blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Shadowy Third – Julia Parry*

A sudden death in the family delivers Julia a box of love letters. Dusty with age, they reveal an illicit affair between the celebrated twentieth-century Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen and Humphry House – Julia’s grandfather.

So begins an intriguing quest to discover and understand this affair, one with profound repercussions for Julia’s family, not least for her grandmother, Madeline.

This is a book about how stories are told in real life, in fiction and in families. Inspired by Bowen’s own obsession with place and memory, Julia travels to all the locations in the letters – from Kolkata to Cambridge and from Ireland to Texas.

The reader is taken from the rarefied air of Oxford in the 1930s, to the Anglo-Irish Big House, to the last days of Empire in India and on into the Second World War.

The fascinating unpublished correspondence, a wealth of family photographs, and a celebrated supporting cast that includes Isaiah Berlin and Virginia Woolf add further richness to this unique work.

The Shadowy Third opens up a lost world, one with complex and often surprising attitudes to love and sex, work and home, duty and ambition, and to writing itself.

Weaving present-day story telling with historical narrative, this is a beautifully written debut of literary and familial investigation from an original and captivating new voice.

Julia Parry was brought up in West Africa and educated at St Andrews and Oxford. She teaches English literature and has worked as a writer and photographer for a variety of publications and charities. She lives in London and Madrid. This is her first book.

My thoughts:

This was utterly fascinating and totally absorbing a read. As someone whose own family has a few mysteries, I could completely relate to the author’s desire to follow in her grandparents footsteps and unravel the complex relationships at the heart of this book.

I read Elizabeth Bowen’s The Heat of the Day at uni, but we focused more on the text than the writer, so it was also interesting to learn more about her life, and its web of affairs, especially the way Parry connects Bowen’s written works, short stories and novels, to the parallels in her own life.

Part biography, part mystery, part memoir, this was a truly brilliant debut, well written and expertly paced, as you travel with Parry to Kolkata, Ireland, and across the UK.

*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 Trials & Tribulations of a Pet Sitter – Laura Marchant*

Hilarious and heart warming true stories of a Pet Sitter.

Laura takes us on her journey describing the immense joy that the animals have brought into her
life. But it’s not all fun and games.

With sometimes as many as ten dogs around her home, things
can get a tad hectic. Not to forget the every day challenges faced in keeping the pets happy and safe when out walking. Luckily she is not alone in her quest; her unusually dominant Golden Retriever ‘Brece’ is always by her side. Brece earns her keep
by convincingly playing the part of the alpha female, ensuring harmony amongst the pack.

At times, the responsibility that Laura faces becomes overwhelming. She may think she has everything covered but that hand of fate could quite easily swoop down, creating havoc for her and the dogs. Laura has endured many close calls and teetered on the precipice of disaster may a time.

The longer she continues with her pet sitting enterprise, the more likely hood that total disaster will actually strike. Is she tempting fate?

Laura Marchant is the Bridget Jones of the pet sitting world!

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About the author

Laura Marchant was born in 1959 in the seaside resort of Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, England. Both her parents were born in the same town, so not exactly a family of intrepid travellers!
As a child Laura and her siblings were fortunate enough to own shares in the families pets.

Unbeknown to Laura at the time, her love for the animals formed the blueprint for a large part of her life. In 2011 she finally found her vocation, and in the comfort of her own home, set up a pet boarding business.

For the next 7 years she shared her abode with a pack of dogs. A lot of this time was spent watching over the animals and observing their behaviour, which in turn inspired her to write her first novel ‘Trials and Tribulations of a Pet Sitter’.

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My thoughts:

As someone who has done some pet sitting and dog walking I related so much to the chaos and characters Laura deals with in her book. From crazy dogs to OTT owners, her own dominant Brece (pronounced Bressay) who bosses the guest dogs about, runaways and furniture destroyers. Laura has dealt with a whole host of canines, felines and humans.

This was a fun and funny read, Laura brings her animal clients to life with their adventures and I could really see each creature as she tells the story of how she came to know them and love them.

