#BookReview | Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce @ajpearcewrites| @panmacmillan #NetGalley

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I have the delightfully spiffing “Dear Mrs Bird” by AJ Pearce to share with you today.  Published by Pan Macmillan and available in various formats from 5th April 2018 you can purchase a copy from Amazon UK.

Synopsis:

London, 1941. Emmeline Lake and her best friend Bunty are trying to stay cheerful despite the Luftwaffe making life thoroughly annoying for everyone. Emmy dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent and when she spots a job advertisement in the newspaper she seizes her chance – but after a rather unfortunate misunderstanding, she finds herself typing letters for the formidable Henrietta Bird, the renowned agony aunt of Woman’s Friend magazine. Mrs Bird is very clear: letters containing any form of Unpleasantness must go straight into the bin. But as Emmy reads the desperate pleas from women who may have Gone Too Far with the wrong man, or can’t bear to let their children be evacuated, she decides the only thing for it is to secretly write back . . . Irresistibly funny and enormously moving, Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce is a love letter to the enduring power of friendship, the kindness of strangers and the courage of ordinary people in extraordinary times.

My Thoughts:

Emmy soon realises that the job she has just accepted is not quite what she thought it would be.  Rather than becoming part of a journalistic team investigating and helping reporters, she is a junior for a problem page at Woman’s Friend magazine.  She is responsible for sifting through the letters looking for help and advice, sounds great but in actual fact there are certain things that Mrs Henrietta Bird will not have on her column. I say certain things but it turns out that most things will not appear in her column.

This is such a great read, set in London during the blitz.  It has all the elements you would expect rationing, shortages of everyday items, sadness of loved ones away from home, despair when they do not return. The letters that are written to the magazine give a more personal feel to those women who are left at home possibly for the first time.  This is a great way of giving a sense of time and place, it has a real feel of the time with references to clothing, films, music and obviously the war.

A lighter side is added to this with the antics of Emmy and how she decides to take things into her own hands. It has an almost chick lit feel to it and I thought it balanced the harrowing experiences people experienced as the war raged around them. It does have a great deal of emotion in it as you read the letters that have been sent in and also as you follow the characters through the story.

This is a great read that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Once I started it I could not put it down.  This is a book that I think would appeal to readers of lighter historical WWII fiction and definitely from a female perspective and thought it was a well-balanced book.  This is a book that I would highly recommend. I also think this would be a great Book Club read, there are many things that would make some great discussion points.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be wonderful 🙂 xx

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#BlogBlitz : Found Drowned by BK Duncan @BKDuncanwriter @BloodhoundBook @sarahhardy681 #NetGalley #BookReview

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Today I have “Found Drowned” by BK Duncan.  This is the 3rd in the “May Keaps” series and I think this may be my favourite one to date.  Published by Bloodhound Books and available in eBook and paperback and available for purchase HERE my thanks to Sarah and Bloodhound Books for my spot on the blog blitz, also to BK Duncan and NetGalley for my copy of the book.

Synopsis:

Smuggling. Prostitution. Murder.

London. 1920 and coroner’s officer May Keaps is tasked with solving the mystery that surrounds the death of a young boy, found drowned in The Thames.

But was it murder or an accident? 

May knows that when children go missing, the reason is often linked to money but she is in danger of underestimating the corrupting influence of power . . .

On streets where poverty and exploitation walk hand-in-hand everyone has a price. And some are more valuable dead than alive. But who is pulling the strings?

May must journey into the dark underbelly of London to find the answers.

My Thoughts:

May Keaps works for Poplar Coroners Office and finds herself in a whole heap of trouble.  The body of a young boy turns up in the Thames in 1920’s London.  May is desperate to find out the identity of the boy, what she finds is far more than what she bargained for.

As I said this is my favourite May Keaps story to date, it is grittier, puts her in more danger and catches her off guard a little more.  May is a very dependant and strong character and she does have a more feminine side that makes an appearance on occasion.  In this story she finds herself in the dark and murky world of prostitution and from the synopsis you get a good idea of what sort of thing you are going to come across.  Duncan gives a very good description of various activities without getting too graphic, enough to give a picture without going for show.  She has created a very dark and wonderfully described sense of time and setting.  The setting of 1920’s London is based around the wharves, docks and back alleys, along with smuggling, poverty, workhouses and Poor Law.  She has included a lot of detail relevant for the time and that gives the story a real believable feel to it.

