blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Family Lie – P.L. Kane

A scream cut through the night as they watched flames engulf the woodland. Fire ripped through the trees, leaving only charred branches behind. And then they saw it… on the ashen forest floor… was a body.

Police officer, Mitchel Prescott answered the phone with a shaking hand. It was the one call he had been dreading. It was the hospital at Green Acres… his father Thomas, had died in the night.

Returning to the small town he had been avoiding since he was a child, Mitch must lay his father to rest.

When he arrives, the close-knit residents refuse to speak about Thomas’ death, other to explain he was found burnt to death in the woods and his dementia was the likely cause.

But when Mitch discovers traces of accelerant on his father’s body, he’s certain it wasn’t an accident. Then his childhood home is broken into, his father’s study ransacked, and a rock thrown through the window warning him to leave.

Mitch is convinced Thomas had discovered something that had got him into trouble… something that would threaten his entire family.

But what secret is worth killing for?

An utterly gripping thriller that will have you reading long into the night. Fans of Shari Lapena and Helen Phifer will love The Family Lie!

P L KANE is the pseudonym of a number one bestselling and award-winning author and editor, who has over a hundred books published in the fields of SF, YA and Horror/Dark Fantasy. In terms of crime fiction, previous books include the novel Her Last Secret, the collection Nailbiters and the anthology Exit Wounds, which contains stories by the likes of Lee Child, Dean Koontz, Val McDermid and Dennis Lehane. Kane has been a guest at many events and conventions, and has had work optioned and adapted for film and television. Several of Kane’s stories have been turned into short movies and Loose Canon Films/Hydra Films have just adapted ‘Men of the Cloth’ into a feature, The Colour of Madness. Kane’s audio drama work for places such as Bafflegab and Spiteful Puppet/ITV features the acting talents of people like Tom Meeten (The Ghoul), Neve McIntosh (Doctor Who/Shetland), Alice Lowe (Prevenge) and Ian Ogilvy (Return of the Saint).

My thoughts: this gave me definite Hot Fuzz vibes – small towns give me the creeps. So insular and sinister – which this small rural town definitely is. Mitch has no idea what’s going on when he returns to Green Acres to put his late father’s affairs in order. The fact his father may have been murdered, the utterly useless local police, his weird aunt and uncle. He needs answers but getting them proves deadly. Thank goodness for his psychic sister Bella, the true hero of the book – Cat the cat, and Bella’s copper pal, Mitch is out of his depth.

Gripping and sinister, this is a really clever, enjoyable thriller about insidious evil and why you need a cat. Also, cults, small town strangeness and secrets.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Blasted Things – Lesley Glaister

1920: Britain is trying to forget the Great War. Clementine, who nursed at the front and suffered losses, must bury the past. Then she meets Vincent, an opportunistic veteran whose damage goes much deeper than the painted tin mask he wears. Their deadly relationship will career towards a dark and haunting resolution.

Lesley Glaister is a fiction writer, poet, playwright and teacher of writing. She has published fourteen adult novels, the first of a YA trilogy and numerous short stories. She received both a Somerset Maugham and a Betty Trask award for Honour Thy Father (1990), and has won or been listed for several literary prizes for her other work. She has three adult sons and lives in Edinburgh (with frequent sojourns to Orkney) with husband Andrew Greig. She teaches creative writing at the University of St Andrews and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

My thoughts: my great-grandmother didn’t leave a lot of her personal history to us – she had a stroke when my mum was very young and couldn’t speak, and when she died Pop (my great-grandfather) burnt all her photos and documents. But from what little we do know, she, Eliza Jane Redhead, was a WWI nurse, like Clementine in this book. It formed an instant connection for me. I have no idea what she saw or experienced, but I can’t imagine any of it was pleasant and like Clementine, she had to live with those terrible memories forever.

My mum is a nurse, it seems caring for people runs in the blood. She joined the Junior Red Cross and then went off at 17 to train in the NHS, where she’s worked for over 40 years. But Clem was expected to get married and have babies and leave the medicine to her doctor husband, the stuffed shirt Dennis (I hated him, I wish she’d escaped to Canada with the lovely Powell, I bet he wouldn’t be so controlling and annoying).

