*BLOG TOUR* Jeannie’s War by Carol MacLean

It is my pleasure to bring you my review of Jeannie’s War by Carol MacLean on day 2 of her fabulous blog tour!

War changed her country, but it couldn’t change her spirit

Glasgow, 1939

Despite being shy and reserved, Jeannie Dougal finds herself newly engaged to handsome soldier, Arthur Dunn, the day war is announced. Jeannie accepts, even if she is unsure if a girl from the tenements will fit in with Arthur’s comfortable, middle-class background. But as WW2 takes its toll on the world, her wedding must wait…

As she sets off to work at a munitions factory she meets Eileen, Janet and Annie. As her new friends bond together in war work, sharing their stories of romance, Jeannie is grateful to be settled with Arthur, even if he is set in his ways.

Until she meets charming Canadian soldier, Bill, and realises she has found a spark she was always missing. But how can Jeannie tell Arthur? And is she strong enough to fight her own battle, with the country already at war…?

An emotional and romantic family saga set in WW2 Scotland and the start of a captivating new series. Fans of Call the Midwife and Katie Flynn won’t be able to put this down.

Jeannie’s War focusses on Jeannie Dougal, a young shy woman living in Glasgow as war is declared in 1939. If you’ve followed my blog for a while you will know that this novel is right up my street – historical fiction that follows women in war is always a winner for me!

Against the advice of her handsome soldier fiancee Arthur, Jeannie goes to work at the munitions factory where she makes new friends in Eileen, Janet and Annie. The four women couldn’t be more different yet they find themselves forging a strong friendship as the war starts to pick up and Glasgow really starts to feel its effects.

This novel follows Jeannie as she navigates her relationship with Arthur who has a very set idea of what their marriage will be like. Watching Jeannie’s character develop from one of a meek, almost trodden down women into a more independent, strong woman who battles for what she wants from life as the bombs start to fall around her is rather inspiring. As the days where a woman was expected to be a good wife, keeping their husband happy become numbered, Jeannie and her friends find themselves with a newfound freedom and many more options available to them.

It was interesting to read a WWII novel set outside of London, as it really highlighted the important war work that took place all over Great Britain as the Allies fought for control. So many of these novels are set in London which I love, but it was nice to branch out geographically. The descriptions of Glasgow are vivid, and Carol MacLean really does set the scene beautifully. This novel is filled with love and friendship, but also heartache as the war is truly brought to life.

I loved this novel, and am more than happy to recommend it to you all. Jeannie’s War is book 1 in The Kiltie Street Girls series, so I can’t wait for the next one to learn a little more about this Glaswegian community during such a difficult time.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you to Carol MacLean 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 in exchange for my honest review.

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Author Bio

Carol MacLean lives in the Glasgow area. She began by writing pocket novels, having 18 published before deciding to write an historical saga. She enjoys weaving social history into fiction and imagining how life must have been for ordinary people living through different times.

When she’s not writing, Carol can be found visiting museums or walking around the city looking for traces of old Glasgow to inspire her next novel.

Carol is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
She has written 18 pocket novels published by DC Thomson and Linford Romance Series (Ulverscroft). 

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BOOK REVIEW: Walking on Sunshine by Giovanna Fletcher

Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of Walking on Sunshine by Giovanna Fletcher.

In the darkness, we all need a little light . . .

________

After Mike loses Pia, his partner of seventeen years, their best friends Vicky and Zaza try to help pick up the pieces.

But though Pia’s gone, she left a plan. A list of loving instructions to help Mike and her friends come to terms with their loss.

And they’re each going to need it . . .

Just-engaged Zaza fears committing any further.

Exhausted mother and wife Vicky has lost sight of herself.

While Mike just feels all the colour has gone from his life.

When the list sends them trekking to Peru, where high mountains and sweltering rainforests push them to the brink, all they have to guide them is their faith in Pia and in themselves.

But will they learn that anything is possible when you’re walking on sunshine?

I’ve always enjoyed Giovanna Fletchers novels, so I was very excited to get my hands on her latest offering, Walking on Sunshine.

