#BookReview ‘Crossing the Lines’ by Amanda Huggins @troutiemcfish

I read Crossing the Lines, the new novella by Amanda Huggins – whose previous book won the 2021 Saboteur Award for Best Novella – in one sitting. Based on Red, Huggins’ runner-up in the 2018 Costa Short Story Award, this is the fuller story of runaway Mollie and her dog, Hal. Fifteen-year old Mollie grows up on the New Jersey shoreline at Atlantic City but when her mother moves to boyfriend Sherman Rook’s home five states away in the west, Mollie goes too. She hasn’t even arrived at Oakridge Farm when she knows she’s made a mistake, and that her
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#BookReview ‘A Town Called Solace’ by Mary Lawson #literary #smalltown

My favourite book of the year so far is also the discovery of a new author to love. A Town Called Solace is the fourth novel by Mary Lawson. The previous three have been nominated for, and won, many awards and much acclaim. I’m not sure how I have overlooked her but I’m now planning to catch-up. Such a quiet book with a powerful emotional punch, the story is set in a solitary lakeside town in northern Canada in 1972. It is a story of mistakes made and paid for, longed-for recompenses, the complexities of child/parent relationships and how things
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#BookReview ‘Jane Austen A Life’ by Claire Tomalin #books #writerslife

As a lifelong Jane Austen fan, how I wish I had read this biography years ago. So many details from Jane’s life, her observations in letters to sister Cassandra and comments about Jane by her own relatives shed a spotlight on characterisations and situations portrayed in her novels. Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin was first published in 1997. Limited by the destruction of so many of Jane’s own letters, Tomalin builds a picture of Jane’s life from the accounts of her family and acquaintances, and of life at that time in Georgian England. The amount of research done
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#BookReview ‘The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society’ #romance #WW2

I prefer to come to a book without reading reviews so I can make up my own mind. But sometimes there is a book that I missed in its early days but which goes onto be hugely popular. The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows is such a book. It was first brought to my attention by fellow author Claire Dyer who chose it as her ‘Porridge & Cream’ comfort read. When I asked Claire why it was her choice, she said, “it’s essentially about good people and reading it reminds me
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#BookReview ‘A Brush with Death’ by @fkleitch #crime #cosycrime

A Brush with Death by Fiona Leitch is the second Nosey Parker cosy mystery and the first I’ve read. Jodie Parker, ex-Metropolitan police officer, and newly single mum has returned home to Cornwall. It’s the week of Penstowan’s inaugural arts festival and Jodie, no longer working for the police, is doing the catering. The festival’s main attraction is painter Duncan Stovall, famous for his Penstowan series of sea paintings. This is a story with instant fizz. Written in the first person, Jodie’s, I loved the sly sometimes saucy asides that pull you straight into the jokes, the personalities and the
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#BookReview ‘Beneath the Keep’ by Erika Johansen #fantasy #Tearling

Beneath the Keep by Erika Johansen is the standalone prequel novel to her Tearling trilogy, the first of which was excellent, the second good, the third disappointing. Beneath the Keep is every bit as good as the first novel, if not better. If you haven’t read the trilogy, read this first. It’s a rollercoaster ride, a dystopian story of a country at war, the rich denying the poor, drought, famine, rebellion, cruelty and the hope of a True Queen who may exist at some time in the future. Many names are familiar from the trilogy, many are completely new.Christian is twenty.
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#FlashPIC 57 Winter Sky #writingprompt #amwriting

Looking up to the sky on the kind of winter’s day when you want to be outside, wrapped up warm, breathing the chill air deep into your lungs, can be uplifting. Experiment with capturing this feeling, write notes, take photographs, research the weather conditions, so you can use it for the setting for a future story. This writing prompt is from the Writers’ BLOCKbusters series. Concentrate on writing about atmosphere, your perception of the day, the weather, how it makes you feel. This prompt is not about character or plot. Describe the contrast of cold air in your lungs and warm
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#BookReview ‘The Blessing’ by Nancy Mitford #satire #historical

The Blessing by Nancy Mitford tells of the wartime romance and marriage of young Englishwoman Grace Allingham and dashing Frenchman Charles-Edouard de Valhubert. Both are aristocratic but from completely different backgrounds. How, you wonder, could this marriage possibly work. Mitford has great fun with the gulf of understanding between the two nationalities, still recovering after the war. At the beginning of the war, Grace’s fiancé Hughie goes off to fight. Despite being engaged, she falls head over heels in love with the flirtatious Frenchman Charles-Edouard and marries him. A fortnight after their wedding, Charles-Edouard returns to Cairo. Nine months later,
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#BookReview ‘A Deadly Discovery’ by @JCKenney1 #cosycrime #crime

Needing a change one day, as I sometimes crave a calming walk in the green countryside, I picked up cosy mystery A Deadly Discovery by JC Penney. Knowing the book was fourth in a series, I didn’t know what to expect. Literary agent Allie Cobb lives in Rushing Creek, Indiana where her life revolves around her clients, their manuscripts, taking her cat Ursi for a walk, family and friends. Having previously investigated local murders, and being injured in the process, before this book starts Allie had promised her nearest and dearest that she would drop her private investigating. But when
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#BookReview ‘Winter Pilgrims’ by Toby Clements #historical

This is the first of a four-book series about the Wars of the Roses. Toby Clements is a new author for me, I admit to picking up the paperback in a bookshop when browsing and am happy to find an unknown historical author to explore. Winter Pilgrims is the first of the four novels, telling the well-documented story of the Lancaster versus York wars through the eyes of two fictional people on the edge of the action. In February 1460, at a priory in Lincoln, two people flee from marauding soldiers. Despite living yards apart in the same priory Brother
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