But she meets Vince, and he’s a chancer and a half. He wants so much more than his small life. The recipient of one of the tin masks made and painted to hide facial injuries – in his case a lost eye as well, it made me think of Pat Barker’s Toby’s Room where art students from the Slade are painting these faces.

Indeed that’s what Clem wants to do – paint him. But he sees in her an opportunity and it all leads down a dark path to tragedy. This book totally gripped me and pulled me along with it, much as Vince takes Clem along with him. I found myself muttering “don’t do it Clem, don’t do it” at times and was furious at Vince’s audacity and casual cruelty, but he didn’t deserve his end, despite what he did. Beautifully written, this is a book that will be hanging out in my mind for a while.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Couple Upstairs – Shalini Boland

Our new home was supposed to be a chance to leave our past behind. But was moving here the worst mistake of our lives?

All our friends and family were gathered, glasses raised to toast our fresh start. It should have been a night for happiness and celebration. Zac and I had worked so hard for this: our first home together, just minutes from the sea. But the dream quickly turned into a nightmare…

We’d invited our neighbours too. I wanted to make a good impression – to show them we’re exactly the sort of people they want living on their street.

I hadn’t thought about who they might be, the strangers I was letting in.

It was going so well. There was laughter in the air and the wine was flowing. But then I noticed the narrowed eyes, the whispers.

And then the lights went out.

As my heart thumped in my chest, all the little things that had been going wrong since we moved here flashed through my mind: the food poisoning, the arguments, the flood of nasty reviews shaking my business.

Am I going crazy? Or is someone trying to destroy us?

From the USA Today bestselling author Shalini Boland comes an absolutely heart-thumping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the TrainGone Girl and The Wife Between Us.

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Shalini lives in Dorset, England with her husband, two children and Jess their cheeky terrier cross. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer songwriter, but now she spends her days writing suspense thrillers (in between school runs and hanging out endless baskets of laundry).

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My thoughts: I’ve never been so glad my upstairs neighbours are happy to keep to themselves. Chris and Vanessa seem friendly at first but then they’re wrecking havoc in Nina and Zac’s life. And Nina can’t figure out why 2 strangers are so determined to make her life hell.

Creepy and weird, totally obsessive. All things no one wants to find out about the people they live closest to. Time to call in the anti-social behaviour team and get them warned! I couldn’t figure out what they were up to or why, the mysterious flashbacks between each chapter carefully avoided any clues, I was completely thrown by the reveal. A nicely nasty little thriller about the dangers of neighbours. I’m off to live on a deserted island!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Cenotaphs – Rich Marcello

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Welcome to the book tour for Cenotaphs by Rich Marcello! Read on for details and a chance to win a fantastic giveaway!

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Publication Date: July 26th, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

AFTER A CHANCE MEETING, AN OLD MAN AND A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN CHART AN UNCONVENTIONAL PATH FORWARD.

When Ben Sanna, a contemplative retiree with a penchant for helping people, and Samantha Beckett, a secretive New York City hedge fund manager, meet by chance in a small Vermont town, they enter into a tenuous relationship. Over several weeks, Samantha and Ben open their pasts inch by inch, sift through their futures consciously, and come to terms with the strength and depth of their bond. A meditation on redemption told in alternating chapters of musings and scenes, Cenotaphs is about platonic love; the ways we close ourselves off in reaction to pain and what happens when we open ourselves up again; and the deep, painful legacy of loss.

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A SORTING

The parts recur––the son, the lover, the husband, the father, the friend, the citizen. They come in whispers and fragments, in the unwinding of memory. They come in your smile, in the laughter of our children, in nightmares, in bursts of violence against once precious objects. How do you gauge the parts of a life? Did I perform any of them well? How do you summon them into an unfettered whole?

I am old now. I’d hoped I would’ve figured out a few answers by this point, but the truth is I spend more time each day watching the Red Sox than thinking about such things. In the summer and fall, the games are on every day, often twice a day, and watching them gives Zeke and me something to do. Something zen exists about the game, something appealing to me as I age, something about the stillness, the waiting, the bursts of energy, all mimicking the best and worst times in life. And I like the red, blue, and gray uniforms. They remind me of a more structured time.