Mike, Pia, Zaza and Vicky have been the best of friends forever. When they lose Pia, the remaining three are united in their grief whilst struggling to maintain their lives individually. Mike is drowning; Pia was the light of his life and without her, he just cannot see a way forward. Zaza has recently got engaged, but she still finds herself struggling to commit, even though she knows she should. And Vicky is a wife and mother, both of which are roles that she loves but she just cannot seem to find herself.

The one thing I will say is that I felt that Walking on Sunshine is quite different to Giovanna’s other novels. When the theme of a novel centres around grief, it’s quite difficult to keep the story light. What Giovanna achieves is a story about a difficult subject, whilst bringing a lightness to the friendships that this novel centres on. That is what this story is really about – friendship. Walking on Sunshine definitely wasn’t what I was expecting it to be, but I loved it all the same. Mike, Zaza and Vicky are all truly there for each other, united by their love of Pia, their long standing friendship grows more as they grieve together. By opening up to each other on their Peruvian trek they are able to open themselves up when they return home to their loved ones.

This is such a great novel, and I am very happy to recommend it to you all. It’s a moving novel full of love and friendship, so go and grab yourself a copy and let me know what you think!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you to Penguin and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this novel.

*BLOG TOUR* Living Your Best Life by Maxine Morrey

Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of Living Your Best Life by Maxine Morrey as part of her fabulous blog tour!

Some days Bee feels invisible. Most days Bee does not feel as if she is ‘living her best life’.

Sure she has a loyal group of friends, a job she’s good at, and a small London flat to call home, but a lot of the time, Bee feels as if no one actually ‘sees’ her.  

Her best friend, the unfeasibly handsome and successful Luca Donato does not have that problem. People are practically falling over themselves whenever they see Luca, but one thing the two friends do have in common, is they haven’t yet found the ‘One’.  When their friend Tia challenges them to change all that through online dating, Luca and Bee set about the task with very different levels of enthusiasm.

The saying goes that you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince, and it’s not long before Bee is ready to admit defeat. But with Luca inundated with potential love interests, Bee is determined not to give up. Surely her perfect partner is out there somewhere… 

‘Read yourself happy’ with Maxine Morrey’s latest heart-warming, feelgood, page-turning romance, guaranteed to make you smile. Perfect for fans of Lauren Weisberger and Sophie Kinsella.

Bee is a girl we can all relate to. She regularly feels unseen, and far too often she just settles. An outsider looking in may think she has it all – a job she’s good at, her own London flat and a great group of friends. And yet, none of it seems quite ‘right’. Her best friend, Luca Donato, is incredibly handsome, wildly successful and a genuinely nice person. Yet, like Bee, he has yet to find ‘the One’. So, when they are both challenged to use online dating as a way to find their ‘person’ they agree. Bee however, is rather less enthusiastic about the situation! What follows is a series of events that may well force Bee to revisit how she sees herself, and how others see her.

I always jump at the chance to read a Maxine Morrey novel, and it was no different when I found out about Living Your Best Life. In fact i’m not sure she can write a bad novel! Bee is a great character, and one I could definitely relate to. So many of us women second guess ourselves, or doubt our abilities, so Bee really could be one of us. Obviously Luca sweetens the novel beautifully, he’s handsome and kind – he’s really rather perfect! All good romance novels require a perfect man for us to visualise (and fantasize about!), and Maxine has definitely achieved that with Luca!

Living Your Best Life is a real ‘feel-good’ novel. I loved the characters and their relationships. It was great to follow Bee, and watch her really achieve her potential, not just in her personal life but in her professional life too. It was also wonderful to follow a male character who really champions women and lifts them up – they are out there and it’s nice to see them out and about in the world of fiction! I am more than happy to recommend this novel to you all. If you love Maxine Morrey, and you love a good romance novel this could be the book for you!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Thank you to Maxine Morrey, Boldwood Books 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 in exchange for my honest review.

Purchase Link

Amazon UK

Author Bio

Maxine Morrey is a bestselling romantic comedy author with eight books to her name including Winter’s Fairytale and the top ten hit The Christmas Project. She lives in West Sussex. Her first novel for Boldwood, #No Filter, was published in November 2019.

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*BLOG TOUR* The Mother’s Day Victory by Rosie Henry

Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of The Mother’s Day Victory by Rosie Hendry.

Can the Women on the Home Front protect their community in times of war?

