Rosie’s #Bookreview of #NewRelease #HistoricalFiction The Girl With The Silver Clasp by @julietgreenwood @orionbooks

The Girl with the Silver ClaspThe Girl with the Silver Clasp by Juliet Greenwood

4 stars

The Girl With The Silver Clasp is historical fiction set in a small coastal village near St. Ives in Cornwall.

The story begins just before World War One and introduces us firstly to Jess, the daughter of the harbour master, who spends much of her time at the local forge. Here she learns the art of blacksmithing as well as the intricate metalwork skills needed to make and repair jewellery.

Secondly we are introduced to Rachel, who is the daughter of the family who own the harbour; during the war Rachel goes to France to drive an ambulance, but after the war her family’s fortunes change

In the post-war years, Jess is forced to help her aunt with dressmaking, but it is the metalwork which still calls to her and Jess squeezes in as many hours as she can, creating unique pieces of jewellery

This is the story of women who embraced the post-war changes in society; they made their own decisions and worked for themselves supporting each other’s efforts. Although this book started slow, once we reached the post war years I became fully engaged with the lives of Jess and Rachel and really enjoyed the remainder of their stories. Some of my favourite parts were reading about life in London as well as the growth of the artists in the St. Ives area.

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St. Ives, 1916.

Jess Morgan always hoped to become a celebrated silversmith, but when the men return from war she’s forced to return to her job as a seamstress. All she can cling to is the memory of that delicate, unique silver clasp she created for a society bride.

Rachel Bellamy served as an ambulance driver on the front line during the Great War but now it’s up to her to save the family home and picturesque harbour from her wealthy brother-in-law, before it’s too late.

Giselle Harding fought her way up from poverty to become a Hollywood movie star. Yet even the most beautiful jewels she owns will never fill replace the man she lost.

As the lives of the three women collide, will they be able to overcome their differences and fight together for the dreams they once held so close?

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The Girl with the Silver Clasp: A sweeping, unputdownable WWI historical novel set in Cornwall by [Juliet Greenwood]

Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #HistoricalFiction THE FERRYMAN’S DAUGHTER by @julietgreenwood

The Ferryman's DaughterThe Ferryman’s Daughter by Juliet Greenwood

4 stars

The Ferryman’s Daughter is an historical family saga set in Cornwall. The story begins in 1908 and focuses on Hester Pearce and her dreams to run a café. Her father rows passengers across the Hayle estuary near St Ives, while her mother keeps the house and uses her cooking skills to create preserves which she sells.

When Hester’s mother dies and her father is badly injured in an accident, Hester is forced to leave school, then take charge of the ferry herself. However, she is determined to make more of her life, so she learns to cook and bake. When World War One breaks out, Hester finds employment in a local house where soldiers are sent to recover; here she puts her resourceful cooking skills to good use.

I enjoyed the Cornish setting of this book, while the parts set during the war were some of my favourites, especially the creative ingredients used during times of shortages. I also liked the parts set in the gardens; I wanted to take part in digging and harvesting of the fruit and vegetables alongside the characters. Overall, a lovely story about a practical young woman and her ambitions to make a living for herself in a period of history when many women traditionally looked after the home.

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Book description

Can Hester help her family escape desperate poverty and fulfil her dreams?

1908: Hester always loved her mother best, her father had always been a hard man to like, spending more time (and money) in the local than with his family. After her mother’s sudden death, followed by an injury forcing her father to give up his job as the ferryman, Hester is placed in the position of care-giver for her young brother and sister.

As the years pass Hester must row the ferry night and day to keep them all from starvation, while her hopes of working in a kitchen and one day becoming a cook, slip further and further away.

But just how far is Hester willing to go to make her dream a reality? And as the threat of war comes ever closer to the Cornish coast, will it bring opportunities or despair for Hester and her family?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Contemporary Drama A Degree Of Uncertainty by Nicola Smith

A Degree of UncertaintyA Degree of Uncertainty by Nicola K. Smith

3.5 stars

A Degree Of Uncertainty is a contemporary drama set in a fictional Cornish town.

Harry Manchester is a local estate agent who heads a campaign to prevent the neighbouring university from expanding, and changing the dynamics of the area. As the residents and local business owners takes sides, the battle that Harry faces begins to affect his personal and business life.

The final decision about the university expansion plan lies with the council and an all-important vote, but what will they decide?

This book is a dedication to the author’s love of this English county. I’m sure other readers will be nodding their heads about some of the impacts that universities and their students have on the towns that surround them. I thought the author’s background in journalism shone through, especially in the sections that dealt with the press.

There’s quite a large cast of characters and I’m afraid I found them hard to connect to, even Harry. I felt that the heavy hand of the author’s experienced report-writing overshadowed the people.  Novels need to be about the characters, first and foremost, before any message that the author wants to put across, but sadly they felt rather one-dimensional, which meant that I didn’t feel fully immersed in their lives.

Overall, this debut story has threads which may be recognised by many small university towns, while the Cornish setting will appeal to those who enjoy this picturesque county.

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Book description

Tensions are rising in the West Cornwall town of Poltowan…

Harry Manchester will not stand by and see his beloved hometown turned into a student ghetto — and many residents and students are relying on him.