Zeke, a big black, brown, and white mutt I rescued about ten years ago, keeps me company in our cabin. When I first got him, he liked digging holes in my yard, searching deep and dirty, with only a rare unearthing. His record: twenty-two holes. Twenty-two! In one of them, he found an empty wine bottle, message-less. Now, Zeke mostly sleeps in the same worn spot on the living room rug. I’m not sure which one of us will die first.

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About the Author

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Rich is the author of five novels, The Color of Home, The Big Wide Calm, The Beauty of the Fall, The Latecomers, and Cenotaphs, and the poetry collection, The Long Body That Connects Us All. He also teaches creative writing at Seven Bridges’ Writer Collaborative. Previously, he enjoyed a successful career as a technology executive, managing several multi-billion dollar businesses for Fortune 500 companies.

As anyone who has read Rich’s work can tell you, his books deal with life’s big questions: love, loss, creativity, community, self-discovery and forgiveness. His novels are rich with characters and ideas, crafted by a natural storyteller, with the eye and the ear of a poet. For Rich, writing and art making is about connection, or as he says, about making a difference to at least one other person in the world, something he has clearly achieved many times over, both as an artist, a mentor, and a teacher.

Rich lives in Massachusetts with his wife and Newfoundland Shaman. He is currently working on his sixth and seventh novels, The Means of Keeping and In the Seat of the Eddas, a follow-on to The Latecomers.

Rich Marcello | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Blog Tour: The Royal Game – Anne O’Brien

England, 1444. Three women challenge the course of history…

King Henry VI’s grip on the crown hangs by a thread as the Wars of the Roses starts to tear England apart. And from the ashes of war, the House of Paston begins its rise to power.

Led by three visionary women, the Pastons are a family from humble peasant beginnings who rely upon cunning, raw ambition, and good fortune in order to survive.

Their ability to plot and scheme sees them overcome imprisonment, violence and betrayal, to eventually secure for their family a castle and a place at the heart of the Yorkist Court. But success breeds jealousy and brings them dangerous enemies…

An inspirational story of courage and resilience, The Royal Game, charts the rise of three remarkable women from obscurity to the very heart of Court politics and intrigue.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this, exploring a family a few rungs down the social ladder from the nobles most books set during this period (the War of the Roses or the Cousins’ War) are written about.

Based on real letters written by members of of Paston family, it charts their almost constant legal battles as they struggle to hold onto the many houses and parcels of land they’ve acquired. They’re not actually very good at it and spend a lot of time in court and at war with their neighbours and other claimants. I can’t imagine any of them were particularly happy, but at the time success was measured in land and wealth – some things never change.

By focusing on the women of the family, we see more of the domestic side of life – Meg in particular spends a lot of time on running her household – managing servants, ordering new clothes for her children, planning menus and trying to balance the books while her husband spends his time in court, trying to keep enough land in the family to pay for everything.

A fascinating look at a different aspect of medieval life and an intriguing start to a new series about the ups and downs of the Paston family.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Babysitter – Gemma Rogers

It’s every mother’s worst nightmare…

All NEW from Gemma Rogers

Ali and Christopher Tolfrey’s one year old daughter Eden is abducted whilst in the care of Ali’s best- friend.
Snatched in broad daylight from Bushy Park on a trip to the swings, Eden disappears without a trace.
Brooke Simmons, regains consciousness, dazed from a blow to the head, to find Eden, her best friends’ child is missing.
Someone has taken Eden and Brooke knows who.
But it’s a secret she can’t share with Ali or the Police without revealing the web of deceit she’s spun.
Can Brooke get Eden home before her lies come back to haunt her? Or is the net closing in on her? Amazon

Gemma Rogers was inspired to write gritty thrillers by a traumatic event in her own life nearly twenty years ago. Her debut novel Stalker was published in September 2019 and marked the beginning of a new writing career. Gemma lives in West Sussex with her husband, two daughters and bulldog, Buster.

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My thoughts: this was a clever, twisted thriller. As you realise what has happened and how badly wrong things have gone, there’s a mounting horror at what could happen next.