Norfolk, 1940. As war rages on, sisters Prue and Thea, along with the wider community of Great Plumstead, are doing all they can to help the war effort, from running the mobile canteen for the Women’s Voluntary Service to organising clothing drives and collecting salvage.

When, Anna, a young German girl who fled her country, seeks refuge in the village, Thea opens up her home, Rookery House, and invites Anna into their growing family. But while many in the village welcome Anna with open arms, others are suspicious of the new arrival . . .

As the war intensifies and panic sweeps the country, Anna is taken by the government who fear she’s a spy. The women of Great Plumstead are already fighting their own battles on the Home Front, but will they come together in Anna’s time of need to keep the newest member of their community safe from war?

The Mother’s Day Victory is the perfect wartime family saga and the second novel in Rosie Hendry’s much-loved series, filled with heart-warming friendships, nostalgic community spirit and a courageous make-do-and-mend attitude. Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Donna Douglas and Elaine Everest.

The Mother’s Day Victory is the second in Rosie Hendry’s Women on the Home Front series. The Mother’s Day Victory follows sisters Prue and Thea in their small community in Norfolk, as they do what they can to support the war effort. When Anna, a young German Jewish woman who has fled Nazi rule settles with Thea, tensions rise as some people begin to be suspicious about her intentions. Anna’s story is a heartbreaking one, but it was one that we need to read about. So many of the historical novels I read are from the British perspective, it was nice to read one from the perspective of the persecuted. Despite finding herself safe from Nazi rule, she still finds herself facing prejudice in the place she thought she would be free – despite being Jewish, her German roots continue to bind her to the atrocities in Europe.

Rosie Henry really brought a new perspective to WWII fiction for me, and I loved it. Obviously I loved the camaraderie and ‘can do’ attitude of the women in Great Plumstead – it’s always wonderful to read about communities coming together to support those protecting their country. But learning a little more about Anna, and those like her who managed to escape the Nazi regime was fascinating. I will go back and read The Mother’s Day Club so that I can learn more about the women in Great Plumstead, but in the meantime I am more than happy to recommend this novel to you. It is full of strong, capable women who fight for what is right – very fitting for International Women’s Day! I shall definitely be reading more of Rosie Hendry’s work!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you to Rosie Hendry 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 in exchange for my honest review.

Purchase Link

Amazon UK

Author Bio

Rosie Hendry lives by the sea in North Norfolk with her husband and children. She writes uplifting, heart-warming historical fiction based on true events from our social history. Listening to her father’s tales of life during the Second World War sparked her interest in this period and she loves researching further, seeking out gems of real-life stories which inspire her writing.

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*BLOG TOUR* Mrs Morphett’s Macaroons by Patsy Trench

Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of Mrs Morphett’s Macaroons by Patsy Trench on day one of her fabulous blog tour!

London, 1905. A show. A stuttering romance. Two squabbling actresses.

Is it Shakespeare? Is it Vaudeville?

Not quite. It is Mrs Morphett’s Macaroons, a satirical play about suffragettes which its creators – friends and would-be lovers Robbie Robinson and Violet Graham – are preparing to mount in London’s West End.

It is the play rival actresses Merry and Gaye would kill to be in, if only they hadn’t insulted the producer all those years ago.

For Robbie and Violet however the road to West End glory is not smooth. There are backers to be appeased, actors to be tamed and a theatre to be found; and in the midst of it all a budding romance that risks being undermined by professional differences.

Never mix business with pleasure? 

Maybe, maybe not. 

Robbie Robinson is finally bringing his play, Mrs Morphett’s Macaroons to the West End, and he knows just who should produce it; Violet Graham. Despite her lack of experience, and probably because of his feelings for her, he know she is the woman to bring his play to fruition in Edwardian London. With actresses vying for the role, despite their insulting behaviour to Violet in a past life, this is a play with plenty going on back stage!

It is clear that Patsy Trench has previously worked in theatre, and she brings that knowledge so eloquently to this novel. From the casting, to the financing, to the finalising of scripts, she really seems to know about all aspects of producing a play and it really comes across within the novel. Its not all technical though, the characters are well-rounded and believable. You can imagine the upset felt by rival actresses Merry and Gaye when they discover that Violet, a woman they were once so insulting to when she was but a junior member of staff, is now in charge of a play that they both both so desperately want to lead!

