📚’The story is beautifully written and the characters brought to life fully’. @CathyRy reviews Stolen Summers by @Annecdotist for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Cathy.

Cathy blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Cathy has been reading Stolen Summers by Anne Goodwin.

Book cover for Stolen Summers by Anne Goodwin
Stolen Summers by Anne Goodwin

After Matilda (Matty) Windsor became pregnant, she was taken to a home for unmarried mothers and forced to give her baby up for adoption. When she left she didn’t know she wouldn’t be going home again. She was taken to Ghyllside Hospital and left there. Matty initially had no idea Ghyllside was a mental institution. She had no idea why her father would let her be taken there or why she had to stay. Her upbringing meant she was quite naive and had no experience of the wider world.

Matty’s story is tragic but not uncommon during the dark days when unmarried mothers were classed as ‘moral defectives’ and more often than not treated with unbelievable mental and physical cruelty.

‘Not all the nuns were cruel. Some of the younger ones would address the girls kindly if Mother Superior were out out earshot. So Matilda counted her blessings when Sister Bernadette slipped onto the seat beside her in the taxicab, while a sombre man with a box-shaped head took the passenger seat at the front. He resembled a tradesman in his white cotton coat worn over an ordinary jacket and trousers; Matilda assumed the nuns had offered him a lift out of charity. He wasn’t introduced.’

Matty’s main concern was her six year old brother who she knew would be missing her, and wrote to him religiously over the years. Meanwhile as Matty tries to make sense of, and come to terms with her situation, she makes an unlikely friend in Doris, her polar opposite. Her friendship with Doris (and Eustace, who has his own story and is also very likeable) and Matty’s underlying determination not to see herself as mad or bad, helped to ease her sadness and rage at the injustices she suffered and see her through.

Stolen Summers is the hard hitting prequel to Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home, which is in my to be read pile. I can’t wait to read it after this. This short story alternates between the years 1939/40 and 1964 when attitudes regarding unmarried mothers thankfully had begun to change.

The story is beautifully written and the characters brought to life fully so you can’t help but be drawn to Matty and Doris in particular, while exploring a horrific time in the not too distant past.

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Book description

All she has left is her sanity. Will the asylum take that from her too?

In 1939, Matilda is admitted to Ghyllside hospital, cut off from family and friends. Not quite twenty, and forced to give up her baby for adoption, she feels battered by the cruel regime. Yet she finds a surprising ally in rough-edged Doris, who risks harsh punishments to help her reach out to the brother she left behind.

Twenty-five years later, the rules have relaxed, and the women are free to leave. How will they cope in a world transformed in their absence? Do greater dangers await them outside?

The poignant prequel to Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home is a tragic yet tender story of a woman robbed of her future who summons the strength to survive.

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📚’A series to be read chronologically, and savoured’, says @CathyRy. The New Shore (Little Island #3) by Caren Werlinger #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Cathy.

Cathy blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

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Rosie’s Book Review Team

Cathy has been reading The New Shore by Caren Werlinger.

Book cover for The New Shore by Caren Werlinger set against a free photo of an island from Pixabay.
The New Shore by Caren Werlinger

The New Shore is the third in the Little Sister Island series and it was so good to revisit the place and the people. Kathleen and Molly, Miss Louisa, Meredith and her parents and many more. There are big changes on the horizon for some of the residents, particularly Rebecca and Kathleen, with soul searching and internal second guessing decisions made when it seemed the path in life was clear. I enjoyed how characters were explored and also the general progression in all of the residents’ lives.

Kathleen’s estrangement from her parents, particularly her mother, who has never been interested in Kathleen or what’s going on in her life since her brother’s death, is brought to the fore by illness. Despite her mother’s disinterest and the hurt she has always felt, Kathleen steps up and hopes her mother might finally show some acknowledgement of her, if not actual affection. Apart from that there is a major challenge for Kathleen that she knew would happen eventually but was unprepared for it happening so soon.

