Action and Adventure · Books · Crime/Thriller · Historical Fiction · Review

#BookReview : The Last Nazi by @AndrewTurpin

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The buried contents of a Nazi train. An aging SS murderer. And the wartime secrets of a US presidential candidate’s family, hidden for seven decades.

When war crimes investigator and ex-CIA officer Joe Johnson learns of a link between the contents of a Nazi train, stashed away by Hitler’s Third Reich in 1944, and the financing for a Republican hopeful’s  2012 campaign, he’s more than intrigued.

Can Johnson evade the high level intelligence and criminal networks combining against him across three continents, uncover the truth, and win justice?

MY THOUGHTS:

This is an action packed, fast paced, intriguing book of deception, deceit, conspiracy.  It spans several continents and events that started in 1944 several decades later come to light in 2011.

The story begins with Daniel and Jacob Kudrow, they are prisoners of Gross-Rosen concentration camp.  When the reader first meets them they are in a collapsed tunnel, but along with other prisoners and guards they are able to use side tunnels to get out.  The tunnels are used for storage, several wooden crates have been stored there, it will take over 60 years for the contents to be revealed.  Now in 2011 the reader is brought to the main characters.  Joe Johnson, a widower with two children, he is of Polish decent.  He teams up with Fiona Heppenstall a political journalist with “Inside Track”.  They are both attending a campaign rally by David Kudrow. His brother Nathaniel has something to tell both Joe and Fiona, but they never find out what that actually was.  With her journalistic interests piqued, Fiona cannot let go the feeling that something is amiss, she enrolls Joe in to help her find the story.  They both have a background in war crimes, giving lectures and help bring down those involved in the atrocities.  What they unearth with this investigation. There are secrets that have been hidden for decades, they will close certain chapters in the lives of  some, bring some form justice to the lives of some and open the flood barriers in lives of others.

I really enjoyed this book.  The thing that soon became obvious as I read, was the attention to detail.  The historical aspect has been very well researched and executed, within a very action packed and fast paced story.  There are certain things from the living conditions of prisoners in concentration camps that are not pleasant reading, and they shouldn’t be, and I felt the author used enough information to keep the story flowing.  He has not got bogged down with too much historical information, instead he has found a good balance that is essential to a certain sub-plots of the story.  The same balance has been found with the political aspects of the story as well, enough to be helpful but not overly done.  I think what I am trying to say is that, there is a lot of sub plots within the main story, therefore a lot of detail, but at no point do you lose the rhythm or the main points of the story.  All these aspects have been very well and cleverly intertwined to give the reader a great reading experience.  It incorporates scandal, war crimes, Nazism, corruption and revenge. The characters have been very well-developed, they are strong and well described.  I thought all the charcters mentioned were easily identifiable and memorable.

I would definitely recommend to readers who like action and adventure, thriller, crime and mystery genres.

As I read past the story I was really pleased to discover that this is the first in a series of books featuring Joe Johnson, and I for one cannot wait to read more.  Thoroughly enjoyed this one, and can’t wait for the next, and the next, and the next!

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Andrew Turpin for a copy of this e-book.  My review and thoughts about this book are honest and unbiased.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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It has taken Andrew more than five decades to finally get around to combining his love of writing and his passion for reading good thrillers – and get down to penning a first novel.

Now, that first book, The Last Nazi, is very near to being published, and he has a second, The Old Bridge, in the advanced stages of editing.

The themes behind these thrillers also pull together some of Andrew’s other interests, particularly history, world news, and travel, exploring the ways in which human behaviors deep into the past continue to impact on modern society, politics and business.

 The Last Nazi draws strongly on these themes and is the first in a planned series of thrillers featuring the protagonist, Joe Johnson, an ex-CIA officer and former US Nazi hunter with the Office of Special Investigations. Johnson, a relentless seeker after truth and justice, has a passion for investigating unsolved war crimes in different parts of the world and is an occasional lecturer on the subject.

Andrew studied history at Loughborough University and worked for many years as a business and financial journalist before becoming a corporate and financial communications adviser with several large energy companies, specializing in media relations.

He originally came from Grantham, Lincolnshire, and lives with his family in St. Albans in Hertfordshire.

LINKS:

Check out Andrew’s Website

Friend him on Facebook

Follow Andrew on Twitter

Send him an email:  info@andrewturpin.com

 

MANY THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ MY BLOG.

Books · Historical Fiction · Review · Women's Fiction

#BookReview |The Silk Weaver’s Wife by @debbierix @bookouture

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MY THOUGHTS:

I really enjoyed this book, one of the reasons I like to read historical novels is in the hope that I can learn something new.  This book ticked the box on that one, the research that Debbie Rix has done is obvious.  She has explored the silk manufacture process from moth to cloth, there is not an overload of information, but has used her characters well to explain, as her characters learn things, then so does the reader.   I found Debbie’s writing to be very readable and well set pace, there are a lot of stories within stories in this book, but they have been organised and well laid out so as not to confuse the reader at all.  Also included in this are actual artists, designers and weavers there is a very handy section at the back that lists the fact and fiction characters as well a note about how Debbie weaves the two together.

This is a wonderful book written across two-time lines, 1704 and 20017. In 1704 we are introduced to Anastasia and her family from near Verona in Italy.  In 2017 we meet Millie on a break with her sort of boyfriend Max.

