I’m really pleased to be a stop on today’s blog tour for ‘An Unusual Boy’.
Meet Jackson – a very unusual boy in a world that prefers ‘normal’…
Julia Curtis is a busy mother of three, with a husband often away for work, an ever-present mother-in-law, a career, and a house that needs doing up. Her fourteen-year-old daughter, Milla, has fallen in love for the first time, and her youngest, Ruby, is a nine-year-old fashionista who can out-negotiate anyone.
But Julia’s eleven-year-old son, Jackson, is different. Different to his sisters. Different to his classmates. In fact, Jackson is different from everyone. And bringing up a child who is different isn’t always easy.
Then, one Monday morning, Jackson follows his new friend Digby into the school toilets. What happens inside changes everything; not only for Jackson, but for every member of his family. Julia faces the fight of her life to save her unusual boy from a world set up for ‘normal’.
An extraordinary boy. The mother who loves him. The fight of their lives.
Bestselling novelist Fiona Higgins returns with a heart-stopping, devastating, but ultimately uplifting story about loyalty, love and forgiveness.
Author Bio –
Fiona Higgins is the Australian writer of several bestselling contemporary novels including The Mothers’ Group and Wife on the Run. Her work has been widely reviewed, translated internationally, and described as ‘page-turning domestic melodrama for the social media age’. She lives with her family in Sydney and her first book for Boldwood will be published in October 2020.
I found this book so captivating, it was difficult to put down! Told in dual perspective chapters, alternating between Jackson and his mum Julia, it offers a fascinating insight into the devastating effect a single incident can have on a family.
Jackson has been described as an ‘atypical’ boy who is neuro-diverse. This means he sometimes struggles to communicate clearly. It is this difficulty that has massive repercussions when he is accused of an incident at school and his answers implicate him more than he realises.
The relationships within the story are fascinating; from Jackson’s need to be loved by his often-absent father, to Julia’s growing reliance on soccer coach Steve, and the thawing of her relationship with mother-in-law Pamela.
It shows how empathy, compassion and understanding can have a profound affect on how we respond to others and how the opposite can be unimaginably destructive.
There were moments when I held my breath, such is the quality of the writing. A highly-recommended read!
Further stops on the tour can be found here:
With thanks to the author, @rararesources and Boldwood Books for the opportunity to take part.
I’m delighted to be a stop on today’s blog tour for ‘The House Mate’ by Nina Manning.
The perfect life? …Or the perfect lie?
When Regi moves into her new house share, she’s ready for a clean slate. A new home. A new routine. A new identity…
Desperate to escape the shadow of her past that follows her everywhere she goes, Regi finds the ideal distraction in the perfect lives of others on social media.
But as innocent scrolling turns into an unhealthy obsession, Regi will soon learn that seeking perfection comes at a price…
A gripping psychological suspense from the international bestselling author of The Daughter In Law. Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, K L Slater and Jackie Kabler.
Author Bio –
Nina Manning studied psychology and was a restaurant-owner and private chef (including to members of the royal family). She is the founder and co-host of Sniffing The Pages, a book review podcast. Her debut psychological thriller, The Daughter in Law, was a bestseller in the UK, US, Australia and Canada. She lives in Dorset.
This is a book that certainly gets you thinking from the outset! Full of suspense and intrigue, it follows the life of Regi, in her mid-thirties and sharing a house with a bunch of 20-year-olds, whilst trying to start a new life away from a traumatic past which has involved lots of therapy and OCD.
Set in ‘Now’ and ‘Then’ chapters, we are offered glimpses into how her past has affected her present and it is difficult not to feel empathy for her as she continues to struggle with her compulsions.
The interesting twist to the plot is Regi’s growing obsession with Instagrammer Mrs Clean and the anecdotal instagram posts and comments at the end of chapters link nicely to the storyline and tie in Regi’s behaviours in a way that is unexpected at the outset.
The story can be quite dark and disturbing at times as Regi’s past returns to haunt her on an almost daily basis, from voices she hears, to the man in the baseball cap who seems to be tracking her movements.
A heart-stirring read with plenty of tension!
With thanks to the author and Boldwood Books for the opportunity to participate in the tour.