‘Even now, she could see the wraithlike expression on her mother’s face as they’d gathered on the island’s ancient stone circle to perform the ceremony that would link Kathleen to Little Sister forever. While everyone else had celebrated Kathleen Halloran’s life, Kathleen had seen in her mother’s cold eyes that she only wished it had been Kathleen’s brother, Bryan, standing there.’

There are many challenges associated with living on a small, remote island and, although a new school is in the offing, meaning the island’s children wouldn’t have to be schooled on the mainland, the lack of access to medical care is an issue which is highlighted.

The characterisations are as flawless as ever, very realistic and dynamic, and the inclusion of new characters adds to the story, one in particular is an intriguing addition. The fascinating spiritual, cultural and magical elements were a huge draw from the start, as was the close knit community. The wonderfully descriptive prose brings the island, with its changing weather patterns, impressive landscape, ceremonies and traditions rooted in history, to vibrant life. The link between the island and islanders is an extremely strong one, nature and ancestry play a huge part in island life.

This is a series to be read chronologically, and savoured, in order to get the full impact of the characters, their lives and Little Sister Island.

Orange rose book description
Book description

Life on Little Sister Island is idyllic. Until it isn’t.
Now that the island will have its own teacher for the first time in decades, Rebecca Ahearn is tasked with making financial arrangements to build a new school room. While on the mainland, she barges straight into her first—and only—love, a woman she hasn’t seen in over forty years. Suddenly, the choices she has made for her life seem empty, and she begins to wonder if it was worth the sacrifice.
For Kathleen Halloran, distance and limited communication have been the keys to maintaining a tolerable relationship with her parents. She’d like to keep it that way, but when her father needs her help to take care of her mother—the woman she knows never loved her—she’s forced to confront the pain and resentment she can’t seem to let go of.
Kathleen’s mate, Molly Cooper, galvanizes the islanders to pitch in and help Kathleen and Rebecca weather the stormy seas ahead. The question is, can wounds that deep ever truly heal? Perhaps the magic of Little Sister Island can do what humans cannot—and make the impossible possible after all.
The New Shore is the third book in the Little Sister Island series.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

📚A Light-Hearted Mock-Memoir. @CathyRy reviews Price’s Price by Chris Maden, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Cathy.

Cathy blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Cathy has been reading Price’s Price by Chris Maden

Book cover for historical fiction set in Hong Kong, Price's Price by Chris Maden.

Price’s Price is described as ‘a light-hearted and elegiac mock-memoir’ and I think that sums it up pretty well. Stanley Featherstonehaugh Price spent his childhood in Zimbabwe and his boyhood in English schools. He had dreams of exploration in deepest Africa and beyond just as soon as he came into his inheritance, which he believed would become his when he reached his eighteenth birthday. It came as a huge blow to discover he wouldn’t get anything until he was either twenty-five or married. Stanley tried for the second option but his marriage strategy was scuppered when his intended married someone else.

‘Thus, I formed my creed. What the Fates have in store is beyond the ken of any mortal, but the point is to face their whims with a sense of adventure and fun. Not fatalism, which is an abnegation of life, but rather a vicarious acceptance of all that they threw in my path.’

Stanley decided to join the army, believing they might be persuaded to fund an expedition. After a year at Sandhurst and another in the mountains of Nepal with the Gurkhas, he was asked where he wanted to be stationed. Anywhere but Hong Kong was Stanley’s answer. So Hong Kong it was.

Stanley seemed to drift through life, at the mercy of his desires but lamenting at times the non realisation of his dreams of exploration. His was a louche lifestyle fuelled in large parts by sex, booze and the desire for wealth. With descriptive prose Chris Maden portrays a vivid picture of Stanley’s life in Hong Kong with all its ups and downs, bars, clubs, brief (and longer) encounters, businesses and wealth made then lost.

A very expressive, unusual and at times poignant read, with a memorable protagonist. I enjoyed it.

