Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT ECHOES OF TIME by @AnneAllen21 #WW2 #HistFic Occupied #Guernsey

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

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Echoes of Time by Anne Allen

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I fell in love with books about the Guernsey Isles when I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows. Until then I had known nothing of the Channel Islands and what their inhabitants had endured during WWII. This book returned me there and had the added attraction of being a time slip novel, alternating between the present time and the time during that war.

In 1940, Olive Falla, a fairly independent young woman, who works as a farmhand on her father’s far, married Bill Falla. Falla owns his own farm, and Olive thinks this is the best future for her. She soon discovers she’s made a horrible mistake – Falla is a harsh, unloving, and demanding husband, who sees his wife as a slave to work the farm, take care of him, and give him children. Soon he finds any excuse to beat her. By chance, when collecting sticks for scarce firewood on an estate taken over by the German occupation, Olive meets Major Wolfgang Brecht, a veterinarian. She falls in love with the gentle and caring Wolfgang, who makes excuses to visit the farm to inspect the cows.

Flash forward to 2010, when Natalie Ogier returns to her homeland of Guernsey to escape her stalker, a man with whom she had a relationship but who turned abusive. She buys a beautiful cottage, built on the site of a secluded and burned out farmhouse. Her immediate neighbor is Stuart, the grandson of the original owners, Olive and Bill. His mother, their child, has lived off the island since she was old enough to be on her own, leaving her mother and her life there behind.  Stuart knows nothing of his grandparents because his mother is silent on her past.  When strange and eerie things begin to happen in the cottage, accompanied by a threatening voice, Natalie initially tries to tough it out on her own. Eventually she confides in Stuart and her parents.

Natalie wonders whose spirit is inhabiting her cottage, and after meeting Stuart’s mother, she becomes convinced that it has something to do with his grandparents. What happened to Olive, Bill and Wolfgang? What spirit inhabits Natalie’s cottage? Is it malevolent and how can it be banished? What links Stuart and his mother to that place? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It has several compelling threads and the jumps back and forth in time left me hanging and wanting to read on. The only problem was the prolonged diversion to France, where Natalie is invited to attend Stuart’s mother’s marriage to a gentle and understanding man. It went on far too long, and added virtually nothing to the progress of the story, so I skipped through it. I think it could have been omitted or vastly shortened.

Other than that, the author has created believable characters, lovely descriptions of Guernsey, and lots of tension, along with a healthy dose of history.  It is clear why she is a popular author. Well worth the read!

Book Description

Betrayal, injustice and revenge echo down the years… 

1940. Olive marries farmer Bill Falla. The Germans occupy Guernsey. 
All too soon Olive realises she’s made a mistake. 
Her life changes when she meets Wolfgang, a German officer- 
but there’s a price to pay. . . 

2010. Natalie Ogier returns to Guernsey to escape an abusive relationship – only to be plagued by odd happenings in her beautiful cottage on the site of a derelict and secluded farm. Disturbing dreams, disembodied voices and uncanny visions from the past. She becomes increasingly ill at ease as someone else’s past catches up with her own… 
Her only immediate neighbour, Stuart, is the grandson of the original owners, Bill and Olive. 

Thrown together in a bid to find out what really happened to Olive, can they each survive the repercussions of the past and move on? 

About the author

Anne Allen

Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. She was born in Rugby, to an English mother and Welsh father. As a result she spent many summers with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learnt to love the sea. Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.
By profession Anne was a psychotherapist but has long had creative ‘itches’, learning to mosaic, paint furniture, interior design and sculpt. At the back of her mind the itch to write was always present but seemed too time-consuming for a single mum with a need to earn a living. Now retired from the ‘day job’, there’s more time to write and Anne has now published five books in The Guernsey Novels series (as at August 2016). A sixth will be published in 2017.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT SERENGETI by @Rockwell_JB #SciFi Artificial Intelligence

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

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Serengeti by JB Rockwell

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This book is not your usual sci-fi outing. For those who were anticipating something hard-core, it will disappoint. For me, the humanity of the main character (an Artificial Intelligence or AI) and her two sidekick robots were the compelling draw.