I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for ‘The Other Woman’ by Amanda Brookfield.
‘No one gets to the heart of human relationships quite so perceptively as Brookfield.’ The Mirror
On a normal day, in a normal house, on a normal street, wife and mother Fran has had enough. She packs a case, leaves a note for her bullying husband Pete, and one for her beloved twenty-year-old son Harry, and heads to the airport – and freedom.
In another house, on another street, Helena is desperately baiting her husband Jack into a fight. These days it feels like the only way to get Jack to take notice of her. Passionate, volatile, increasingly fragile, Helena is fast running out of hope.
What Helena and Fran don’t know, is that soon their lives are going to come crashing together in ways neither expect nor understand. And if Fran and Helena are going to change their own futures, then first they will have to change each other’s.
Amanda Brookfield is back with a triumphant, crackling story about love, marriage, lies and fate, and how our destinies can be changed by the smallest decisions. Perfect for fans of Sheila O’Flanagan, Jane Fallon and Jane Green.
Author Bio –
Amanda Brookfield is the bestselling author of many novels including Good Girls, Relative Love and Before I Knew You, and a memoir, For the Love of a Dog starring her Golden Doodle Mabel. She lives in London.
This is an intriguing book about the nature of relationships and how we never really know what goes on in people’s lives behind closed doors.
When Fran is left alone at the airport by Jack, who was supposed to be meeting her to escape to a new life together, it is all she can do to try to keep the broken pieces of her life together when she returns home to her oblivious and violent husband Pete.
Jack’s wife Helena is initially portrayed as a manipulative, money-chaser who belittles her husband, which is supposedly what drove him to the affair, after meeting Fran at a local auction.
The first part of the book focuses on events from Fran’s point of view, while the second tells the same story from Helena’s perspective. Then the relationships collide in the final section.
This is more an exploration of the lives of the individual characters than a psychological thriller as such. As a reader, it is impossible not to feel some sympathy for Fran, a woman who has endured so much in life by staying in an unhappy marriage for the sake of her son, whose character is equally compelling.
This is a slow-burner but definitely worth a read!
With thanks to the author and Boldwood Books for the chance to participate in the tour.
I’m delighted to be a stop on today’s blog tour for ‘The Widow’s Vow’.
From grieving widow…
1851. After her merchant husband saved her from a life of prostitution, Louisa Hill was briefly happy as a housewife in Bristol. But then a constable arrives at her door. Her husband has been found hanged in a Bath hotel room, a note and a key to a property in Bath the only things she has left of him. And now the debt collectors will come calling.
To a new life as a madam.
Forced to leave everything she knows behind, Louisa finds more painful betrayals waiting for her in the house in Bath. Left with no means of income, Louisa knows she has nothing to turn to but her old way of life. But this time, she’ll do it on her own terms – by turning her home into a brothel for upper class gentleman. And she’s determined to spare the girls she saves from the street the horrors she endured in the past.
Enlisting the help of Jacob Jackson, a quiet but feared boxer, to watch over the house, Louisa is about to embark on a life she never envisaged. Can she find the courage to forge this new path?
A Widow’s Vow is the first in a gripping and gritty new Victorian saga series from Rachel Brimble. You won’t be able to put it down.
Author Bio –
Rachel lives with her husband and their two daughters in a small town near Bath, England. She is the author of over 20 published novels including the Pennington’s department store series (Aria Fiction) and the Templeton Cove Stories (Harlequin).
Her next project is a Victorian trilogy set in a Bath brothel which she recently signed with Aria Fiction. The series will feature three heroines determined to change their lives and those of other women. The first book. A Widow’s Vow is due for release in September and available for Amazon preorder now.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and has thousands of social media followers all over the world.
To sign up for her newsletter (a guaranteed giveaway every month!), click here:
This is the first novel I’ve read by this author, but it certainly won’t be the last!
Set in the early 19th century between the cities of Bath and Bristol, ‘A Widow’s Vow’ is an engrossing historical tale with strong characters that immediately draw the reader into their lives.
