Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Horror HIGHLAND COVE by @dylanjmorgan

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

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading Highland Cove by Dylan Morgan

HIGHLAND COVE: a ghost story by [Morgan, Dylan J.]

The story starts sixty years earlier when Polish psychiatrist professor Bukoski was head of the Highland Cove asylum. The stories about Highland Cove intrigue Codie and his team to document the ghostly appearances. I will not tell you more about the story than shown in the Goodreads plot description. This would spoil the fun of reading this book yourself.

With Highland Cove”, Dylan J. Morgan has created an expertly woven plot, a thrilling horror novel. “Highland Cove” comprises authentic characters; Codie is a very likeable guy, I liked him from the start. You learn more about the team as the story processes; the more you learn about them, the more you are inclined to take sides. Dylan J. Morgan easily provides that fine chill that soon lets shivers run down your spine. There are turns that I did not see coming; most of my question marks were answered towards the end. I had a great time reading – this is a very compelling read. I was drawn into the story right away, close to Codie and Kristen and relieved to be invisible.

The ending was what I least anticipated; I could imagine two quite different possibilities for a second book or just say ‘Well, I really did not see that coming – but I accept it.’

I could imagine this a perfect plot for the “Fantasy Film Festivals” (they are known for gory horror films); I would admittedly opt to see a milder version, though.

The cover is great – perfect for this story.

This is for you if you like some shivers running down your spine, a creepy atmosphere and a gruelling mystery that needs to be solved.

A remarkable story to read again.

Recommended.

Book description

Highland Cove Sanatorium sits abandoned on a desolate island one mile off the Scottish mainland. It’s a dark, foreboding place, filled with nightmares. Even darker are the asylum’s secrets: a history of disease and mental illness, macabre experiments and murder.

The tales of ghostly appearances are said to be more fact than fiction, but no one has ever documented the phenomenon. Codie Jackson aims to change all that. Arriving from London with his small independent film crew, they plan to make a documentary that will forever change their lives.

But when one of the crew disappears, things begin to spiral out of control. A storm closes in to ravage the island, and in the darkness Highland Cove’s true horrors are revealed. Now lost within the institution’s labyrinthine corridors, Codie and his team realize that their nightmare is only just beginning.

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HIGHLAND COVE: a ghost story by [Morgan, Dylan J.]

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Horror HIGHLAND COVE by @dylanjmorgan #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Highland Cove by Dylan J Morgan

HIGHLAND COVE: a ghost story by [Morgan, Dylan J.]

4*

A highly atmospheric story that gathers momentum like skeletal fingers walking slowly up your back, Highland Cove is a book that will delight lovers of dark, horrifying ghost stories that do not necessarily end well…

The party of five who set out on this foolish mission—to make a documentary in a haunted asylum on a lonely Scottish island—each have their own story, and the characters are well-defined, particularly Liam, for whom this project is something of a passion, and Alex, the sceptical rich boy who has been invited purely because he is willing to fund it.  Dylan Morgan’s descriptive powers are first class, and I particularly liked the meeting in the pub, early on, with the old sailor who was to take them across from the mainland.  Chapters written in the past added an extra dimension to the story, and made it all the more poignant.

I was pleased to find that the horror certainly ramps up during the second half, with many surprises, and I thought the last twenty per cent was actually the best part, with a twist in the tale or two that I didn’t expect, at all.  I felt that some of the detail in the first half could have been chopped down a little, but on the whole I’d say that this is a fine, well-written book with good plot, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who likes to become immersed in a novel on the gory horror end of the supernatural genre.

Book description

Highland Cove Sanatorium sits abandoned on a desolate island one mile off the Scottish mainland. It’s a dark, foreboding place, filled with nightmares. Even darker are the asylum’s secrets: a history of disease and mental illness, macabre experiments and murder.

The tales of ghostly appearances are said to be more fact than fiction, but no one has ever documented the phenomenon. Codie Jackson aims to change all that. Arriving from London with his small independent film crew, they plan to make a documentary that will forever change their lives.

But when one of the crew disappears, things begin to spiral out of control. A storm closes in to ravage the island, and in the darkness Highland Cove’s true horrors are revealed. Now lost within the institution’s labyrinthine corridors, Codie and his team realize that their nightmare is only just beginning.

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HIGHLAND COVE: a ghost story by [Morgan, Dylan J.]

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Horror #HIGHLAND COVE by @dylanjmorgan Set On A Scottish Island

Today’s team review is from Teri, she blogs here https://teripolen.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Teri has been reading Highland Cove by Dylan Morgan

HIGHLAND COVE: a ghost story by [Morgan, Dylan J.]