The Meridian Alliance battle fleet is tasked with finding and destroying the ship of the Dark Star Revolution, which have been attacking Alliance members and with whom they have had a decades-long war. The ships constituting the Meridian Alliance fleet are varied, from the humongous and stubborn battle group commander Brutus to Serengeti, the Valkyrie-class warship and her sisters, who are equipped with the latest iteration and most highly developed AI. The star ships themselves are the bodies of these AIs, but ships still have a human crew, ostensibly for their ability to solve problems intuitively. It is clear from the outset that the human crews are subservient to the AIs, and while some captains have difficulty accepting their roles, Hendrickson, Serengeti’s captain, has a solid working relationship with her. Serengeti admires many of Hendrickson’s qualities, which she comes to emulate.

Underestimating the strength of the Dark Star fleet, the Meridian Alliance ships are decimated and the decision is made by Central Control to withdraw. As the ships leave one by one via hyperspace jumps, a booby-trapped vessel explodes near Serengeti just as she makes her jump, and she is forced to drop out of hyperspace in an unknown and empty location – her body wrecked and most of her crew dead. She herds the remaining crew, including Captain Hendrickson, into an escape pod, where they are cryogenically frozen so they can be slung into space. The escape pod is unfortunately stuck within the ship, and over the next decades, we follow Serengeti as she and TIG-442, a worker robot whose body she can inhabit, work to free the pod and save her humans. Confounding her efforts are the loss of the ship’s energy cells and the appearance of a ship reclaiming space junk, with the threat to take her apart.

The character of Serengeti is all too human, as her devotion to the remaining crew and her robot sidekick demonstrate and the relationships evolve. That is what drew me to the book. There are some drawbacks: TIG creates a mate, then grows a family with the addition of a third smaller version of itself – this and perhaps their mannerisms are a bit too cute. The initial battle sequence continued too long, frustrating me (as well as Serengeti) and the repeated descriptions of the wreckage of Serengeti became a little monotonous. However, the concept of the book and the good storytelling kept me reading and the drawbacks are minor compared to my reading enjoyment!

I think there are many readers, both sci-fi fans and not, who will like this book!

Book Description

It was supposed to be an easy job: find the Dark Star Revolution Starships, destroy them, and go home. But a booby-trapped vessel decimates the Meridian Alliance fleet, leaving Serengeti-a Valkyrie class warship with a sentient AI brain-on her own; wrecked and abandoned in an empty expanse of space. On the edge of total failure, Serengeti thinks only of her crew. She herds the survivors into a lifeboat, intending to sling them into space. But the escape pod sticks in her belly, locking the cryogenically frozen crew inside. Then a scavenger ship arrives to pick Serengeti’s bones clean. Her engines dead, her guns long silenced, Serengeti and her last two robots must find a way to fight the scavengers off and save the crew trapped inside her.

About the author

J.B. Rockwell

J.B. Rockwell is a New Englander, which is important to note because it means she’s (a) hard headed, (b) frequently stubborn, and (c) prone to fits of snarky sarcasticness. As a kid she subsisted on a steady diet of fairy tales, folklore, mythology augmented by generous helpings of science fiction and fantasy. As a quasi-adult she dreamed of being the next Indiana Jones and even pursued (and earned!) a degree in anthropology. Unfortunately, those dreams of being an archaeologist didn’t quite work out. Through a series of twists and turns (involving cats, a marriage, and a SCUBA certification, amongst other things) she ended up working in IT for the U.S. Coast Guard and now writes the types of books she used to read. Not a bad ending for an Indiana Jones wannabe…

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT IREX by @CarlRackman Victorian Seafaring HistFic #Thriller

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

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Irex by Carl Rackman

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Book Review: #Victorian historical mystery #psychological thriller #seafaring tale

 Irex is Carl Rackman’s debut novel, and in terms of creating a feeling of doom and tension in totally bleak surroundings, this author succeeds too well!