But Harry’s stance sets him on a collision course with Dawn Goldberg, formidable Vice Chancellor of Poltowan University, who is set on doubling its size and cementing her career legacy.

As Harry’s marriage falls apart, his business comes under threat, and fellow traders accuse him of halting progress, Dawn is battling her own demons, not least the need to live up to her late father’s expectations and erase the memory of his tragic death.

It’s town versus gown, and something’s got to give…

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#WomensFiction #familysaga My #Bookreview of A Cornish Secret by @EmmaBurstall @HoZ_Books

A Cornish Secret (Tremarnock #4)A Cornish Secret by Emma Burstall

3.5 stars

A Cornish Secret is ‘women’s fiction’ and book #4 in the Tremarnock series.

Caroline has come to Cornwall to meet Esme, an old school friend. They plan to walk sections of a pilgrim path.

Meanwhile, residents of Esme’s village, Tremarnock, hear that the council plans to sell off the playground to a housing developer. Villagers organise a huge protest which attracts the local media. They set up a camp on the site which replicates other well-known activist groups.

On the beach, teenager Rosie finds a bottle with a note dating back to the war years. Her family and friends are keen to search for the message writer, Franz, who was once a POW living in the area.

This is the first book I’ve read in this series, so I was unfamiliar with the characters and found it hard to remember them all, especially as a great many were introduced early in the story. This is a light read with several storylines vying for attention. For me, this made the book feel crowded and I was less able to become involved. However if you enjoy village saga tales, with a lovely Cornish setting, then this book may be for you. I would advise reading the earlier books in the series first.

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Book description

Esme Posorsky is an enigma. For as long as people can remember, she has been part of community life in the quaint Cornish fishing village of Tremarnock, but does anyone really know her? She is usually to be found working in her pottery studio or at home with her beloved cat, Rasputin. But when an old school friend turns up with a secret from the past, nothing will ever be the same again.

Meanwhile teenager, Rosie, is excited to find a bottle washed up on Tremarnock beach with a message from a former German prisoner of war. While the rest of the village is up in arms about a new housing development, she sets out to find him. Little does she know, however, that her discovery will unleash a shocking chain of events that threatens to blow her family apart.

Tremarnock may look like a cosy backwater, but some of its residents are about to come face to face with tough decisions and cold reality.

About the author

Emma is the bestselling author of six novels – Gym and Slimline, Never Close Your Eyes and The Darling Girls, as well as her Cornish series, Tremarnock, The Cornish Guest House and Tremarnock Summer.

She read English at Cambridge University and began her career as a cub reporter on the Western Morning News in Plymouth, later becoming features editor of Woman and Family Circle.

She has also written extensively for national newspapers and women’s magazines including the Guardian, Independent on Sunday, Red, Good Housekeeping and Woman & Home.

She gets by in French and Spanish and works out – occasionally – at her local gym. After walking her youngest to school, you might also spot her jogging in Richmond Park with some friends. Slowly.

Emma lives in South West London with her husband and they have three children.

She’s currently working on her seventh novel.

Emma Burstall

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#NewRelease The Last Piece Of My Heart by @PaigeToonAuthor @simonschusterUK contemporary #Romance

31573350My Review

The Last Piece Of My Heart is a contemporary romance. Bridget is a travel magazine writer and an aspiring novelist. When her synopsis for a book about her broken relationships is shelved by her agent, she’s offered, instead, a ghost-writing job.

When the author of a best-selling contemporary romance died suddenly, she never got to see her book flying off the shelves and receiving great reviews. The sequel had already been planned, and Bridget is asked to step into the author’s shoes and complete the job. It entails her going to Cornwall to access all the author’s notes, from which her still grieving husband can’t be parted.

Adventurous Bridget borrows her Dad’s camper-van, setting herself up near Padstow. Here she can read the draft notes and research the local area, much of which was used as the book’s setting. Nicole left behind husband Charlie and their baby daughter. At first, Bridget’s working relationship with them starts off shaky; not helped when certain family relatives aren’t happy with the ghost-writing plan.

Bridget and Charlie’s friendship grows; he shares his grief whilst she shares her own ideas for the book her agent shelved. With part of Nicole’s book taking place in Thailand, Bridget later travels there to complete her research before finally writing the long awaited sequel.

I loved the Cornish setting and the camper van was so much fun. My respect to Paige, as well; I cannot imagine the complexities of writing a book about a ghost-writer writing a book for another author. This ticks all the boxes for a good contemporary romance and is a must for all Paige Toon fans.

Book Description

Meet Bridget, a successful travel journalist with ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog into a novel. But, after numerous rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition: Nicole Dupre died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel, and the family need someone to finish it. Bridget is just thankful to have her foot in the publishing door. But as she gets to know Nicole’s grieving family, and the woman behind the writing, Bridget’s priorities begin to change …

About the author

Paige Toon

I was born in 1975 and my dad’s career as a racing driver meant that I grew up between Australia, England and America. I worked at heat magazine for eight years as Reviews Editor, but left to have a baby. I’m now a full-time author and freelance journalist. I live in North London with my husband Greg, son Indy and daughter Idha.

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