After reading several books by this author, I became a confirmed fan. But then he disappeared for a while. When I learned he had a new release on the horizon, it took me about tenth of a second to request an ARC.

A group of ghosthunters, including some non-believers, spend two nights in an abandoned sanitorium during a vicious storm. Where lots of people died. And it’s on an island. What could go wrong here? Most folks, believers or not, would likely pass on the offer. Luckily for the reader, these characters think it’s an amazing opportunity. Some of them assume nothing will happen and figure they’ll edit in effects to the film later. Right. But then, it wouldn’t be much of a horror story if characters made wise choices.

This author possesses an incredible talent for setting a tone – something he immediately did when the group first set foot on the island.  With such vivid imagery, I felt as if I walked the dilapidated halls of Highland Cove along with these characters. Chills tingled down my spine when a wheelchair moved of its own accord. Shadows danced in every corner. During one scene, I cringed repeatedly – and I’ve been reading horror for decades. That doesn’t happen to me very often, so kudos to the author.  Trust me when I say parts of this aren’t for the faint of heart.

It’s difficult to mention this without giving away spoilers, but a couple things near the end didn’t come together for me. I had suspicions, and maybe I missed a crucial piece of information early in the book, but I felt part of the puzzle was missing when all was said and done. It didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this atmospheric tale, but still – some questions niggled at my brain.

I’m thrilled to see another book from this author and hope I don’t have to wait as long for his next one. If you’re a horror fan, this is a writer you need to get to know.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Book description

Highland Cove Sanatorium sits abandoned on a desolate island one mile off the Scottish mainland. It’s a dark, foreboding place, filled with nightmares. Even darker are the asylum’s secrets: a history of disease and mental illness, macabre experiments and murder.

The tales of ghostly appearances are said to be more fact than fiction, but no one has ever documented the phenomenon. Codie Jackson aims to change all that. Arriving from London with his small independent film crew, they plan to make a documentary that will forever change their lives.

But when one of the crew disappears, things begin to spiral out of control. A storm closes in to ravage the island, and in the darkness Highland Cove’s true horrors are revealed. Now lost within the institution’s labyrinthine corridors, Codie and his team realize that their nightmare is only just beginning.

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HIGHLAND COVE: a ghost story by [Morgan, Dylan J.]

Rosie’s #BookReview Of #CrimeFiction BURY THEM DEEP by James Oswald: An Inspector McLean Novel

Bury Them Deep: Inspector McLean 10 (The Inspector McLean Series)Bury Them Deep: Inspector McLean 10 by James Oswald

4 stars

Bury Them Deep by James Oswald is book ten of The Inspector McLean crime fiction series.

Set in Scotland, this story begins with a missing person: Anya Renfrew has worked as a loyal and reliable police administration assistant for many years, but when she doesn’t turn up at work for an important new case, the amount of access that she has to securely held information is as much a concern as her absence.

Detective Inspector McLean is under a lot of pressure from his superiors to find Anya, as her loss is jeopardising the start of the new case. Added to this, a dangerous serial killer escapes from a local psychiatric detention centre and police fear he will seek revenge on those who caught him years ago.

This is the first book that I have read in this series. I liked the Scottish setting and the folk tale theme that weaved its way into the narrative; although horrific, it was very interesting. McLean was a likeable detective and his investigative methods were thorough in an old-school style. The narrative focused on the police procedures and the many leads which the case exposed, rather than a novel that was filled with unexpected twists. There was still plenty of tension as the story moved towards the final denouement; however, there were no surprises for me with the final reveal.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

When a member of the Police Scotland team fails to clock-in for work, concern for her whereabouts is immediate… and the discovery of her burnt-out car in remote woodland to the south of Edinburgh sets off a desperate search for the missing woman.

Meanwhile, DCI Tony McLean and the team are preparing for a major anti-corruption operation – one which may raise the ire of more than a few powerful people in the city. Is Anya Reynolds’ disappearance a co-incidence or related to the case?

McLean’s investigations suggest that perhaps that Anya isn’t the first woman to have mysteriously vanished in these ancient hills. Once again, McLean can’t shake the feeling that there is a far greater evil at work here…

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #HistoricalFiction THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR by @AilishSinclair #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Mermaid And The Bear by Ailish Sinclair

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5 out of 5 stars

I chose this book from the review team list because I’ve loved looking at the author’s marvellous photos of Scotland on her website for some years now; I hoped that anyone so artistic and with such a love for the area in which this story is set would be a fine writer too, though this doesn’t necessarily follow, of course—but I’m pleased to say that I was not disappointed.