I know Bushy Park well having played there as a kid and picnicked as an adult too, I can easily imagine someone nabbing a child and just disappearing, it’s a big place.

Clever and tense writing, the characters are interesting, especially Brooke, who is not quite who she seems.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Lost Wisdom of the Magi – Susie Helme

This engaging, meticulously researched novel tells the story of Sophia, a first-century Babylonian Jew who learns ancient languages at the royal archives of the Parthians and secretly studies the magic on cuneiform tablets. Sophia runs away from home, joining a Nabataean incense caravan, studies with the Essenes on the Dead Sea and joins with the militants of Qumran. As the Zealots battle to defend revolutionary Jerusalem against Titus, she falls in love with a Greek freedman, Athanasios, a comrade in arms. Jews and Christians briefly unite with Samaritans and the People of the Land. But messiahs can prove false.

Susie Helme is an American from Nashville, Tennessee, living in London, after sojourns in Tokyo, Paris and Geneva with a passion for ancient history, politics and magic, mythology and religion. 

She is a political activist and a socialist. 

Once editor of Mobile Communications Asia and other mobile communications magazines, she co-authored the Jan 2000 Future Mobile Handsets. 

She published with the Conrad Press in December 2020 her first novel, The Lost Wisdom of the Magi 

She is founder member of the Bounds Green Book Writers writers’ circle, which published in Autumn 2020 an anthology of coronavirus-inspired fiction, Lockdown Lit—Inspiration in Isolation. 

She now subedits Dignity magazine, writes historical novels and grows organic vegetables. 

She offers freelance services proofreading or developmental editing for authors needing help with their novels and is open to offers of review-swapping and mutual beta-reading.

TWITTER @susiehelme

My thoughts: this was a fascinating and thoroughly interesting read. Chronicling the life of Sophia, a Babylonian Jew, a mystic, scholar and traveller. Sophia leaves her home and traverses across the lands beyond, eventually to Alexandria – the famous city built by Alexander the Great.

Along the way she learns languages and stories, constantly seeking knowledge and magic. She finds friendship and love. Her memoirs are full of fascinating detail and delightful stories. I was enchanted and transported to a world of camel caravans, ancient languages and peoples.

This is a beautiful and intelligent novel, bringing to life the period and people.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Last One Alive – Karin Nordin

Read my thoughts on the previous book in this series – Where Ravens Roost

They survived once. Can he save them this time?

When Detective Kjeld Nygaard is called to the discovery of a body in the burnt-out shell of a house, his heart sinks. He never wanted to see this house again. The house of a notorious serial killer. The house where he rescued Louisa Karlsson from being murdered.

But when they discover the body is in fact Louisa, the mystery deepens. It can’t be the old serial killer. He’s dead.

Then another body is found, again killed in the exact place where Kjeld saved them from another murderer. Another survivor dead.

With the clock ticking Kjeld and his partner Detective Esme Jansson are desperate to stop any more survivors from being murdered. But every clue they find leads to a dead end. Why is the killer picking off people Kjeld rescued? Could it be connected to another of his previous cases?

When Kjeld’s daughter is kidnapped – it’s a race against time to save her life. Can Kjeld stop the killer without paying the ultimate price or will he be the last one alive?

A heart-stopping and gripping crime thriller that will keep you up all night! Perfect for fans of Helen Phifer, Lisa Regan and D.K. Hood.

My thoughts: this was very clever, playing with tropes like “the final girl” and the idea of killers wanting to complete their plan, throwing the detectives off course with cleverly re-staging murder scenes and even getting one death ruled a suicide.

Kjeld’s grip on things is getting weaker, his relationships, both person and professional, are crumbling and he can’t even seem to stop this murderer before they abduct his daughter Tove.

Kjeld is the latest in a long line of detectives with messy lives – and he makes it messier still in this story. We also got a lot more of his partner, Esme, which I enjoyed as she’s an interesting character. The case is a knotty, complex one and I didn’t guess the ending and the killer at all.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Sand and Shadow – Laurisa White Reyes

Seven Survivors.

One Monster.

Nowhere to hide.

Mission Specialist Adán Fuentes awakes from cryo-hibernation to discover that most of his fellow crewmates are dead and the shuttle Carpathia is not where it’s supposed to be. Surrounded by a vast barren landscape, he and the other survivors wonder how they can accomplish their mission, to establish a home for future colonists.