Familiar faces from previous books make a welcome return and we learn a little more about some of them and more about May and her family.  This is a book that could be read as a stand alone, but as with all series it is better to read earlier books to get a sense of the characters and their stories.  May for me seems to be getting a little more bolder as the series has continued and also a little more reckless. She is a wonderful character and I look forward to seeing what her future in fiction holds.

This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers of historical fiction, crime, mystery and murder.  It is a great read with really good atmospheric historical content and a great story line.

About the Author:

BK Duncan and Foul TradeBorn on a steam railway and brought up on the South Coast of England, such beginnings were destined to leave BK Duncan with a love of vintage transport, crashing seas, and Art Deco architecture.

Following a career encompassing developmental learning and management consultancy (specialising in personal and organisational change) she made the switch to full time writer, combining producing her own work with lecturing in creative writing in colleges and academies in Hertfordshire and Cambridge. Her summers are spent on two never-ending tasks – re-pointing the walls of her flint cottage and reclaiming the wilderness of her meadow garden. For relaxation she reads, goes to the theatre, and explores the local countryside but her two great passions are longbow archery and the Argentine Tango. Sadly, she is not nearly as accomplished at either as she’d like.

Her proudest moment was when she overcame her fear of deep water to go potholing in the Yorkshire Pennines.

BK Duncan also writes as Ruth Wade. Read her Amazon #1 best-seller A Fatal Rhythm on Kindle.

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Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give a share.  Or grab a copy of this book 🙂 xx

#BookReview : Season of Blood by Jeri Westerson : @jeriwesterson @severnhouse @NetGalley

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A Medieval Mystery from Jeri Westerson, “Season of Blood” is available in hardback and eBook formats.  Published by Severn House Digital

Book Details:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1256.0 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Digital; First World Publication edition (24 Dec. 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B077NH7L86

Synopsis:

A missing Holy Relic. A mysterious and beautiful woman. Two murdered monks: Crispin Guest tackles his most intriguing investigation to date.

1390. Hailes Abbey, Gloucestershire, England. Two monks lie murdered, their Holy Blood relic stolen: a relic that is said to run liquid for the sinless and remain stubbornly dry for the sinner. Unwilling to become involved in a bitter dispute between a country monastery and Westminster Abbey, the disgraced former knight Crispin Guest attempts to return the relic to Hailes where it belongs, but somehow it keeps returning to his hands no matter what.

My Thoughts:

This is my first visit with this author and I read this book as a stand alone.  It is set in 1390 and we are introduced to Crispin Guest and his apprentice and side kick Jack Tucker.  They have been approached by a mysterious lady for their help in finding her niece. But along with that a monk dies on Crispin’s door step and in his possession is a religious Blood Relic artefact.

This is the 10th instalment in the Crispin Guest mystery series.  As this is the first I had read by this author, I was intrigued as to how well I would get on with an established series.  For me, I am pleased to say, it worked very well, there are hints and mentions of past stories but not enough to detract from this one.  This book has a very good “well researched” feel to it.  It is one of those books that feel right for the time it is set in and Jeri has some great description to back that feel up.  It is a well paced story that has some very unexpected twists, it is one of those books that you are never quite sure who is telling the truth, creating a good edginess to it.  The characters are quick to remember and identify as they are introduced gradually.

Overall this was a very enjoyable read, and I think a good introduction for me to this author, even though I have started at the wrong end of the series. I would recommend this to readers who like a good medieval murder, mystery read.  Some good twists, plots and characters.   It has been well researched and written.

My thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for my copy of this book.  My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

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I’m Jeri Westerson and I write medieval mysteries with an enigmatic, flawed, sexy, and very different protagonist. His name is Crispin Guest and he’s an ex-knight turned private eye. You might want to think of him as a Medieval Sam Spade and these mysteries as Medieval Noir. That’s what makes these novels different. They’re full of hard-hitting action and characters with dirty little secrets. Then there’s the added twist dropped in the middle of murder: a relic with mystical powers. They always seem to stir things up, whether it’s something everyone wants to get their hands on or can’t wait to get rid of.

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share xx