Orange rose book description
Book description

Stanley Price has dreamt since childhood of exploring the world. But, when the army posts him to Hong Kong in the 1960s, this officer, scoundrel and rake falls for the glamour, the girls and the gung-ho attitude. Swept along and seduced by this free-wheeling city, he is sucked into a delightful vortex of beer, women and bribes. His dreams remain ever-present but out of reach. Until, that is, he falls for a young lady who could be his redemption – or his nemesis.

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🕵🏻‍♀️A #Mystery Discovered While Renovating. @CathyRy reviews The Forever House by @LindaAcaster, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Cathy.

Cathy blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Cathy has been reading The Forever House by Linda Acaster

Book cover for women's fiction The Forever House by Linda Acaster
The Forever House by Linda Acaster

Carrie and her late husband, Jason, have made a career out of renovating houses to sell on. Carrie thought this last house was meant to be their forever home although Jason had other ideas, and Carrie was determined to finish the renovation despite people pressuring her to sell. Her son and his family live in Australia and, although they Skype regularly, the only person within striking distance is her very stylish, career orientated sister-in-law, Louise, who can’t understand why Carrie is carrying on with the renovation.

While removing wallpaper in one of the bedrooms, Carrie discovers childish drawings and numbers pencilled on the wall, a message and evidence of an old bolt that disturbed her deeply with its sinister implications.

‘My mind filled with ragged numbers climbing the corner of two walls. Had the edge of the wallpaper been teased back to complete the drawing unseen? To hide it? What for? Why not draw on paper, on a blackboard? Didn’t the child have one? This was a detached house with a large garden, not a back-to-back terrace with merely a yard. People of some substance would have lived here.’

With only so much manual work able to be carried out at one time, Carrie decides to find out as much as she can about the previous occupants of her house. The more she uncovers, it seems the likelihood of any kind of happy ending grows less and less.

Carrie’s investigations drive the story, and it wasn’t quite was I was expecting, so the more I read the more invested I became in finding out what actually happened in Carrie’s house. Written well with a well put together plot and fleshed out characters, The Forever House is an enjoyable and intriguing read albeit with an undertone of tragedy and sadness.

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Book description

A chilling discovery. A sense of foreboding. They say I’m obsessing. I’m not.

Resisting family pressure to sell the too-big house Carrie and her late husband began to renovate, she is determined to carry through their shared project to prove she can manage alone.

And she can, until a discovery beneath old wallpaper chills her to the bone.

As her need to know more becomes all-consuming, Carrie’s family fears she’s tipping into irretrievable obsession. Can she be dissuaded, or must she take that final step?

How far is too far to right a wrong?

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📚’Captivating!’ @CathyRy Reviews Lost Coast Literary by Ellie Alexander @ellielovesbooks, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Cathy.

Cathy blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Cathy has been reading Lost Coast Literary by Ellie Alexander

Lost Coast Literary by Ellie Alexander

Emily Bryant is living in a cramped apartment she shares with her roommates in New York as she begins her career in publishing. She’s gearing up to pitch for a book she desperately wants and which will be her first editorial project when she receives a text from her uncle. He’s contacting her to let her know her grandma has passed away. She, Emily, has been left the grand house that her grandmother loved. Emily needs to go to Cascata, on the Lost Coast of California immediately.

It had been over twenty years since Emily had been in Cascata due to a family falling out, the origins of which Emily had no memory. But apparently she needed to be there in person because there are specific requirements involving editing manuscripts that have to be met in order for her to inherit.

‘Crap. I let out a long sigh, barely noticing the overhead speaker announcing my stop. I gathered my things and held on while the train slowed. Why now? This was a plot twist I would have loved in fiction. Not in real life. I didn’t have time to stress about this. This pitch meeting could mean the difference between being stuck writing reader’s reports and rejection letters for another year or working on my own book for the first time.’

