Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Dual timeline #Histfic The Story Collector by @evgaughan

Today’s team review is from Alison, she blogs here https://alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Alison has been reading The Story Collector by Evie Gaughan

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This novel tells the stories of Sarah, a young woman who, on impulse, flies to Ireland after leaving her marriage, and Anna, who, one hundred years previously, helped a young American academic to collect local stories about fairies.

This dual storyline is seamless, the two stories separate and yet connected, through the diary that Sarah finds. Anna’s account is fascinating, and the events that she is caught up in bring an edge to the tale – and a reminder that fairies and folklore aren’t always benign.

The novel is beautifully written, the settings drawn clearly and evocatively and the author’s love of her subject matter is clear. The two female protagonists are relatable, strong, brave but not unrealistic – they’re not perfect, by any means, and Anna, in particular, has to live within the confines of society. Many novels have their heroines, particularly their historical heroines, behave in unrealistic ways. Anna is a girl of her time – and she has to learn to live with what that entails. Unrealistic behaviour from women in historical fiction is a real bugbear of mine, so it was refreshing to have Anna behave as a girl of her age and time would behave.

I would have liked a little more information about Sarah and what had happened to her. I didn’t feel she was a s fully realised as Anna, which was a shame. But this is the only criticism I have of this lovely book. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Four out of five stars.

Book description

A beautiful and mysterious historical romance from the author of The Heirloom and The Mysterious Bakery on Rue de Paris. Thornwood Village, 1910. Anna, a young farm girl, volunteers to help an intriguing American visitor, Harold Griffin-Krauss, translate ‘fairy stories’ from Irish to English. But all is not as it seems and Anna soon finds herself at the heart of a mystery that threatens the future of her community and her very way of life….. Captivated by the land of myth, folklore and superstition, Sarah Harper finds herself walking in the footsteps of Harold and Anna one hundred years later, unearthing dark secrets that both enchant and unnerve. The Story Collector treads the intriguing line between the everyday and the otherworldly, the seen and the unseen.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of Cultural Fiction and Irish Folklore, The Story Collector by @evgaughan

The Story CollectorThe Story Collector by Evie Gaughan

4 Stars

The Story Collector is a dual-time cultural fiction. The settings are Ireland in 1910 and 2010.

The story opens in 2010 with Sarah, who is running away from a broken marriage. On a whim she boards an aeroplane to Western Ireland. She arrives in a tiny village to nurse her wounds.  Then she discovers a lost diary.

In 1910, farmer’s daughter Anna Butler met an American scholar. Harold Griffin-Krauss was collecting Celtic folklore stories and needed an introduction to the local people. Anna became his guide as they listened to tales of fairies and spirits in a land steeped in mysticism.

I enjoyed the myths and legends; of the two time-lines Anna’s tale was my favourite with its detail of the day-to-day lives of the people. Ideal for those who enjoy stories set in Ireland and who believe in the magic of the Emerald Isle’s traditional stories.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Thornwood Village, 1910. Anna, a young farm girl, volunteers to help an intriguing American visitor, Harold Griffin-Krauss, translate ‘fairy stories’ from Irish to English. But all is not as it seems and Anna soon finds herself at the heart of a mystery that threatens the future of her community and her very way of life….. Captivated by the land of myth, folklore and superstition, Sarah Harper finds herself walking in the footsteps of Harold and Anna one hundred years later, unearthing dark secrets that both enchant and unnerve. The Story Collector treads the intriguing line between the everyday and the otherworldly, the seen and the unseen.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s review Team #RBRT That Summer At The Seahorse Hotel by @adrienneauthor #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading That Summer At The Seahorse Hotel by Adrienne Vaughan

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With a cast of wonderfully realised characters, this story transported me to Ireland and Galty House, set in the beautifully described coastal location of Rosshaven. Archie Fitzgerald, legendary actor, is dying, but determined to depart on his own terms. He wants Mia, the daughter of his close friend and fellow actor, Fenella Flanagan, to come home to Galty House for what will be their last summer together.

I love the almost ethereal quality of the cover image which compliments the theme of the book perfectly. Reminders of a past long gone, reminiscences and repercussions play a big part in the story. Whatever happened all those years ago has been a closely guarded secret, long buried and never spoken of. But now things are changing. Fenella is terrified Archie will feel compelled to break his promise and Bernice, Archie’s sister, wants to know what’s going to happen to Galty House when Archie is no longer there. Added to that is the mystery of the small island in the bay, with its atmosphere of secrecy and darkness.

Mia has only ever wanted to know who her father was, and why her mother would never say, but she gave up asking years ago and was content with the people she loves and who love her–her mother, Archie, Bernice and unconventional housekeeper Leela. But now, the desire to know has reasserted itself. When Archie lets her know she will inherit his estate, it makes her wonder if he is her father.

Newcomers to Rosshaven, Ross Power, Chief Executive of the new Harbour Spa Hotel in the village, and his niece, Pearl, quickly become involved with the family, and the stage is set for a very eventful summer of joy, heartbreak, tragedy, romance and surfacing revelations. Secrets are exposed, as is the greed and selfishness of certain people.

Sections from the past are scattered tantalizingly throughout the narrative and, as the small group spend time together, layers are uncovered, feelings laid bare and several threads are woven into the storyline. As with her previous books, Adrienne Vaughan’s knack of creating engaging and compelling characters who completely captivate, in a fabulous setting, is evident. Archie is outwardly theatrical and colourful, wanting to make the most of the time he has left, but understandably frailty shows through. I love Mia, the bond between her and Archie and the developing one with Pearl, another wonderful character.

Written with confidence, delightfully authentic dialogue and style, this was a joy to read.

Book description

Mia Flanagan has never been told who her father is and aged ten, stopped asking.

Haunted by this, she remains a dutiful daughter who would never do anything to bring scandal or shame on her beautiful and famously single mother.

So when Archie Fitzgerald, one of Hollywood’s favourite actors, decides to leave Mia his Irish estate, she asks herself – is he her father after all?

That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel is a tale of passion, jealousy and betrayal – and the ghost of a secret love that binds this colourful cast yet still threatens, after all these years, to tear each of them apart.

About the author

Adrienne Vaughan has been making up stories since she could speak; primarily to entertain her sister Reta, who from a very early age never allowed a plot or character to be repeated – tough audience. As soon as she could pick up a pen, she started writing them down. It was no surprise she wanted to be a journalist; ideally the editor of a glossy music and fashion magazine, so she could meet and marry a pop star – some of that came true – and in common with so many, still holds the burning ambition to be a ‘Bond Girl’! She now runs a busy PR practice and writes poems, short stories and ideas for books, in her spare time. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a founder member of the indie publishing group The New Romantics4. Adrienne lives in Leicestershire with her husband, two cocker spaniels and a retired dressage horse called Marco.

Adrienne Vaughan

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