Set in the late Victorian era, the story alternates between the maiden voyage of the steel hulled, tall ship Irex, and the investigation into the causes of its wreck and the fate of the survivors amongst her passengers. The settings: The Firth of Clyde, the North Atlantic and the Isle of Wight – all in late winter with unceasing rain, snow and sleet.

Will Hutton, a good and decent married man, has been chosen to captain Irex on this voyage, the ship carrying a cargo of three thousand tons of pig iron to Rio de Janeiro. Hutton has decades of sailing experience, having served on such ships since he was a boy. In addition to the cargo, there are three passengers on Irex: Salvation Army missionaries George and Elizabeth Barstow and a mysterious man of means, Edward Clarence. Captain Hutton’s developing relationships with each of these passengers is a complex subplot, more so when he discovers that one of them hides a horrifying past and none of them are who they seem. The unending storms preventing Irex from making headway on her journey and an early death of a crew member foretells an ill-fated voyage. Lack of sleep, his physical attraction to Mrs. Barstow, challenges to his authority and blackmail all threaten Hutton’s ability to save his ship and challenge his sanity.

Irex wrecks off the Isle of Wight six weeks after sailing from Scotland, and a county coroner, Frederick Blake, is sent to the island to hold an inquiry into the cause. The inquiry is compromised from the start by the existence of a mole within the procedure, and with a disturbing lack of information and witnesses, Blake finds he himself must unravel the events dooming the ship, as well as the character of the crew and its passengers, to reach a finding. When he discovers that powerful forces within the British aristocracy are working to impede his investigation, he is more determined than ever to find out what actually occurred aboard Irex.

The atmosphere of this mystery is exceptional and the author’s attention to detail, especially in the chapters dealing with the voyage and the sailing of such a large ship, show an incredible depth of research. The ship, its crew, and their responsibilities are finely delineated – as a sailor myself, I appreciated the descriptions.

The author has created a rich Victorian world and spun the tail with colourful, unforgettable characters, weaving in intrigue and mystery. When the truth about Clarence is revealed, the plot unveils a deeper depravity – for me a light bulb moment.

My only complaint is the slow pace at which the plot unfolds. The book is dense, very dense, and there were stretches that could have been shortened significantly without affecting the content. I truly wanted to digest it all but wanted more to get to the resolution!

Mr. Rackman is an exceptional writer and this is a superb first outing – a psychological thriller, a seafaring adventure, and first rate murder mystery. I look forward to his next book.

Book Description

In the harsh winter of December 1889, the sailing vessel Irex leaves Scotland bound for Rio de Janeiro. She carries three thousand tons of pig iron and just three passengers for what should be a routine voyage. But Captain Will Hutton discovers that one of his passengers hides a horrifying secret. 

When the Irex is wrecked off the Isle of Wight six weeks later, it falls to the county coroner, Frederick Blake, to begin to unravel the events that overtook the doomed ship — but he soon finds that powerful forces within the British Establishment are working to thwart him. Locked in a race against time and the sinister agents sent to impede him, he gradually discovers that nothing aboard the Irex is what it first seemed… 

Irex is an atmospheric mystery, set in a rich Victorian world, packed with intrigue, twists and colourful characters — the spellbinding first novel by Carl Rackman.

About the author

Carl Rackman

Carl Rackman is a former airline pilot with interests in seafaring and mysteries. His reading is multi-genre – historical, sci-fi, fantasy and techno – but psychological thrillers are prime. He started writing in 2016 and Irex is his first novel. He lives in Surrey, UK.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

WINNER and Runner-Up of the Mystery Thriller 2015 Book Award

Winner Mystery Thriller

The 2015 Mystery Thriller Golden Rose Book award went to

Rose Edmunds and her book Concealment

Rose and concealment

Meet Rose

Rose Edmunds lives in Brighton with her husband David. She gained a degree in mathematics at the University of Sussex and a PhD from Cardiff University, before qualifying as a chartered accountant and embarking on a successful career advising entrepreneurial businesses together with their owners. In 2007, after more than 20 years working for leading accountancy firms, she jumped off the corporate hamster wheel and now writes financial thrillers with a strong ethical theme. Her writing draws heavily on her considerable insight into the business world and in particular the uncomfortable conflict between individual and corporate objectives. Rose is also a trustee of Brightside, a charity helping young people to access career and education opportunities they might not have believed were available to them.