Louisa and Jacob are particularly compelling. Hardened to life by their own early experiences, they both nevertheless have an inner drive for survival and an instinct to help those in need. As fate draws them closer together, it seems they have more in common than even they anticipated.
A must- read for fans of historical fiction. I eagerly await the next novel in the series!
I’m so pleased to be a part of the promotion for this collection of Tudor Christmas stories!
Make Merry at Court
…with three Tudor Christmas stories!
In Christmas at Court Sir John Talbot and Lady Alice’s secret betrothal must wait until Henry Tudor claims the throne. Next in Secrets of the Queen’s Lady the lady-in-waiting to Anne of Cleves is unexpectedly reunited with a handsome—younger—diplomat at the palace’s festivities! And in His Mistletoe Lady Catherine seeks help from a mysterious Spaniard to free her father in time for Christmas!
A message from Blythe Clifford:
Thanks so much for having me!
We think of the Twelve Days of Christmas as a time of celebration, and it was, but the Advent period leading up to it was the opposite. During the 40 days before Christmas, penance and fasting were the norm. The day of Christmas Eve was also a fast day, so by the time Christmas Day arrived, people were ready to celebrate!
This excerpt from my novella takes place on Christmas Eve at the king’s court. Sir John of Stanson and Lady Alice of Oakshire are about to be officially betrothed and there are questions and secrets surrounding their union. Here, they have been tasked with decorating the hall of Westminster Palace with holly and ivy.
John looked back at Lady Alice, trying to assess her without being distracted by her full lips and the swell of her bosom. Her parents had trusted her to come alone. That must mean something.
Would she be a help and support to him? Or a danger? Was she a simple fool or as wise and devious as the former Queen and the mother of Henry Tudor?
And which would be better? If she were a fool, he could simply leave her to tend to domestic matters. But if she were shrewd? Well, the former Queen and Henry Tudor’s mother had taught him not to underestimate what a woman could accomplish behind the scenes. But he must be certain that her family’s interests and his would align.
And consider what to do if they did not.
For this marriage was about more than him and her. More, even, than Stanson and Oakshire. Nothing must put that at risk.
‘Ouch.’ A small cry and she popped her finger in her mouth.
He reached for his handkerchief. ‘Let me see.’
‘The holly… I was careless.’
He took her hand. The cut was no bigger than one a pin might make. A wound no warrior would notice. The bleeding barely spotted the cloth before it stopped.
But he did not release her hand. Close now, he inhaled the scent of her, some mix of flowers and spices. It scrambled his thoughts. As soon as tomorrow he might kiss her. Why not tonight? Why not now? He bent closer, let his lips hover…
She pulled away and he let go a breath, grateful for her strength. He was the naive one if he allowed lust to rule when the throne was at stake. Edward had done that and too many noblemen had never forgiven him for taking a common woman as Queen and favouring her family over those of noble birth. That simmering resentment had helped Richard rise.
A safe distance away from Lady Alice, he could speak again. ‘Is that better?’
She nodded. ‘It will not prevent my hands pressing together in prayer as the King demanded.’ This was said without a smile. ‘I shall withdraw to begin.’
She raised her brows.
He did not want her out of his sight. Nothing must go wrong before tomorrow when they were pledged.
‘The King may prefer prayer, but there are other ways to spend the final hours before midnight mass. Perhaps, a game of cards?’
‘On Christmas Eve?’ Her voice, shocked. But the edge of a smile teased her lips. ‘Cards are not allowed until tomorrow.’
She could be tempted, then. Good. This way, he could watch her, without raising her suspicions. ‘We but hasten the celebration by a few hours.’
‘And your parents? Will they not have plans?’
They were at court, but with their own responsibilities. Lady Alice was his. ‘They will expect me to keep you company, since yours are not.’
A hesitation. And then she nodded.
With heads bowed to hide their smiles, they left the hall and found a small room with a fire that could be rekindled. When he pulled out his cards, he was gratified to see her eyes widen. He was proud of them. Paper layered for stiffness and strength. Hand-painted with coloured ink and touches of silver and gold. Each a work of art.
She touched one, gently. ‘Who is your card maker?’
Ah, a woman familiar with cards. So he must confess. ‘They come from Burgundy.’
