazine Society, a magazine famed for its exposes and hard hitting articles about topics that other glossy magazines won’t touch.  When Laura’s long-standing CEO Christopher retires, she finds herself managed by the wildly different Bev Sweet, a woman with big plans but no budget.  With advertising revenue at an all time low, she sets Laura the impossible task of bringing huge amounts of revenue for the next issue or find herself out of a job.

Finding herself set up to produce a Scottish issue Laura finds herself in Scotland, away from her boyfriend Harry at a crucial point in their relationship and at Glenravish Castle, guest to the eccentric Sandy McRavish.  What follows can only be described as entertaining and comical! This really is a laugh out loud novel – there were twists that I was not expecting at all, so for a light-hearted, entertaining read you are still kept on your toes!  I loved reading about Scotland, Holden’s descriptions are so vivid – they could definitely be used as a Scottish sales tool – it has certainly made me want to visit those rolling mountains and lochs.

Anyway, back to the book.  This really is a fab read, and I am more than happy to recommend it to you all.  It is perfect for a cosy Sunday afternoon read on a rainy day, or equally as perfect when sat on a beach with a cocktail in hand – read it anytime, anywhere.  I’m already considering my next Wendy Holden read…feel free to throw your suggestions at me!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you to Wendy Holden and Victoria Joss at Head of Zeus for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this book.  All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.

Author bio







Number-one bestselling author Wendy Holden was a journalist on Tatler, The Sunday Times, and the Mail on Sunday before becoming an author.  She has since written ten consecutive Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers.  She lives in Derbyshire.

Visit her website at

Follow Wendy:

Facebook: @WendyHoldenAuthor

Twitter: @Wendy_Holden

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Twitter: @Hoz_Books

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*BLOG TOUR* Maybe Baby by Carol Thomas

Maybe Baby_High Res

Today it is my turn on the blog tour for Maybe Baby by Carol Thomas.

Just when you thought you had it all worked out …

Best friends Lisa and Felicity think  – maybe, just maybe – they finally have everything sorted out in their lives.

Lisa is in a happy relationship with her old flame, and busy mum Felicity has managed to reignite the passion with her husband, Pete after a romantic getaway.

But when Lisa walks in on a half-naked woman in her boyfriend’s flat and Felicity is left reeling from a shocking discovery, it becomes clear that life is nothing but full of surprises …

I have never read anything by Carol Thomas before, so Maybe Baby seemed like a good place to start! I should point out that Maybe Baby is the second book in the Lisa Blake series (the first is The Purrfect Pet Sitter) but I didn’t feel like I was missing out having not read the first book in this series.  I am therefore happy to confirm that it can be read as a standalone novel.

Maybe Baby follows best friends Lisa and Felicity.  Lisa has returned home after ending a turbulent relationship, and finds herself rekindling a relationship with Nathan, a hunky fireman and her childhood sweetheart.

Felicity is happily married to Pete, and mother to their four beautiful children.  With the passion in her marriage reignited, and her friendship with Lisa at an all time high she feels that everything is finally falling into place.

When life throws both Felicity and Lisa a curveball, they find themselves drawn closer together as they support each other through the trials that they are pushed to overcome.

Maybe Baby is a story about love and loss but most importantly, it is about friendship and how important that can be.  It’s about realising your own potential and what you can achieve when you have the support of those that you love.

This is such a lovely, easy-read novel.  I am more than happy to recommend it – best read with a glass of wine in front of a roaring fire!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you to Carol Thomas and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this novel.  All opinions offered are my own.

Purchase Links:

UK –

US –

Author Bio

Maybe Baby Author Photo

Carol Thomas lives on the south coast of England with her husband, four children and lively young Labrador. She has been a playgroup supervisor and taught in primary schools for over fifteen years, before dedicating more of her time to writing. Carol is a regular volunteer at her local Cancer Research UK shop. She has a passion for reading, writing and people watching and can often be found loitering in local cafes working on her next book.

Carol writes contemporary romance novels, with relatable heroines whose stories are layered with emotion, sprinkled with laughter and topped with irresistible male leads.

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*BLOG TOUR* A Dangerous Act of Kindness by LP Fergusson

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for LP Fergusson’s A Dangerous Act of Kindness.

What would you risk for a complete stranger?

When widow Millie Sanger finds injured enemy pilot Lukas Schiller on her farm, the distant war is suddenly at her doorstep.  Compassionate Millie knows he’ll be killed if discovered, and makes the dangerous decision to offer him shelter from the storm.

On opposite sides of the inescapable conflict, the two strangers forge an unexpected and passionate bond.  But as the snow thaws, the relentless fury of World War Two forces them apart, leaving on the haunting memories of what they shared, and an understanding that their secret must never see light.

As Millie’s dangerous act of kindness sets them on paths they never could have expected, those closest to them become their greatest threats, and the consequences of compassions prove deadly.

As you know, I am a huge fan of historical fiction, particularly that which is set during World War II so I was very excited to be invited to read this debut novel by LP Fergusson and offer my review as part of the blog tour.