Catch up with Rose on Twitter @RoseEdmunds

Book Description

Amy is at the top of her game as a finance professional despite a traumatic childhood. But the higher she climbs, the greater her fear of falling.
Her new boss Ed sniffs out insecurity like a shark smelling blood. He’s trashed dozens of careers on a whim and has Amy lined up as his next victim.
When a young colleague is murdered, Amy’s fragile equilibrium is shattered. A client’s fraud may be linked to the killing, but no one seems to care.
Caught in a tangle of business and personal connections, and fighting for her sanity, can Amy find the moral courage to uncover the truth?

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

The Silver Award went to

Robert Leigh and his book Any Man Joe

Robert and Any man

Meet Robert

After bartending his way around Spain and the West End of London, Robert Leigh returned to his home city of Liverpool and began writing. Leigh’s works include The Retribution Trilogy (third book currently in production) and From Lime Street to Yirgacheffe (a true story, of sorts…).

Find Robert on Twitter @ScreamingMagpie

Book Description

Before Shaun, there was Joe.
DI Edwards was called to the scene of a shooting. Four of the deceased were well known to him. The fifth man remained a mystery.
Until he woke up.
His name was Joe, a misfit shelf stacker living on the Forest Estate. As the investigation continues, DI Edwards finds himself being drawn deeper into Joe’s world of vigilante revenge. But will the truth of Joe’s actions ever fully be revealed?

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Final congratulations to all the Mystery thriller nominees.

Geoffrey West and The Jack Lockwood Diaries

Noelle Granger with Death In A Dacron Sail

Rob Sinclair with Rise Of The Enemy

Faith Mortimer with A Deadly Learning

 

 

 

The #RBRT Reviewer Profiles – Noelle Granger

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Reviewers on the #RBRT are very busy hard working people who give their time freely, so I thought it was about time readers had the chance to meet them and find out a bit more about them.

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Noelle A. Granger lives in Chapel Hill, North Caroline, USA

Noelle’ s team reviews can be found at : http:/saylingaway.wordpress.com

Plus here; Links to book reviews can (occasionally, when I think about it) be found on my Facebook pages: Noelle A. Granger and The Rhe Brewster Mystery Series

Noelle enjoys; mysteries, of course, but also historical fiction, sci-fi, biographies, along with the occasional chick lit.

When reviewing for the team, Noelle prefers to buy the books. Noelle says; “Authors need the income, and I feel no obligation at the outset when reviewing.”

Hobbies & Interests;  are swimming, knitting, cooking, and flying in small planes (I am not a pilot, though). I am a great aficionado of the sport of lacrosse and have season tickets for both football and basketball at the University of North Carolina. Go Tar Heels! I am also a gourmand, and as a result, am constantly trying to lose weight by working out in a gym when my pool is closed in the winter. Last but not least, with my son in Germany and my daughter in LA, plus the needed research for my book, my husband and I travel!

We have two pets, down from probably 15 at one time: a Garfield-size, orange and    indulged cat, Elijah Moon, and a very active (even at 15), mostly Jack Russell terrier, (She’s No) Angel.

Reading Soft edge

I asked, “What new genres have you tried from the review team list?”

I think I’ve tried quite a few genres from the review team list, which has been a great growing experience.

“What genres make you step out of your comfort zone?”

Fantasy – with vampires, werewolves, wizards, and other strange and evil beings – takes me out of my comfort zone. I am a huge fan of Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and J. K. Rowling, so perhaps fantasy with a strong moral overtone attracts me.

“What do you look for in a book?”