‘You defy the law?’
Importing cards was prohibited, the better to protect card makers in London. ‘They were a gift and I could not refuse.’ He played with them casually, as if they were of no consequence. ‘You will not order me seized for having them, I hope.’
Her laugh, deeper and richer than he had expected, was a comfort. ‘I will not. But now I understand why their import is forbidden. The Worshipful Company of Playing Card Makers can produce nothing so beautiful.’
Fortunate that she had not asked how he had got the cards. Even prohibited luxuries could be obtained for a price, if you knew men who were slipping secretly back and forth across the narrow sea. ‘We are lucky the priests are no longer burning cards as evil.’ Words spoken lightly as he shuffled.
Playing at cards was the least dangerous thing they were doing.
‘High card wins?’ he asked casually.
She nodded. ‘Three count.’
More experienced than he had thought. ‘What stakes? A kiss?’
She studied him for a moment, looking neither shocked nor insulted, but… ‘Let us wager something more valuable.’
Now he was the one startled. ‘Do you not value your virtue?’
‘Why wager something that you will be able to take freely tomorrow? I would prefer something else. Truth.’
He held back a shiver. No. Not naive at all. ‘Truth?’
A firm nod. ‘If we are to be betrothed, I should like to know more of you than your name.’
‘All right.’ Cautious. Maybe she was only curious to know how he liked his meat prepared.
She reached for her cards and pulled them to her. ‘Begin.’
One. Two. Counted out face down. The third, face up.
His was a two. Hers a three.
‘So,’ he said, with unease he had not expected, ‘what would you like to know?’
About Jenni Fletcher
Jenni Fletcher is from the north coast of Scotland and now lives in Yorkshire where she writes historical romance novels. She studied English at Cambridge University before doing a PhD on Edwardian literature & psychology at Hull. She has been nominated for 4 RoNA awards and won for Short Romantic Fiction in 2020. In her spare time she loves baking and, of course, reading.
After many years in public relations, advertising, and marketing, Blythe Gifford started writing seriously after a corporate layoff. Ten years and one layoff later, she became an overnight success when she sold to the Harlequin Historical line. Her books, set in the 14th to 17th centuries, typically incorporate real historical events and characters. The Chicago Tribune has called her work “the perfect balance between history and romance.” Blythe lives and works along Chicago’s lakefront.
Amanda wrote her first romance at the age of sixteen–a vast historical epic starring all her friends as the characters, written secretly during algebra class (and her parents wondered why math was not her strongest subject…)
She’s never since used algebra, but her books have been nominated for many awards, including the RITA Award, the Romantic Times BOOKReviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers Choice Award, and the Holt Medallion. She lives in Santa Fe with a Poodle, a cat, a wonderful husband, and a very and far too many books and royal memorabilia collections.
When not writing or reading, she loves taking dance classes, collecting cheesy travel souvenirs, and watching the Food Network–even though she doesn’t cook.
I’m delighted to be one of today’s stops on the blog tour for this romantic comedy re-release by Shari Low.
The book that started it all! A classic retro rom-com from #1 bestselling author Shari Low.
Carly Cooper is 30, single, and after coming close to saying ‘I Do’ to six different men, she’s wondering if she accidentally said ‘goodbye’ to Mr Right.
But there is a problem.
Her ex-boyfriends are scattered all over the world and Carly lives in 1999; an era before Facebook, Google, smartphones, 4G and Broadband, when it was impossible to track people down with a few clicks of a mouse.
On a mission to discover if she walked away from her ‘happy ever after’, Carly quits her job, her flat, her whole life and sets off on a quest to track down all the men she has ever loved.
Her Mr Right is out there, but can she find him?
And what if he’s moved on from the ex-girlfriend who said goodbye? A wonderful classic 20th-anniversary re-release.
Author Bio –
Shari Low is the #1 bestselling author of over 25 novels, including One Day In Summer and My One Month Marriage and a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. She lives near Glasgow.
This had me hooked from the start! A gloriously funny, enchanting, romantic comedy with plenty of laugh out loud moments and doses of ‘cringeworthy-ness’ that has the reader curling their toes in empathy for the main character Carly, whose love-life is a perpetual roller-coaster of heady romances and hasty retreats!