The Mermaid and The Bear is listed as a historical romance, but it’s much more than that. At first, after protagonist Isobell escaped her London betrothal to ‘Wicked Richard’ and headed for a Scottish castle to work as a kitchen maid, I wondered if the book would be too ‘twee’ for me; beautifully written and a good example of its type, but I thought it would follow the well-trodden romance novel path of misunderstandings and awkward situations before the lovers come together, and that would be that. I was so wrong! Although the relationship is an important part of the story arc, it is not the sole focus.


Ailish Sinclair’s portrayal of 16th century, wild rural Scotland is quite magical. On one recent evening I was curled up in bed, head on cushions and lights dimmed, and I found that I was revelling in every description of the countryside, the day-to-day life at the castle (particularly the Christmas revellry; this made me long to be in the book myself!), the suggestion of ancient spirituality, and the hopes and dreams of the characters. Suddenly I realised that I’d gone from thinking ‘yes, this is a pleasant enough, easy-read’ to ‘I’m loving this’.  

From about half-way through, the book becomes very dark indeed, as the witch-hunts of the time rear their gruesome head; there is a strong sense of good versus evil. This is where, for me, it became even more interesting.


Much of the locals’ dialogue is written in the Scottish dialect, but this is not overdone, so it didn’t become irritating to read at all—it just added authenticity. I liked how Isobell’s inner thoughts and conversation took on the Scottish words and phraseology gradually, over time, as would be the case. Her development over the course of the story is so realistic, and the Laird of the castle is the sort of character you can’t help falling a little bit in love with. The notes at the back add interest to the whole novel, too.


If you adore historical fiction, especially set in the 16th century, I’d recommend this book without hesitation. If you’re a bit ‘hmm’ about historical romance, I would still recommend it, without a doubt—and this is coming from someone who usually runs a mile from any variation on the romance genre. Go buy it. Now.

Book description

Isobell needs to escape. She has to. Her life depends on it.

She has a plan and it’s a well thought-out, well observed plan, to flee her privileged life in London and the cruel man who would marry her, and ruin her, and make a fresh start in Scotland.

She dreams of faery castles, surrounded by ancient woodlands and misty lochs… and maybe even romance, in the dark and haunted eyes of a mysterious Laird.

Despite the superstitious nature of the time and place, her dreams seem to be coming true, as she finds friendship and warmth, love and safety. And the chance for a new beginning…

Until the past catches up with her.

Set in the late sixteenth century, at the height of the Scottish witchcraft accusations, The Mermaid and the Bear is a story of triumph over evil, hope through adversity, faith in humankind and – above all – love.

AmazonUK | AmzonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Witch Trials And A Scottish #HistoricalRomance THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR by @AilishSinclair

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

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading The Mermaid And The Bear by Ailsish Sinclair

Ailish Sinclair has written a captivating romantic fairy tale for adults, set in 1597 Scotland.

Isobell has been pledged by her father to marry a man she calls Wicked Richard. Together with two boys, Ian and Jasper, she flees her intended husband and a life of privilege in London, sailing in the hold of a ship to a smugglers cave below a remote castle in Scotland. There she will work as an assistant cook.

With no training for her menial job, she is taken under the wing of Bessie Thom, the castle’s cook – a large, jolly woman who is also an herbalist – who reminds me strongly of Mrs. Fitz in Outlander. Isobell meets Agnes, a sour and bitter young woman who is the governess to Wee Thomas and who loves to tell tales of witchcraft; the handsome Duncan McCulloch, Greeve of the castle; Christen Michel, an elderly woman who is the mother of the Laird’s first wife, Mary, who died giving birth to Wee Thomas; and finally the Laird himself, Thomas Monteith. All of these characters are so well drawn, I could easily see and hear them. The authentic use of Scottish words and phrases draws the reader into this medieval world.

I called this a fairy tale – Isobell falls in love with the laird, a bear of a man who is kind and gentle and sad – and the reader is lulled into contentment by both their love and the beauty that surrounds the castle: fairy pools and standing stones and beautiful woods. But this tale turns grim and gritty when it delves into accusations of witchcraft and witchcraft trials, prevalent at the time.

Thus the narrative encompasses hope and despair, good and evil, friends and enemies. The author writes beautiful descriptive prose of the Scottish countryside and delves into the heart of Isobell in an astonishing way, encompassing her views of conflicts between the Protestant and Catholic faiths and the feeling of the ancient religion, carried on by women, when Isobell finds the standing stones.