Emily had never understood why her father had ended his relationship with their family after the death of her mother, so consequently she hadn’t seen her grandmother since she was a child. She’s puzzled by her inheritance and even more so by the stipulations of the will. No-one in Cascata will explain the reason for the estrangement although they are mostly all happy to see Emily. Her father also refuses to elaborate. Emily and her cousin, Shay, strike up a friendship immediately. It’s to Shay that Emily turns when weird things begin to happen as she begins to fulfil the conditions of the will.

I loved this setting, the house and the pretty town, and although the town itself is fiction, there is a region called the Lost Coast in California. I enjoyed the well defined characters, loved the fact the story has a thread of magical realism and of course the literary theme. I haven’t read anything by this author before and didn’t know what to expect, but I found the story captivating and enjoyed the way it played out.

Orange rose book description
Book description

Book editor Emily Bryant finds herself unexpectedly in the charming town of Cascata on California’s Lost Coast, holding the keys to her grandmother’s rambling Victorian mansion. While sorting through her grandmother’s things, Emily learns that she must edit old manuscripts to inherit the estate. It’s a strange request from a family member who was basically a stranger.

Emily quickly realizes that there’s something different about these manuscripts. Any changes she makes come true. At first, she embraces the gift. She has a chance to help characters find true love or chart a new course for their future. But then things go terribly wrong. Her edits have the opposite effect. The sweet and funky seaside community of Cascata is reeling from the chaos Emily has created. Everything she thought she believed about her family and her past is in jeopardy, and no amount of editing can fix the damage she’s done.

Then she finds one last manuscript. If Emily can get this edit right, maybe she’ll have a chance to create a new narrative for herself and everyone around her.

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🕵️‍♂️Vintage #crimefiction🕵️‍♂️@CathyRy reviews a Shanti de Silva investigation. Break From Nuala by @harrietsteel1, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Cathy.

Cathy blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.com

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Rosie’s Book Review Team

Cathy has been reading Break from Nuala by Harriet Steel

Book cover for Break From Nuala by Harriet Steel
Break From Nuala By Harriet Steel

Ceylon hasn’t yet been affected by the war in Europe and Inspector Shanti de Silva and his wife, Jane are taking a short holiday at the luxuriously appointed Cinnamon Lodge in the coastal town of Galle. As always when they were away from Nuala, de Silva was a little concerned how people would view a Ceylonese man and a British woman as a married couple but any worries were soon laid to rest.

What was meant to be a restful break was soon interrupted by a couple of incidents at the hotel — a visit by the local Chief Inspector which de Silva didn’t think was routine and a group of guests, famous diver Elodie Renaud and her party, were taken ill by what appeared to be food poisoning. Seemingly unremarkable, if unfortunate, events initially, but then de Silva couldn’t help but put his policeman’s hat on and investigate surreptitiously when a nightwatchman is found dead and a guest mysteriously disappears.

‘No wonder the manager had looked so uncomfortable, thought de Silva. Were it to come out, a death on the premises, particularly such a grim one, would do the hotel’s reputation no good at all. He shuddered. It sounded like the dead man was the same nightwatchman he’d talked to on the evening he and Jane had arrived at the hotel. He might well have been killed not long after they spoke.’

Break from Nuala is the eleventh outing for Shanti de Silva, and is just as enjoyable as the previous books, although I did miss the regulars. Jane takes a more active role than usual and de Silva treads carefully as he has no jurisdiction in Galle. The cast of characters is diverse with several potential suspects. As the mystery begins to unfold and the investigation gains momentum things edge towards danger.

An enjoyable and well written cosy mystery set in a wonderful location.

Orange rose book description
Book description

It is autumn 1940, and Inspector de Silva and his wife Jane are looking forward to a well-earned holiday. But their hopes of a relaxing break in the picturesque city of Galle beside the Indian Ocean are dashed when death, mysterious illnesses, and a missing guest cast a gloomy shadow.
As they’re drawn into the investigation, the mystery deepens. Is there a villain amongst their fellow guests or further afield? The search for answers will lead them into great danger that has repercussions far beyond the island of Ceylon.