When an unseen creature attacks them, the Carpathia’s crew must turn their attention to surviving and solving the true purpose behind their mission.

Inspired by the 50’s sci-fi flick FORBIDDEN PLANET, SAND AND SHADOW plumbs the depths of the human psyche and the power of its influence. As the Carpathia’s crew’s secrets and flaws are revealed, readers may find themselves compelled to examine their own dark places.

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Excerpt
“Hold it here!” Adán jabbed a finger at the corner of the tent still attached. Tink obeyed, gripping the fabric with his gloved hands. Adán grasped the canvas several feet above Tink. Then he began to pull it, gradually drawing the fabric toward him. It was like trying to haul an anchor up from the ocean floor, the effort requiring every ounce of strength he could muster. He wasn’t sure his plan would work. He was battling a storm that at any moment could snatch him up and carry him off.
“Get me down!” Scott screamed, his voice piercing through Adán’s comm.
“I’m trying! Just hold on!” Adán kept pulling, but he made little headway with the wind pulling so hard in the opposite direction. “Scott, use your hands! Try to climb down!”
Scott started hand-over-hand down the column of living canvas. The distance between Scott and Adán slowly began to shrink. The sand pelted Adán so hard now that he could feel it through his gear.
“The rest of you get inside!” he called out. “It’s too dangerous out here!”
Fess grabbed the heating unit that Scott had dropped and made his way toward the shuttle. Tink held tight to the tent behind Adán.
“Tink! I’ve got it! Go on!”
“You don’t have it,” said Tink. “I’m not leaving!”
“But you have to—” Suddenly, a powerful gust tried to rip the silver tarp from Adán’s hands. The knuckle in his pinky finger snapped in a stabbing flare of excruciating pain, but he did not let go. Scott flipped around in the air, as helpless as a marionette on strings, though he was a good eight feet closer to the ground than he had been minutes before.
Adán tried to hold tighter to the fabric, but the pain in his hand throbbed ruthlessly and had robbed it of its strength.
“Scott! You’re going to have to let go!”
“Let go? Are you insane? This wind will blow me away like a kite!”
“Curl up into a ball! Wrap your arms around your knees and drop to the ground!”
Adán heard Tink’s voice. “This strap is tearing! When it rips all the way, that tarp is taking you with it, Scott!”
“Scott, you’ve got to let go now!”
He did. Scott released the fabric and pulled his knees to his chest. He fell like a stone to the sand below. He hit the ground, his limbs sprawling out in every direction. Then, getting to his hands and knees, he scurried away like a bug just as the tarp tore free from its strap. The silver snake curled and whipped like a flag in a hurricane and then vanished into the darkening sky.
Adán, his back to the wind, dropped to his knees beside Scott. “You all right?” he asked. “Can you get up?”
Scott collapsed into the sand, moaning. Adán felt a wave of relief. Their commander was dazed, possibly even hurt, but he was alive. A few yards off, Tink fought against the storm’s assault. He clutched the transmitter case to his chest and staggered forward one step at a time. The sky was so dark now and the sand so thick that the shuttle looked like nothing more than a broad mass of shadow.
Adán slid one of his arms beneath Scott’s shoulder and hoisted the barely conscious commander into a sitting position. “Dryker, listen to me! We’ve got to get back to the shuttle or we’ll die out here! Get up, Commander! On your feet!”
Scott moaned again, but Adán felt his muscles stiffen as he attempted to get his legs under him. With a bit of effort on both their parts, Scott was soon standing, though he leaned much of his weight against Adán. Adán looked back at Tink, who hadn’t made as much progress as he’d hoped.
“Tink, drop it!” Adán shouted.
Tink shook his head furiously. “We need it to communicate with the other shuttles! They’ll never find us without it!”
Tink’s words came back to Adán broken and staccato. He tapped on his earpiece. The storm had damaged his comm. “Tink? Can you hear me?”
This time Adán heard only static. He looked back to the shuttle, a mere ten yards away. Dema and Fess, clinging to each other, were scrabbling for the hatch lever. Adán looked back at Tink, half that distance behind him. He’d get Scott to safety, he decided, and come back for Tink.
“I’ll be back to help you in a second!” he said, though he couldn’t be sure if Tink had heard him, then he trudged forward with Scott in tow.
The two minutes or so that it took for him to hand Scott over to Dema and Fess felt like hours. He was exhausted and in pain, but Adán turned and headed back out for Tink, now on his knees hunched over the transmitter just four or five yards away.
He had just reached him when Adán saw it—a dark mass rising up from the ground behind Tink. “What the hell is that?” he said more to himself than to anyone else.
Dema’s voice crackled over the comm. “Adán, do you read me? Scott’s okay. A bit stunned but okay. Fess is with him in the common room now. Do you have Tink and Lainie?”
Lainie. Adán had forgotten all about her. But Tink. . .
“There’s something out here!” said Adán.
There was a pause before Dema’s voice returned. “Adán, get out of there. The sensors are picking up something solid, something big!”
He reached Tink and pulled him to his feet. Together, with the transmitter still clutched in Tink’s arms, they staggered toward the shuttle, which they could now barely make out through the thick haze of sand.
“Lainie!” Adán waited a moment for a reply. “Lainie, do you read me?” He shook his head. “The storm’s interfering with the frequency!”
“She was carrying the generator,” said Dema, her words nearly impossible to make out through the static. “She was closer to the shuttle than we were. You should see her!”
Adán and Tink continued trudging forward. Then just to right of the shuttle hatch, they spotted something square and black half buried in the sand at their feet. It was the generator tipped onto its side, but there was no sign of Lainie.