For me, a book must have a strong plot with well-limned characters, ones to which I can relate. Huge information dumps without dialog give me wrinkles and I want to hear the dialog running fluidly in my mind.

“Book Styles you don’t enjoy?”

All in all, there is probably no book style I don’t or can’t enjoy. Considering I read cereal boxes when I was little, I like pretty much everything from shorts to series to sagas.

“Do you read & review Non-Fiction?”

I do read non-fiction, although I don’t believe I’ve ever reviewed a non-fiction book. My favorites are biographies of people who played larger-than-life roles in history. I love to learn about them, what makes them tick, what life was like at the time: Churchill, Truman, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abigail Adams, the Wright Brothers, and of course, the Tudors and the Medici, to name just a very few.

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Death In A Dacron Sail by Noelle Granger @rhebrewster #SundayBlogShare

Today’s team review is from Luccia, she blogs at http://lucciagray.wordpress.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Luccia has read Death In A Dacron Sail by Noelle Granger

Death In A Dacron Sail by Noelle Granger

Death In A Dacron Sail by Noelle Granger

A Character-Driven Crime Novel

 

Death in a Dacron sail is a cosy yet exciting crime mystery. The plot is tightly woven with plenty of forensic information provided by narrator Rhe Brewster, nurse and amateur sleuth.

Rhe is helping the Local Police Department, at the small coastal town of Pequod, Maine, as consultant, with an unpleasant crime involving a missing child. There is plenty of fast-paced action and suspense, in spite of the idyllic small town location, and there are many surprises and twists, making it a gripping page turner. It’s also very well written. The prose flows so smoothly that it is a pleasure to read.

However, the very best part of this novel is the characterization. Readers won’t be interested in a good plot and wonderful writing if they can’t engage with the characters. Detective, crime thrillers, and mysteries often run the risk of being plot driven in detriment of character development, but that’s not the case with Noelle Granger’s novels. On the contrary, the reader will love Rhe, because she is clever, generous and caring, but she’s also naïve, sometimes insecure, and others too patient with people who just don’t deserve it! I’ve wanted to tell her to be careful with someone who’s close to her since book one (no name so no spoilers!), and to stand up to her bullying boss!

The other characters, both ‘good’ and ‘bad’, are also so real they almost jump out of the page to watch you reading!

Death in a Dacron Sail is the second book in the Rhe Brewster Mysteries, but it can be read as a stand-alone novel, because the criminal cases are independent, and although the main characters are the same, there is enough background information for readers to feel comfortable reading book two alone or first. However, if you read this book, you will no doubt want to read book one, Death on a Red Canvas Chair, too!

I’m impatiently waiting for book three because although I’m sure Rhe Brewster will be solving another riveting case, and I’m just as interested in finding out how her personal life will develop in this engaging series.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

Letter R April A to Z Challenge #AtoZChallenge

 

Day 18 April A to Z Challenge my theme is characters from books I’ve read plus some audience participation.

Letter R is for Rhe Brewster from Death In A Dacron Sail by Noelle Granger.

Death In A Dacron Sail by Noelle Granger

Death In A Dacron Sail by Noelle Granger

Death In A Dacron Sail is a Rhe Brewster mystery set in Maine. Rhe is a consultant for the Pequod police and a part-time nurse in the ER unit of the local hospital. The book opens with Rhe and her brother-in-law Chief of Police Sam Brewster being called to a local lobster boat where a finger has been pulled up with the lobster pots. Hospital pathologist Marsh Adams identifies it as a child’s finger and when a body is washed up a few days later an investigation opens up. Rhe is asked to go over old cases of missing children which have never been solved and with the help of the FBI the finger and body are a match to one unsolved mystery.

Trouble follows Rhe, she’s pregnant with her second child, but her relationship with her husband is taking a down turn. Add to this an assault by a drunk whilst she’s at work and a hospital boss who takes a dislike to her, and you have a lot of cross-fire as well as the missing children. A good mystery with more to come from Rhe Brewster in the next book.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

For my audience participation I’m asking readers to create book titles using the letter R for the picture below.