Set in 1999, in an era before social media and smart phones, and despite celebrating 20 years since its first release, the author manages to keep you captivated by the narrative. The song-themed chapter titles offer a lovely nostalgic bonus.
I’m particularly excited to discover that author Shari Low has already delved into the possible future lives of the characters and am now eagerly anticipating the release of ‘What Now?’ in 2021.
A highly recommended read!
Other spots on the blog tour can be found here:
With thanks to the author, Boldwood Books and @rararesources for the opportunity to take part in the tour.
I’m delighted to be one of the stops on today’s blog tour for this short story by Alexander Raphael.
In the summer of love, or rather of madness, a whole set of stories are emerging. But there is one that has got everyone talking. When Kurt Vannes decides to win back his ex-girlfriend with the help of a literary classic, he sets off a string of events that will build to a dramatic finale.
Half-Welsh, half-Mexican and growing up in London, Alex Raphael was surrounded by different influences and interests. But it was always books that spoke to him most and had the greatest impact.
He started writing when at college, where his love of reading evolved into a desire to write, in particular focusing on poetry and short stories. Studying English and American Literature at university meant he took a break from writing, as well as giving him the chance to see more of Mexico on his travels. He concentrated on his journalistic career while working on different writing projects, but his favourite genre of literature has always been short stories as they are what first inspired him to write.
That’s why his first book was The Summer of Madness, a romantic short story that tells of a guy who goes out to try to win his ex-girlfriend back. Will you be rooting for Kurt and his big public gesture or is it more complicated than that and you don’t want her to date him again? Either way you’ll get to know a memorable set of characters along for the ride.
His second book Illusions, Delusions reflects Raphael’s love of alternative short stories from the writers of his childhood and challenges the idea of the narrative. Will your favourite be the story in the form of a questionnaire, a poem or a set of jokes, among the seven very different styles?
Alex Raphael is currently working on his third collection of short stories, which will provide a wide blend of genres and an assortment of very original premises and distinctive character, with his trademark imagination, humour and memorable dialogue.
It can sometimes be difficult with short stories to become fully immersed in the plot as there can often be little depth to the narrative. The premise of this book, although simply written, carries enough intrigue to maintain the reader’s attention throughout.
When Kurt’s girlfriend leaves him for paying more attention to his friends and game console than her and his initial efforts to win her back are to no avail, he decides to do something out of the ordinary and tries to capture her attention by reading chapters of her favourite book, Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’, in the town centre each day.
Naturally, he soon draws an interested crowd, not all of whom are supportive of his gesture. But will he win back his girlfriend’s heart?
The most interesting aspect of this book is the reflection on how society treats Kurt and how his gesture impacts on the lives of others, from those working for the local newspaper, to those who see an opportunity to profit from him.
There are some other interesting angles between some of the peripheral characters too. This is less a love story than an observation of the chain of events that can spiral from one person’s actions. An interesting, quick read.
With thanks to the author, @rararesources and the publisher for the opportunity to be part of the tour.
I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for this wonderful book by Olivia Lara.
‘An epic, sweeping romance about soulmates and second chances’ Holly Miller.
‘An absolutely unforgettable love story’ Mandy Baggot.
‘A deeply moving, richly evocative story of love, loss and the power of hope’ Miranda Dickinson.
Finding the one is only the beginning…
1954. Zara is fifteen the first time she meets Leon. During a power cut in a small French museum, the two spend one short hour in the dark talking about their love for art, Monet and Paris. Neither knows what the other looks like. Both know their lives will never be the same.
1963. In Paris, Leon no longer believes he will ever find the girl he lost that night. After dreaming about him for years, Zara thinks she has already found him. When they meet at an exhibition, they don’t recognise each other – yet the way they feel is so familiar…
Over the course of twenty years, Zara and Leon are destined to fall in love again and again. But will they ever find a way to be together?
‘It’s about dreams and taking chances. Missed opportunities and mistakes. Loss and sacrifice. But above all, it is about love. The kind of love that survives time, distance… even death. The kind of love I wish for you.’