Laurisa White Reyes is the author of the SCBWI Spark Award winning novel The Storytellers and the Spark Honor recipient Petals. She is also the Senior Editor at Skyrocket Press and an English instructor at College of the Canyons in Southern California.

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My thoughts: this was a nicely creepy monsters in space story. The sand monster is out to get the crew and the seven survivors must work together to stay alive – and save the human race.

I liked the way that most of the characters were decent people dealing with a horrific situation they were not prepared for, that had gone way beyond what they thought they were expecting. The book played with lots of sci fi tropes – the uninhabited planet, the terrifying creature, the disastrous mission with no way back, very nicely.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: After The Rising & Before The Fall – Orna Ross

ORNA ROSS is an award-winning writer, an advocate for independent authors and other creative entrepreneurs, and “one of the 100 most influential people in publishing” [The Bookseller]. She writes novels, poems and nonfiction guides for creatives, and is Founder-Director of two popular online communities, the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) and The Creativist Club. She lives in London and writes, publishes and teaches around the globe. When not writing, you’ll probably find her reading.

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My thoughts: I’ve spent a lot of time studying the early 20th century – the First World War, the Russian revolution, but curiously never the Easter Rising of 1916 in Ireland and the turbulent events that followed. It doesn’t even get mentioned. Which is weird considering how many people I know with Irish parents and grandparents, North London has a huge Irish community, but we learnt virtually nothing about our nearest neighbour and the first victim of the British desire for empire.

“The Irish Question” goes all the way back to the Tudors, Henry VIII was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (a job Churchill would later hold during the 1920s, when parts of this book are set).

Moving back and forth in time, Jo slowly unravels the secrets and sadness hidden in the heart of her family. Her grandmother’s fervent Republicanism, the tragic death of her brother Barney, the suffering of Auntie Norah, and why her mother was so horrified when she fell in love with Rory O’Donovan.

Jo’s relationship with her mother – Mrs D, is fraught with barely concealed anger, they’re so alike they clash constantly, and the past continues to intrude into their lives. The history that shaped the Republic of Ireland also shaped the family, and left them with wounds that haven’t healed.

Jo is fiercely independent and it is only when going through the letters and diaries her mother bequeaths her, finding out how the turbulent years of the early 1900s impacted her family so directly, that she starts to realise that it’s ok to need people, like her sister Maeve.

Book three, In The Hour, is due out next year and fills in more of the missing story of Jo’s family, this time of her absentee father. This is an epic and powerful, moving family saga, that is also an incredible history of Ireland, something that should be more widely taught and learnt from.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.