What sets this apart from other World War II historical fiction that I have read is the characters and the setting.  So much of what I read is about those living throughout the blitz in a war torn London.  In contrast this is set in the country, where the inhabitants are affected by the war due to rationing, and the inflow of women and children who are swarming out of the cities.  They are not however directly affected by the constant bombing, and therefore, at times, the war can feel to be far away.  The sense of this is really captured within the novel.  Of course the war is part of their every day lives, but not necessarily in the same way as those who found themselves night after night in air raid shelters, escaping the constant bombing.

The characters also set this novel apart.  Millie is a woman widowed, left fighting to keep her farm afloat in the absence of her husband.  She is struggling in a way that very few could understand due to the circumstances of her husbands death.  When a German plane comes down near Millie’s farm, the war becomes more real for the local villagers as they revel in the successes of Britains war effort in destroying the enemy.

When Millie finds Lukas, the injured German pilot, on her land she finds herself drawn to him despite the danger it puts them both in.  She protects him, as she finds herself becoming more and more emotionally involved as they both try to forget the circumstances they find themselves in.  I really enjoyed reading about Lukas – it was fascinating to read about the British war effort through German eyes, to find out more about the propaganda that the German forces were fed and how certain they were that they were mere days away from victory.  What he sees when he eventually leaves Millie and is captured is eye opening.

This is such a poignant tale of war, of love, of guilt and of betrayal at a time when all of these things were at the forefront of everyone’s minds. It really is a beautiful debut novel, and I hope to read more historical fiction from LP Fergusson.

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖 📕

Thank you to Ellie Pilcher at Canelo for providing me with a copy of this novel and inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Links to Book:

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

Author Bio

LP Fergusson grew up on the borders of Wales in a Tudor house on the banks of the River Wye.  As a child she longed to go back in history.  Now she does, through her writing.  She has an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University and won the Blackwell’s Prize for MA Creative Writing.  Her stories have made a number of shortlists for competitions run by the Orwell Society, Oxfordshire Libraries and Flash500.  Her psychological thriller reached the final three of a Quercus/Psychologies Thriller competition and her wartime novel A Dangerous Act of Kindness was Highly Commended in the Caledonia Novel Award 2018.  She edits the historical blog With Love from Graz which was featured on BBC Radio Wales, Radio 2 and BBC4’s A Very British Romance with Lucy Worsley.  She now lives in an Oxfordshire village beneath the chalk downs where her debut novel is set.

*BLOG TOUR* It’s My Birthday by Hannah Pearl

It's My Birthday Cover

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for It’s My Birthday by Hannah Pearl – thanks for joining me!

It’s My Birthday

… I’ll cry if I want to.

Oh boy, another birthday …

Karen could be excused for crying on her birthday, especially as it’s the first one since her husband got on a plane to the States and never came back. Then there’s the fact that her workmates were practically bribed to attend her birthday meal. But when a restaurant double booking leads to her sharing a table with single dad Elliot and his daughter, things start looking up.

As Karen gets to know Elliot she experiences feelings she thought she’d never have again. But is it enough? Or will the thing that destroyed Karen’s previous relationship also ruin things with Elliot?

I was really looking forward to reading this – the premise of this story felt realistic, covering real life topics.  Whilst reading fiction is definitely for escapism, it is sometimes nice to read about people dealing with real issues, and discovering how they work through them.  It gives you the opportunity to compare yourself with others in a safe environment!

Karen is struggling with turning 40.  Her husband has left her, getting on a plane to the States and not coming back.  She is not where she thought she would be at this point in her life; married with children, enjoying life with her own family.  Instead she has spent years in turmoil, going through emotional and physical changes that ultimately pushed her and her husband apart.  When her best friend Sally forces her out for her birthday (having bribed her work colleagues to attend), Karen is at rock bottom.  A chance meeting with single dad Elliot and his daughter Sophie, forces out of the dark hole she has dug herself, and makes her evaluate what is really important to her.

This story isn’t just about a blossoming relationship.  It is about learning from your past mistakes, being open to making new mistakes whilst also discovering what you really want from your life for your future.  It’s about working for what you really want from life, and creating the opportunities to achieve them.  This is a story about a strong woman who manages to rescue herself from the darkness she finds herself in, with a little help from her friends.  It’s about love, it’s about forgiveness and it’s about learning from your past to ensure your future is filled with the things you really want from life.

This novel deals with some emotive topics, but I am more than happy to recommend it to you all.  It’s a lovely novel that deals with some emotional issues.

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you to Hannah Pearl and Rachel at Rachels Random Resources for asking me to take part in this blog tour and providing me with a copy of this novel.

Purchase Links:

UK –

US –

Author Bio

Its My Birthday Author Photo

Hannah Pearl was born in East London. She is married with two children and now lives in Cambridge.

She has previously worked as a Criminology researcher, as a Development Worker with various charities and even pulled a few pints in her time.

In 2015 she was struck down by Labrynthitis, which left her feeling dizzy and virtually housebound. She has since been diagnosed with ME. Reading has allowed Hannah to escape from the reality of feeling ill. She read upwards of three hundred books during the first year of her illness. When her burgeoning eReader addiction grew to be too expensive, she decided to have a go at writing. In 2017 she won Simon and Schuster’s Books and the City #heatseeker short story competition, in partnership with Heat magazine, for her short story The Last Good Day.

Hannah is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association.

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