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‘A fun, entertaining series’ @CathyRy reviews Cosy #Mystery Madam Tulip and the Rainbow’s End by @DaveAhernWriter

Today’s team review is from Cathy. She blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Cathy has been reading Madam Tulip and the Rainbow’s End by David Ahern.

Madam Tulip and the Rainbow’s End, the fifth instalment of this popular series, finds Derry O’Donnell and her fellow thespian and good friend, ex Navy Seal, Bruce, left to pick up the pieces when the rest of the cast desert the touring production they were involved in, without paying. Not only that, they made off with the box office takings leaving Derry and Bruce with the hotel and bar bill for everyone.

Luckily Derry has her alter ego, Madame Tulip, to fall back on, so while Bruce searches for a job, Derry dons her Madame Tulip costume to tell fortunes at a charity event to help work off their debt. Derry’s uncanny gift is the result of her being the daughter of the seventh son of a seventh son. Madam Tulip is the character created by Derry and her friends and transforms her into an elegant, mature lady who has a natural affinity with Tarot and crystals, which helps her clients to find answers to their questions.

As a result of being forced to stay on, Derry and Bruce get caught up in a mystery and a crypto currency puzzle involving an inheritance. And who, if anyone, was responsible for the death of a talented stone mason. Derry and Bruce are on the case although it’s anything but straightforward.

This is a fun, entertaining series, due in no small measure to Derry’s parents, Jacko and Vanessa, and their one-upmanship antics, which always frustrates Derry as she is in the middle, implored by both sides to make the other see sense. The characters are well developed and their relationships and interactions believable. Derry has grown more comfortable and self assured in her role as Madam Tulip, especially since she stopped telling fortunes at celebrity events and parties as it seemed to lead her into the sort of company she’d much rather not keep.

The character driven plot has enough suspects for confusion, cryptic clues to a puzzle, danger and a great setting.

Desc 1

On the private island of a wealthy banker, a young and talented stonemason falls from a cliff. A tragic accident? Or murder?

The dead man’s sister is obsessed with justice and will stop at nothing.
A glamorous French widow and her heart-throb son are certain they have been cheated of their legacy.
A daughter is bequeathed an island mansion beyond her means.
An enigmatic letter hints at a hidden fortune.

After the collapse of her theatrical tour, actress Derry O’Donnell must work to pay her way in a West of Ireland village. As Madam Tulip, she tells fortunes for a local charity only to be drawn into a maze of mystery and intrigue.

Madam Tulip and the Rainbow’s End is the fifth in the Madam Tulip series of mystery-adventures, in which out-of-luck actress Derry O’Donnell finds the promise at the End of the Rainbow may not be what it seems.

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1934 ‘A striking picture of the hardships of that era’. @CathyRy reviews #HistoricalFiction The Unveiling Of Polly Forest by @CWhitneyAuthor @steffercat

Today’s team review is from Cathy. She blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Cathy has been reading The Unveiling Of Polly Forrest by Charlotte Whitney

The Unveiling of Polly Forrest is set in Michigan in 1934 during the Great Depression and presents a striking picture of the hardships of that era. For the rural farming communities times were extremely tough. The prices for crops dropped so much that some farmers were left with no choice but to either sell up or lose their farms to foreclosure. There were no luxuries like indoor plumbing, extra money for clothes or anything but the most basic foods.

Polly lives with her husband, Sam, on the farm next to that of her sister, Sarah and brother-in-law, Reverend Wesley Johnson. Polly is young, pretty and immature, preoccupied with her own situation and not at all cut out out to be a farmer’s wife. She’s only been married a short time and the considerate and agreeable man she fell in love with has been replaced by a controlling bully. When her husband is killed in a freak accident Polly is at her sister’s house but that fact doesn’t seem to exclude her from suspicion due to the nature of the death.