I really liked this book, despite the fact I expected and got a satisfying conclusion.  Isn’t this usual for fairy tales?

A truly enchanting tale!

Book description

Isobell needs to escape. She has to. Her life depends on it.

She has a plan and it’s a well thought-out, well observed plan, to flee her privileged life in London and the cruel man who would marry her, and ruin her, and make a fresh start in Scotland.

She dreams of faery castles, surrounded by ancient woodlands and misty lochs… and maybe even romance, in the dark and haunted eyes of a mysterious Laird.

Despite the superstitious nature of the time and place, her dreams seem to be coming true, as she finds friendship and warmth, love and safety. And the chance for a new beginning…

Until the past catches up with her.

Set in the late sixteenth century, at the height of the Scottish witchcraft accusations, The Mermaid and the Bear is a story of triumph over evil, hope through adversity, faith in humankind and – above all – love.

AmazonUK | AmzonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #HistoricalFiction THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR by @AilishSinclair

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

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading The Mermaid And The Bear by Ailish Sinclair

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Scotland in 1597 was not a place to be a woman, especially a woman of faith, opinions or healing gifts.  But Isobell has fled from her London home to avoid marriage to a cruel Englishman and has found kindness and friendship in a Scottish castle.  Hiding her wealthy background, she starts work as a kitchen maid but her clumsy mistakes reveal her lack of experience.  While Bessie, the housekeeper guards her secrets, Isobell must be more cautious with Agnes, the spiteful governess and Christen, the aristocratic lady of the house.

Soon Isobell is captivated by the impressive castle and its fairy tale setting and she finds meeting the Laird is an overwhelming experience. It is a pleasure to read of their growing romance despite misunderstandings but as they grow closer, others gather to cause pain and suffering.

This carefully researched story is based on true events in Aberdeen when cruel men gained power over innocent women by accusing them of witchcraft.  It is a horrifying story from our history, mirrored in other parts of the United Kingdom.  Thankfully in The Mermaid and the Bear the sadness is tempered by love and kinship in a believable and satisfying conclusion.  An enchanting novel.

Book description

Isobell needs to escape. She has to. Her life depends on it.

She has a plan and it’s a well thought-out, well observed plan, to flee her privileged life in London and the cruel man who would marry her, and ruin her, and make a fresh start in Scotland.

She dreams of faery castles, surrounded by ancient woodlands and misty lochs… and maybe even romance, in the dark and haunted eyes of a mysterious Laird.

Despite the superstitious nature of the time and place, her dreams seem to be coming true, as she finds friendship and warmth, love and safety. And the chance for a new beginning…

Until the past catches up with her.

Set in the late sixteenth century, at the height of the Scottish witchcraft accusations, The Mermaid and the Bear is a story of triumph over evil, hope through adversity, faith in humankind and – above all – love.

AmazonUK | AmzonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #RegencyRomance Unlaced By The Highland Duke by @laratemple1 #TuesdayBookBlog

Unlaced by the Highland Duke (The Lochmore Legacy, #2)Unlaced by the Highland Duke by Lara Temple

4.5 stars

Unlaced By The Highland Duke is book two of The Lochmore Legacy historical romances.

A set of four books, each steps back into history as clues to a mystery are revealed. Book one began in the Victorian era, book two is set during the Regency years, book three in Tudor times, and the final book is set in the medieval period.

So far we have been introduced to a mystical brooch, an empty crypt and a long standing family feud between two clans.

Book two is set in 1815. Duke Benneit Lochmore is a widower. He has a lively young son, Jamie, who dreams of becoming an explorer. The Duke is persuaded to give a temporary home to Jo, a distant relative. She will help care for Jamie while the Duke is running his estate and planning his second marriage.

I loved Jo’s Pied Piper style magic that weaved its way into the hearts of all those who lived and worked in the castle. The stories that she created for Jamie were a delight, and I wanted to go exploring for treasures left by mermaids and giants alongside Jamie on the local beaches.

There is plenty of romance too, and links to book one. I did go back to remind myself of how these characters fitted with the first story as they only have a minor role in the outset of the series. I also thought there might have been a little more about the ongoing mystery than there was. However it is still a very good Regency romance and could easily be read as a stand-alone story. Overall, the settings, story and characters ticked plenty of boxes for this genre.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

A plain Regency governess

In bed with the duke!