*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: Mine – Alison Knight*

“What’s mine, I keep.”

London, 1968.
Lily’s dreams of a better life for her family are shattered when her teenage daughter refuses to give
up her illegitimate child. It doesn’t help that Lily’s husband, Jack, takes their daughter’s side.

Taking refuge in her work at a law firm in the City, Lily’s growing feelings for her married boss soon
provides a dangerous distraction.

Will Lily be able to resist temptation? Or will the decisions made by these ordinary people lead them
down an extraordinary path thatcould destroy them all?

Mine – a powerful story of class, ambition and sexual politics.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

INVITATION TO AN ONLINE BOOK LAUNCH: On Saturday 28th November 2020, Alison will be joining
four other authors for a joint event via Zoom called Darkstroke Defined: The five writers will talk about their new books, read extracts and answer questions. For your free ticket, click here.

Alison has been a legal executive, a registered childminder, a professional fund-raiser and a teacher.

She has travelled the world – from spending a year as an exchange student in the US in the 1970s
and trekking the Great Wall of China to celebrate her fortieth year and lots of other interesting places in between.

In her mid-forties Alison went to university part-time and gained a first-class degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and an MA in the same subject from Oxford Brookes University, both while still working full-time. Her first book was published a year after she completed her master’s degree.

Mine is a domestic drama set in 1960s London based on real events in her family. She is the only person who can tell this particular story. Exploring themes of class, ambition and sexual
politics, Mine shows how ordinary people can make choices that lead them into extraordinary situations.

Alison teaches creative and life-writing, runs workshops and retreats with Imagine Creative Writing Workshops as well as working as a freelance editor. She is a
member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

She lives in Somerset, within sight of Glastonbury Tor.

Website Publisher

Creative Writing Workshops

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My thoughts:

This was a shocking and gripping story, made even more so by being based on the author’s own family.

The story of Jack, Lily and Leo is tragic and painful – not exactly how you imagine a love story to go but it does happen. Lily and Leo want to spare others from pain but love is hard to ignore.

Written with love and the characters are brought vividly to life, as is 60s London, I could picture the houses and businesses perfectly.


*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

Blog Post: Busting the Brass Ceiling – Fanchon Blake & Linden Gross

BustingTheBrassCeiling

Congratulations to author Linden Gross on the release of Fanchon Blake’s fascinating story, Busting the Brass Ceiling!

Read on for more details and an exclusive excerpt from the book!

BustingBrassCeiling-eBook-Cover_for publication

Busting the Brass Ceiling: How a Heroic Female Cop Changed the Face of Policing

Publication Date: November 20th, 2020

Genre: Non-Fiction/ Police/ History/ Women in History

FANCHON BLAKE joined the LAPD in 1948 and walked a beat in a skirt and heels for three years. Her ambition to rise in the ranks would be curtailed by an increasingly discriminatory agenda, but her relentless tenacity finally led to a promotion to sergeant nineteen years later. When LAPD policy barred her from rising any further and threatened to eliminate women from the department, she sued. The historic case would change the face of policing around the country.

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Excerpt

Enough!

The words CONFIDENTIAL SURVEY caught my attention. I picked up the paper and read: A Survey to Justify Why Men Do Not Want to Work with Policewomen. I loved the LAPD. But I sure didn’t love the way they treated the women on the force. Were things about to get worse?

I looked around the LAPD squad room, where I worked as a detective investigating forgery, but no one was paying attention to me. I gazed again at the paper I held. It was from the chief’s office, complete with an authenticated signature. For years, I had protested the fact that no new women officers were being hired, and that a substantial number of female sworn officers had already been reassigned to desk jobs. Now it seemed that management was setting up a justification to eliminate women from the job altogether.

Surely, the chief had more brains than to try to circulate something as bizarre as this survey, but nobody else would dare take that kind of action without his knowledge. I couldn’t let this go unchallenged. I would have to flush it out into the open, which meant confronting the chief. I couldn’t do that alone. He would crucify me.