A magical new love story about star-crossed lovers, perfect for hopeless romantics and fans of One Day and The Notebook.
What readers are saying about Someday in Paris:
‘I absolutely adored this book and stayed up late at night to finish it!! I couldn’t put it down. This was a truly epic love story’ Goodreads reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Magical, all-encompassing and timeless; an unforgettable romance’ NetGalley reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Without question 5.0 Exquisite Stars!! There are not enough magical adjectives to describe the beauty of this story!! Someday in Paris moved me beyond words and to quite a few tears’ Goodreads reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Some books leave you a print in your heart which make them difficult to forget … Emotive, sweet and unforgettable … The most beautiful book I’ve read in a while!’ NetGalley reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘This is a book for hopeless romantics, for those who dare to dream, and for those who believe in true love everlasting … I could not put it down’ Goodreads reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘This book left me speechless. I haven’t read such an amazing story in a long time’ Goodreads reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘I absolutely loved this book … The story kept me hanging on and reading late into the night’ Goodreads reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
About the Author
OLIVIA LARA was born and raised in Bucharest in a family of book lovers and storytellers. Since university she has worked as a journalist and marketer in Romania, France and the United States. She is currently a marketing executive in San Francisco and lives in the Bay Area with her husband, young daughter and four cats. Someday in Paris is her first novel.
This is a truly magical book! A tale of chance meetings, the power of feeling and how love, loss and missed opportunities can have a profound effect on lives.
After Leon and Zara unexpectedly meet in darkness at a French museum, their lives become inextricably linked, even though fate continually seems to put obstacles in their way.
Told through the separate viewpoints of the protagonists, the reader finds themselves lured wholeheartedly into the narrative which is beautifully written. This is an epic love story where you cannot help but be drawn into the lives of its characters and find yourself desperately wishing for a positive outcome.
Huge thanks to the author for allowing me to be a part of the tour. I look forward to reading future novels!
I’m delighted to be taking part in this blog tour on publication day for T A Williams’ latest release, ‘Under a Siena Sun’.
Lucy needed a change of scene. She didn’t expect the change of a lifetime.
Doctors Without Borders has been Lucy Young’s life for the past four years. After being rescued from a conflict zone, she’s making a change from saving lives under gunfire to practising medicine in safe, serene Siena.
Now treating wealthy patients at a private clinic, she’s never felt less comfortable. She’s used to helping those in dire need – not those in need of a nip and tuck. Her turmoil grows when she encounters injured tennis star David Lorenzo, whose smiles make Lucy forget her aversion to the rich.
She’s soon falling for the sportsman but is she losing herself in this world of excess? All she’s ever wanted was to help the underprivileged, so can her future lie in Siena at the clinic – with David?
This sunny romance is the perfect summer escape for fans of Lucy Coleman and Alex Brown.
Author Bio – I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.
The fact that I am now writing romantic comedy is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations, even if travel to them is currently difficult.
Being a long-time fan of this author’s ‘Dreaming of’ series, as well as a self-confessed Italophile, I was eager to read this latest offering, ‘Under a Siena Sun’.
A trademark of T A Williams’s writing is his incredible ability to transport the reader into the heart of Italy and this book is no exception. The spectacular Tuscan countryside, along with the deliciously flavoured local delicacies are truly brought to life and offer a perfect escape for the imagination.
No T A Williams book is complete without its obligatory canine character and in this one, we are treated to not one, but several labradors, although undoubtedly it is Boris who steals the show!
The central characters, Lucy and David come from vastly different worlds, but the story of their developing friendship and eventual romance is perfectly portrayed and I found myself totally enthralled and invested in their relationship.
It is testament to how much I enjoyed this book that I finished it in two sittings! A highly recommended summer read!
Links to my other reviews of T A Williams books can be found here:
I’m delighted to be today’s stop on the blog tour for Andie Newton’s latest novel, ‘The Girl from Vichy’.
About the book
As the war in Europe rages on, Adèle Ambeh dreams of a France that is free from the clutches of the new regime. The date of her marriage to a ruthless man is drawing closer, and she only has one choice – she must run.