Part of The Lochmore Legacy: a Scottish castle through the ages! Unceremoniously packed off to Scotland to care for the Duke of Lochmore’s young son, practical widow Joane Langdale fears she will be ignored as always. But the deep connection and heated passion that develops between her and Benneit is far more dangerous! When Benneit is expected to propose to another, how dare Jo dream of becoming his duchess?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of Noir #Fiction Moristoun by Kevin McAllion @Moristoun set in #Scotland

MoristounMoristoun by Kevin McAllion

4 stars

Moristoun is a noir fiction novel which is set on a Scottish island and features the subject of suicide.

Public defender Buchan is needed urgently on the mainland. Part of his work includes trying to prevent suicides. His latest case is James McSorely, a thirty-year-old who has a long list of misfortunes, and Buchan hopes that a quick intervention will turn McSorely’s life around. He offers McSorely a job as his assistant on the island of Moristoun with the added bonus of free accommodation.

Most of the inhabitants of Moristoun are stuck in their day-to-day routines. Being cut off from mainland Scotland, there is also very little to occupy them, except for football. This is a favourite topic of conversation in a pub called the Tortured Soul.

But all is not what it seems. Apart from Buchan, the only island inhabitants able to return to the mainland are McSorley and Gail, the pub landlord’s daughter. Secrets are being kept and McSorley discovers that he wants answers.

I would describe this as an intense story, and I found I needed to take breaks from it before continuing. One drawback was that some of the chapters jump back to the past with no warning, so I was not always immediately aware in which era I was reading, and this made the secondary storylines harder to pick up each time. A chapter heading to indicate the time jump would have made the reading flow better.

The suicide theme was woven through the grim setting. The author used a mix of criminal action and seedy characters, which worked well for the genre, and there were also moments of wry humour to lift the bleak future of the island’s inhabitants. A different read for me, not a genre I often choose, but it’s good to shake up reading habits from time-to-time.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

McSorely has had enough. His life has spiralled out of control and nothing has gone his way. There seems to be only one option open to him, one last thing he can do to take control of his fate. All hope is lost.
But far away on the mysterious island of Moristoun, Buchan is charged with the task of dissuading McSorely from this drastic course of action. Moristoun is where people like McSorely might end up, having exchanged one kind of hopelessness for another.
A glimpse of the ‘life’ he might be heading for might change McSorely’s opinion of his own existence, but a glimpse of the entrancing Gail behind the bar in the pub and a hint about Moristoun’s true nature could render all of Buchan’s efforts to rehabilitate the despairing McSorely equally hopeless.

About the author

I was born in Dundee but now live in Glasgow with my wife Thanyalak and daughter Jennifer. I have worked as sports journalist since 1997, when I started out writing football match reports for The Sunday Mail newspaper while still a journalism student.

Since then I’ve written and edited for a wide range of publications, including the Scottish Daily Express, The Big Issue in Scotland, The Herald, The Scottish Standard and The Scottish Daily Mail. I now work full-time as a sub-editor for the Daily Record and Sunday Mail.

When not at work I relax at home with my family and survey my simian empire, rhesuspark.com, which is probably the world’s only spoof monkey park.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Thriller Hiding by @jmortonpotts #SundayBlogShare

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

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading Hiding by Jenny M Potts

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My Opinion

This book introduces you to the plot lines covering Rebecca and her family, and Keller Baye.

With Hiding, Jenny Morton Potts has created a quite intriguing mystery, starting with two plot lines. It is at first on the slowish side, introducing the main characters and pieces of their pasts. After a few chapters, the story settles at a good and steady pace. Jenny Morton Potts created a good suspense story with some twists, and more insights in Keller’s motives. I did not get close to the characters – I followed them and their stories from a comfortable distance. I wanted to learn the reason why, even if I could not get very close to any of the events. Even if the story did not fully meet my expectations, it is a good read with believable characters, interesting turns, and a good flow.

This is a book for you if you like suspense with interesting turns and sidelines, believable characters, and if you appreciate the art of forgoing excessive details.

Book description

A gripping psychological thriller with chilling twists, from a unique new voice.

Keller Baye and Rebecca Brown live on different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now he wants to destroy her.

This is the story of two families. One living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens?

About the author

Jenny Morton Potts was born in a smart, dull suburb of Glasgow where the only regular excitement was burglary. Attended a smart, dull school where the only regular excitement was the strap. Worked in smart, dull sales and marketing jobs until realising she was living someone else’s life.

Escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon who wanted to talk about The Da Vinci Code, wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England – and unlikely ever to leave again – Jenny, with assistance from loyal hound, walked and swam her way back to manageable health.

Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, partnered for 28 years, she ought to mention, and living with inspirational child in Derbyshire.

Jenny Morton Potts

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