This is a novel full of great characters, set in the bitchy world of theatre in Edwardian London with a budding romance thrown in for good measure – it is light and fun; a very enjoyable read that I am happy to recommend!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you to Patsy Trench and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this fabulous blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

Purchase Link

Amazon UK

Author Bio

Patsy Trench has spent her life working in the theatre. She was an actress for twenty years in theatre and television in the UK and Australia. She has written scripts for stage and (TV) screen and co-founded The Children’s Musical Theatre of London, creating original musicals with primary school children. She is the author of three non fiction books about colonial Australia based on her own family history and four novels about women breaking the mould in times past. Mrs Morphett’s Macaroons is book four in her ‘Modern Women: Entertaining Edwardians’ series and is set in the world she knows and loves best. When she is not writing books she teaches theatre part-time and organises theatre trips for overseas students. 

She lives in London. She has two children and so far one grandson. 

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*BLOG TOUR* Heaven & Hell for the Tobacco Girls by Lizzie Lane

It is my pleasure to bring you my review of Heaven & Hell for the Tobacco Girls by Lizzie Lane as part of her fabulous blog tour!

Bridget Milligan has donned a uniform and joined the nursing services where she becomes intrigued with the miracles of modern medicine. She’s also torn between family loyalty, her new career and Lyndon O’Neill, the love of her life. Is it too impossible to hope that everything will come out right in the end?

Phyllis Harvey is still serving in Malta where she sees the casualties of war first hand. Finally it seems like Phyllis is blessed with true in love, but fate can sometimes be a rocky road and nothing is that certain.

Maisie Miles is left holding the home front at the tobacco factory but with the sudden death of her grandmother finds herself once more alone in the world. However, thanks to a substantial inheritance, she is able to extend a helping hand to a friend in desperate need.

There are tears and laughter, goodbyes and new arrivals along with the hope that new beginnings are not far over the horizon.

As you are aware if you follow my little blog, I am a big fan of World War II historical fiction, so I jumped at the chance to read this! I have been aware of the Tobacco Girls series for a while now, but haven’t had the time to get stuck in, so this seemed like too good an opportunity to be missed! Heaven & Hell for the Tobacco Girls follows a number of girls who originate from the Tobacco factory in Bristol.

Bridget is leaving the tobacco factory in order to train as a nursing auxiliary, as she is keen to make a real difference to those fighting in the war. But she needs to work out if she can have a career, love and family.

Phyllis has already left the tobacco factory for foreign shores. Based in Malta, she has seen the real impact of the war. Having found love, she has dreams for the future but the unpredictable nature of the war means that nothing is certain.

Maisie remains at the tobacco factory, but feels lonely as her friends leave her behind. When her Grandmother passes away and leaves her an unexpected inheritance she hopes to really help those around her.

This is a novel all about women keeping the home front running for those away fighting. It is about a group of women who want to make their mark and help with the war effort, whilst also realising how much of the world is opening up to them – they have choices, they can look for love on their own terms and they can find fulfilling work. Careers are opening up to them like never before and they are finally starting to be able to make their own decisions on how they want their lives to be.

I read Heaven & Hell for the Tobacco Girls as a standalone novel, but if I’m honest I wish I had read the others in the series first. Whilst the characters all had back stories that were mentioned, I would have preferred to have known about their stories in more detail. That’s just me though, this novel gives you more than enough information to be able to thoroughly enjoy it without having read the previous novels in the series! It was also nice to read a wartime novel not based in London. London suffered the brunt of the bombing during the Blitz, but it is often easy to forget that the whole of the country was doing everything it could for the war effort, so it was nice to read a novel set in Bristol!

I am more than happy to recommend this novel to you all. It is a great example of war fiction, but it’s also a lovely novel about women, friendship and love.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you to Lizzie Lane, Boldwood Books 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 in exchange for my honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Author Bio

Lizzie Lane is the author of over 50 books, a number of which have been bestsellers. She was born and bred in Bristol where many of her family worked in the cigarette and cigar factories. This has inspired her saga series for Boldwood The Tobacco Girls.

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