‘The elephant in the room, of course, was that everyone in the congregation had seen Polly’s bruises and heard her story about falling off the hay wagon when she broke her ribs. I was sure it remained the main topic of conversation. Maybe Samuel Forrest was a cruel husband, but Polly, “Pushy Polly,” as Sarah had often nicknamed her, should not have rolled over and succumbed to his beatings, if that, indeed, had happened. Sarah and I had always been next door. She could have come to us for refuge at any time, day or night.’

The story is narrated from alternating first person perspectives — Polly, Sarah and Wesley, all flawed, well defined and complex. This drives the story and shows the individual points of view as events unfold. The investigation into Sam’s death begins to uncover much more that expected and puts the family in danger.

Sarah and Polly’s relationship is strained at times, more so from Sarah who had been, and perhaps still was, a little jealous of Polly. Both have their own differing versions of their childhood, but it was good to see the development of their characters as the story progresses. The twisty plot kept my interest throughout, it’s entertaining, sad in parts and the historical aspect is very informative — not only about the plight of the farmers but things like telephones with party lines and how people could listen in to everyone else’s phone calls.

There’s drama, heartbreak and several serious issues covered, and even if I didn’t quite see what Wesley’s fall from grace added to the story, I enjoyed it very much.

Desc 1

– Rural Michigan, 1934

When her new husband Sam perishes in a bizarre farm accident, would-be milliner Polly soon becomes the prime suspect in his murder. As she digs for evidence to clear her name, Polly falls into a sinister web implicating her in a nefarious crime ring being investigated by White House Police. Polly’s life and those of her family are at stake.

Narrated by Polly, her self-righteous older sister, Sarah, and Sarah’s well-meaning, but flawed husband Wesley, a Methodist minister, the story follows several twists through the landscape of the rural Midwest.

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‘An easy, engaging read, exploring the many complex facets of love.’ @CathyRy reviews Shoot The Moon by Bella Cassidy.

Today’s team review is from Cathy. She blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Cathy has been reading Shoot The Moon by Bella Cassidy

SHOOT THE MOON: An alternative game of hearts by [Bella  Cassidy]

Tassie Morris is a successful wedding photographer, working for a popular bridal magazine. She has a complicated relationship with her mother, loves her friends, her job and her garden and is still hung up on the loathsome Alex. They dated several years ago until Alex upped sticks and moved to America. He’s married with children but that doesn’t stop him ‘catching up’ with Tassie when he’s back in the UK.

When one of the scheduled wedding shoots for Kiss The Bride is cancelled at short notice, Tassie is offered a job in Scotland. The wedding is taking place on a mountain and initially Tassie isn’t best pleased, but a job is a job. There she meets the wonderful, caring Dan…but unfortunately the bad penny has turned up yet again.

I was fascinated by the descriptions of the way Tassie works as a photographer, and the awareness of family dynamics and interactions being witness to the whole day, through a lens, allows.

‘As she framed the shot, Tassie knew it would be beautiful. It was important that she understood the workings of each family she photographed, for it made succh a difference to the results. All morning she’d watched the physical affection between Clarissa and her mother, so she’d been prepared for it happening in the service as well. And, glancing at the back of her camera, she was confident the shot would capture the essence of the day.’

Told in the third person from Tassie’s perspective, the writing flows well and I enjoyed the different locations, including Somerset and Exeter, and particularly the image inducing descriptions of Scotland and the eventful journey to get to the wedding. There are several other issues covered, including family relationships and secrets, loss and grief, among others, giving the story depth and I did enjoy the touch of the supernatural, as well as the references to cheesemaking and dog breeding.

I found Shoot the Moon an easy, engaging read, exploring the many complex facets of love. The characters are believable and mostly likeable and, although I did want to give Tassie a good talking to sometimes, it was good to see her evolve and take control of her life and emotions.

Desc 1

When the love you miss the most is the one you’ve always had.