A book title and cover picture can often make or break a book sale. Is a book cover eye-catching? Does the book title appeal to the reader?

Have fun creating book titles from my own pictures, you might even think about a genre they could fit.

Rocks

Leave your answers in the comments below and I’ll be choosing my favourites.

Today’s randomly chosen challengers for you to visit

https://northofandover.wordpress.com/

http://nothyacinthbouquet.blogspot.co.uk/

http://lifefaithincaneyhead.blogspot.co.uk/

https://kaygetscrafty.wordpress.com/kay-gets-crafty/

http://www.albomadventures.com/

Throughout the challenge we are asking readers to leave a comment, thank you.

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Death In A Dacron Sail by Noelle Granger

Death In A Dacron SailDeath In A Dacron Sail is a Rhe Brewster mystery set in Maine. Rhe is a consultant for the Pequod police and a part-time nurse in the ER unit of the local hospital. The book opens with Rhe and her brother-in-law Chief of Police Sam Brewster being called to a local lobster boat where a finger has been pulled up with the lobster pots. Hospital pathologist Marsh Adams identifies it as a child’s finger and when a body is washed up a few days later an investigation opens up. Rhe is asked to go over old cases of missing children which have never been solved and with the help of the FBI the finger and body are a match to one unsolved mystery.
Trouble follows Rhe, she’s pregnant with her second child, but her relationship with her husband is taking a down turn. Add to this an assault by a drunk whilst she’s at work and a hospital boss who takes a dislike to her, and you have a lot of cross-fire as well as the missing children. A good mystery with more to come from Rhe Brewster in the next book.
Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Good Deeds Challenge, Year 2 week 40

Welcome to my second Year of Good Deeds, a challenge I set myself during April 2013. I decided to do at least one Good Deed a day for a whole year, now I am into my second year.

New Good DeedsThis week I’ve been doing the following;

January 18th – Sorting out book reviews, books for the team list and signing up for a blog tour. Visited my parents. Have started reading After The Goode by Cary Allen Stone

January 19th – My morning helping at school, a walk in the sun at lunchtime and picked up litter on my route.

January 20th – My list of books to review is growing ever longer again, but I hate to turn down any book. Took a quick walk to town and picked up litter. Gave money to a charity collecting for children with cerebral palsy.

January 21th – The postman delivered 3 books for review today, lucky me. A nippy walk in the cold today, picked up litter. Reading The Devil, the Diva and The Deep Blue Sea by Margaret Langstaff

January 22nd – Today I’m reading Death In A Dacron Sail a Rhe Brewster mystery by Noelle Granger. Went for my lunchtime walk and picked up litter. Offered to help a friend set up an account on Twitter.

January 23th – Began reading Trading Vincent Crow by D.C.J Wardle – dark British Humour about a young man determined to better himself. Left me chuckling. A cold day today so it was a power walk and power litter pick.

January 24th – Today I read The Serenity Stone Murder by Marianne Jones a cosy mystery set in Thunder Bay, Canada.

What book have you read multiple times? Features The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Last week I threw you a post asking “What book have you read multiple times?” http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5zp

Author Noelle Granger tells us about The Pillars of Earth by Ken Follett

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There are a number of books I’ve reread, but the one that comes to mind is Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. This is a long book (400,000 words) the author found it exhausting to write, but it was worth all his effort and the book of which he is most proud. Published 25 years ago, Pillars of the Earth chronicles the building of a magnificent cathedral in a small market town in medieval England.  The spine of the book is the story of how to build a cathedral, but around this are stories of the lives of individuals integral to the construction, each a unique character bringing violence, romance, passion, or treachery to this saga. It’s a fast paced read, and I’ve been enthralled each time I’ve read this book. Ken Follett is a master story teller and all of his books are compelling, but this one most of all. It’s on many lists of the top 100 bests selling books and was an Oprah’s Book Club selection.  I’d give it six on a scale of fives stars!

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com