I convinced the president of the Los Angeles Policewomen’s Association to ask the chief to explain the blatantly anti-female survey to his female officers. Surprisingly, he agreed to meet with us on January 10, 1971.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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LINDEN GROSS is a bestselling writer. She ghostwrote Julia “Butterfly” Hill’s New York Times bestseller The Legacy of Luna (HarperCollins, 2000). Publishers Weekly wrote that Hill’s “firsthand exposition of destructive forest practices … is extremely powerful, and her book, a remarkable inspirational document, records a courageous act of civil disobedience that places her squarely in the tradition of Thoreau.” Gross is also the writer behind Kathryn and Craig Hall’s national bestseller, A Perfect Score: The Art, Soul, and Business of a 21st-Century Winery (Center Street, 2016).

Gross has authored, co-authored, or ghostwritten an additional eight books, including Ms. Cahill for Congress (Ballantine, 2008), the stirring tale of public school teacher Tierney Cahill, who on a dare from her class ran for U.S. Congress, and Surviving a Stalker: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Yourself Safe (Incubation Press, 2013), a revised edition of To Have Or To Harm (Grand Central Publishing, 1994), the first book written about the stalking of ordinary people. Gross also functions as a writing coach and an editor, helping other people to write their nonfiction books and novels, several of which have gone on to become bestsellers.
Linden Gross

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blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Princess of Felling – Elaine Cusack*

The Princess of Felling describes Elaine’s childhood and adolescence growing up on Tyneside in the 1970s and 1980s. The book pays homage to her home town of Felling on Tyne and is an extended, loving letter to her late parents.

This illustrated poetic memoir features a Foreword by Michael Chaplin, photographs of Felling taken in summer 2018 by Rossena Petcova and unique maps by poet and artist Steve Lancaster.

The book contains reminiscences by Felling folk plus guest appearances by Nick Heyward, David Almond, Tracey Thorn, Sir Kingsley Amis, The Reverend Richard Coles, Lady Elsie Robson, U.A. Fanthorpe, Gyles Brandreth and more.

Buy your copy in person from selected outlets including Hexham’s Cogito Books, Felling Volunteer Library, Newcastle Central Library, Happy Planet Studio and Gallery in Whitley Bay and online from Elaine’s publisher http://www.limelightclassics.com.

Find out more about Elaine’s writing and forthcoming gigs by visiting http://www.dipdoomagazoo.wordpress.com, http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/cusackmansions and by liking her Elaine Cusack writer page on Facebook.

The Princess of Felling by Elaine Cusack resonates with readers of all ages. As actress and Felling lass Jill Halfpenny says in the book, “Reading Elaine’s stories and poetry takes me back to my childhood in Felling and all of the smells, sounds and tastes of that time. Her words allow me to remember things that I didn’t know I’d forgotten.”

READERS’ COMMENTS

“It’s perfect! I picture it like the Hundred Acre Wood…only in Felling. Just as magic, though.”

“Was so tempted to gobble this down in one sitting but forced myself to savour small delightful morsels. Just beautiful. And I’d forgotten all about skinshees!”

“In parts it’s educational, nostalgic, humorous, sometimes evoking sad memories for me and lovely memories too. The story telling is seamless and impressive; I summed it up as being a delight!”

“It isn’t long enough! You get to the end and you want more! I love that it’s full of nostalgia and gentle pathos, but shot through with such a delightful, whimsical humour. It’s made me do what I never imagined I’d do: roam around the streets of Felling on Google Earth, looking for the places where these magic events occurred.”

My thoughts:

Something different today, a part memoir, part collection, part making of here as poet and writer Elaine Cusack revisits her childhood in Felling on Tyne. Family photos add to the memories and history Elaine shares with us, taking the story of her life from her first home on Nursery Lane to her moving away for university and then returning as an adult to revisit the places she remembers so fondly.

There is a strong sense of time and place in Elaine’s memoir, aided by recollections of the TV and music of the time.

This was an interesting and clearly deeply personal ode to a small North East town.

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