Tassie loves many things: her friends, her job, her garden. Even her first boyfriend. But there’s a kind of love she just can’t find.

Until, in losing everything, she sees what she needed most was there all along.

Sometimes it’s not the person you need to forget, but the person you need to forgive.

Shoot the Moon is the sweetest of bittersweet novels, combining two very different love stories. One of which will probably make you cry.

Tassie Morris is everyone’s favourite wedding photographer, famous for her photos of offbeat ceremonies and alternative brides. Yet commitment is proving impossible for Tassie herself, who cannot forget her first love.

When she’s sent to photograph a ceremony on Schiehallion – the Fairy Hill of the Scottish Caledonians – she meets Dan, who might be the one to make her forget her past. That is, until a family crisis begins a chain of events that threaten to destroy not only Tassie’s love life, but her entire career.

Set in a colourful world of extraordinary weddings, Shoot the Moon explores the complexities of different kinds of love: romantic love, mother love, friendship. And, ultimately, the importance of loving yourself.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

SHOOT THE MOON: An alternative game of hearts by [Bella  Cassidy]

A Story About Secrets And Life. @CathyRy Reviews Sugar And Snails by @Annecdotist For Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Cathy. She blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Cathy has been reading Sugar And Snails by Anne Goodwin

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Diana Dodsworth is a psychology professor at Newcastle University. After a confused, unhappy childhood and making a decision in her mid teens that impacted on her in ways she didn’t expect, leaving her with a host of insecurities, she chooses now to live alone with her cat and tends generally not to get too involved with people. Privacy is very important to Diana and her past is something she keeps very much to herself.

Meeting recently divorced Simon at her friend’s birthday party is the catalyst for an upheaval in Diana’s somewhat lonely and reclusive lifestyle, particularly when he invites her to join him on a trip to Cairo during his sabbatical.

‘When I pointed out my red front door I expected Simon to stop in the middle of the road and let me hop out. Instead he reversed into a space a few doors along and switched off the engine. Was I supposed to invite him in and, if I did, would he assume there was more on offer than coffee? Did he even want more-than-coffee? Did he think I did? Or was there no deeper meaning to his parking the car than a wish to avoid blocking the road while we got my bike out of the back.’

Diana’s story is revealed in alternating flashbacks, and the more we get to know her, the more understanding and sympathy she generates. It’s sad that her decision all those years ago didn’t really lead to a happier life. She wants to keep her secret at all costs and has effectively stalled her life. Meeting Simon has made her begin to re-evaluate the way she lives, and how confiding in the people closest to her might affect her going forward.

Sugar and Snails is a remarkable and poignant story, covering several significant topics, particularly the main one, which Anne Goodwin deals with sympathetically. I like the fact that we witness events unfolding from both Diana’s perspective and also that of her parents…the confusion, uncertainty, not knowing how to deal with the position they find themselves in. The characters are wonderfully drawn and realistic. It’s only when Diana’s secret is revealed that things, or situations read about previously, fall into place. I had no idea until then, although looking back perhaps there were subtle clues.

Sugar and Snails is described as ‘A triumphant mid-life coming-of-age story about bridging the gap between who we are and who we feel we ought to be.’ That sums it up in a nutshell but there’s an awful lot going on in between those gaps.

Desc 1

At fifteen, she made a life-changing decision. Thirty years on, it’s time to make another.

When Diana escaped her misfit childhood, she thought she’d chosen the easier path. But the past lingers on, etched beneath her skin, and life won’t be worth living if her secret gets out.

As an adult, she’s kept other people at a distance… until Simon sweeps in on a cloud of promise and possibility. But his work is taking him to Cairo, the city that transformed her life. She’ll lose Simon if she doesn’t join him. She’ll lose herself if she does.

Sugar and Snails charts Diana’s unusual journey, revealing the scars from her fight to be true to herself. A triumphant mid-life coming-of-age story about bridging the gap between who we are and who we feel we ought to be.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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