With the help of her mother, Adèle flees to Lyon, seeking refuge at the Sisters of Notre Dame del la Compassion. From the outside this is a simple nunnery, but the sisters are secretly aiding the French Resistance, hiding and supplying the fighters with weapons.
While it is not quite the escape Adèle imagined, she is drawn to the nuns and quickly finds herself part of the resistance. But her new role means she must return to Vichy, and those she left behind, no matter the cost.
Each day is filled with a different danger and as she begins to fall for another man, Adèle’s entire world could come crashing down around her.
Adèle must fight for her family, her own destiny, as well as her country.
About the author
Andie Newton is an American writer living in Washington State with her husband and two boys. She writes female-driven historical fiction set in WWII. ‘The Girl I Left Behind’ is her first novel. She would love to say she spends her free time gardening and cooking, but she’s killed everything she’s ever planted and set off more fire alarms than she cares to admit! Andie does, however, love spending time with her family, ultra trail running, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.
I tried to relax again, putting the woman out of my head long enough to think about the convent, but then someone yelled that the train was making an emergency stop. The train shimmied with a loud squeal, metal on metal, slowing to a crawl, and people popped out of their seats to move into the aisle. The woman gripped her book tightly, eyes strained, and then oddly relaxed like a lumpy blanket just as the French police burst through the doors at the end of the train car.
I bolted to a stand, clutching my chest, first from the sound and then from the looks on their faces as they ran down the aisle toward the other end, boots thumping with rifles slung over their shoulders.
‘What’s going on?’ I said into the air.
A burly gendarme with grit in his teeth pushed one of the old ladies back into her seat, but she stumbled, throwing a weak little hand against the window to catch herself, which made many of us gasp. More police rushed in and ran down the aisle, only this time the diplomats who’d been reading their papers trailed behind them like dogs on a tether.
The doors closed suddenly on both ends of the train car. A piercing quietness followed. Few people moved, aside from their eyes. Heat waving up from the tracks into our still compartment roasted us like chickens. A baby’s cry from somewhere buoyed the restless uncertainty ballooning among us all, then a whisper of sabotagers swept through the car almost faster than the heat, louder and louder until someone finally said, ‘Résistance.’
Résistance? I stood on my toes, trying to see into the other train car, when a man caught my eyes through the body gaps. ‘They’re invisible,’ he whispered, eyes tormented and grey. ‘Phantoms in the night and in the day.’
I gripped my pocketbook, suddenly feeling nervous, watching police run along the outer edge of the car, looking under the train as if there was something or someone to find. Seconds passed, holding our breaths, mouths as wide as our eyes, waiting for a shootout, arrest or both. Then the police stopped running, lit cigarettes and appeared to be chatting.
The whole train exhaled at once.
Some looked relieved nothing serious had happened; others chuckled as if watching the French police run around with nowhere to go was amusing and worth the trouble. The doors opened, sending a burst of fresh air into the train car. The woman across from me who’d seemed unnerved by the gendarmes rushing around was now in a tizzy, bolting from her seat and pushing herself into the crowded aisle. ‘If you please,’ she said, the heel of her clunky shoe smashing the top of my foot. ‘Out of the way!’
I yelped, though it did nothing but startle the old ladies next to me as she elbowed her way through the train car and past women and children as if she were the only passenger who mattered. I followed the pack, shuffling toward the exit, armpits near my face with hands pushing me on the back.
For fans of historical fiction, this is a must-read! What is especially appealing about this novel is that most of the main characters are strong females who each have a huge impact on the events in the story.
Set in France during the second world war, ‘The Girl from Vichy’ tells the story of Adele, a young woman who finds herself caught up in the new regime when her father agrees to let her marry Gerard, an officer in the police.
When she initially flees to Lyon in order to avoid the marriage, she seeks refuge in a convent, little knowing that she is soon to become a key player in the resistance.
A particular strength of the writing is the depiction of the ideologies of the different characters and how these impact on family relationships with Adele and her mum contrasting so starkly with her father and sister.
With drama and suspense throughout, this is a book the reader finds themselves truly immersed in from beginning to end!
Further stops on the blog tour can be found here (April dates should be August!):