Millie, a journalist, has been asked to write an article on the regeneration of Italy’s silk trade.  She stays at the House of Cocoon, or Villa di Bozzolo, it has been part of the silk trade for many generations and has a deep history.  The she meets owners Lorenzo and his sister Elena, they run the villa as a Bed and Breakfast guest house.  Lorenzo provides her with much information for her article and is her contact for meeting various other people in the silk trade.  She finds Lorenzo very easy to get along with, and has her questioning her life with Max, Lorenzo is her age, attractive and a widow.

Anastasia and her sister Mariette live under the iron rule of their father, their mother doesn’t have the strength to stand up to him so they all live under the threat of a beating from him.  Anastasia has two loves, Marco and painting, both are things that her father will not allow, if he knew.  He believes painting is not a thing a woman should do, he is of thought that they should be at home doing productive things.

As Millie discovers more about the history of silk manufacture process, Anastasia’s journey runs alongside with her journey into the world.

I would recommend this book to readers of historical fiction, womans fiction and romance. I wish to thank Netgalley and Bookouture for my copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.

 

SYNOPSIS:

‘On the way back down the grand staircase to the hall, her eye was caught by a portrait, hanging in a particularly dark corner of a landing. It was of a young woman, seated at an easel; she was painting a silk moth, its eggs nestling on a mulberry leaf.’

1704: Anastasia is desperate to escape her controlling and volatile father and plans to marry in secret. But instead of the life she has dreamed of, she finds herself trapped in Venice, the unwilling wife of a silk weaver.

Despite her circumstances, Anastasia is determined to change her fate…

2017: Millie wants more from her relationship and more from her life. So when her boss Max abruptly ends their affair, she takes the opportunity to write a feature in Italy.

Staying in a gorgeous villa, Millie unexpectedly falls in love with the owner, Lorenzo. Together they begin to unravel an incredible story, threaded through generations of silk weavers.

And Millie finds herself compelled to discover the identity of a mysterious woman in a portrait…

 

BOOK DETAILS & LINKS:

 

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Bookouture (5 July 2017)
  • Language: English
  • Amazon Link

Debbie’s Website

Debbie on Twitter

Debbie on Facebook

Many thanks for reading my post.

 

 

Blog Tour · Books · Historical Fiction · Review

#BlogTour |The Shogun’s Queen by @LesleyDowner #BookReview

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It is my pleasure to be on the blog tour for this book.  “The Shogun’s Queen” by Lesley Downer. Part of a series called “The Shogun’s Quartet”,

My Thoughts:

This story is based in Japan during 1851-1858, a period in history when Japan is under threat from America and Britain.  Although they trade with Holland successfully, the other countries want to set up ports and bases on the island, making more demands and wanting treaties signed.  As this is going on the main story takes place, that of a young girl from the Satsuma Province at the south of the island,  her name is Okatsu and she has been chosen for an important role.  Her family has ideas that a country girl from a notable family can be elevated to the Imperial Palace in the north. She has absolutely no say in her future at all.

Lesley has created a historical fiction novel with a huge amount of detail, culture, customs, traditions, history, social class and values from Japanese life. As you read through this story, it is easy to notice the time effort and research that has been put into this, what also comes across for me is , is that the author has an obvious  love for this country and it’s people.  For me what I found great about this book is the amount of things I learnt from it, I have a basic knowledge of Japan and its history, but this book goes a lot further.  The formalities and workings at the palace for a young girl entering this isolated and secluded world amazed me.  I loved the fact that a lot of the main characters actually existed.  The descriptions Lesley has given of each character and the way she has described the country is wonderful.

There are some really handy inclusions in this book to aid the reader, maps, a list of characters and their roles and a very insightful afterward. In the afterward she explains how a lot of the characters actually existed, they can be researched.  Also how she did take liberties with some things.  But the vast majority of the book is nearly true to fact.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, I found it a very addictive and easy read given the amount of detail that is included.

This is my first encounter with this amazing and talented author, it will not be my last.  I highly recommend this book for readers of historical fiction

 

Book Synopsis:

The year is 1853, and a young Japanese girl’s world is about to be turned upside down.

When black ships carrying barbarians arrive on the shores of Japan, the Satsuma clan’s way of life is threatened. But it’s not just the samurai who must come together to fight: the beautiful, headstrong Okatsu is also given a new destiny by her feudal lord – to save the realm.

Armed only with a new name, Princess Atsu, as she is now known, journeys to the women’s palace of Edo Castle, a place so secret it cannot be marked on any map. Behind the palace’s immaculate façade, amid rumours of murder and whispers of ghosts, Atsu must uncover the secret of the man whose fate, it seems, is irrevocably linked to hers – the shogun himself – if she is to rescue her people . . .

 

Lesley Downer Bio

I write historical fiction set in Japan – women’s untold stories, largely true and based on meticulous and detailed research, though primarily, of course, good yarns. I’ve just finished The Shogun’s Queen, the fourth of The Shogun Quartet, four novels set in the nineteenth century during the tumultuous fifteen years when Japan was convulsed by civil war and transformed from rule by the shoguns into a society that looked to the west.

The second, The Last Concubine, was shortlisted for Romantic Novel of the Year 2009 and translated into 30 languages. The other two novels are The Courtesan and the Samurai and The Samurai’s Daughter. My non-fiction on Japan includes Geisha: The Remarkable Truth Behind the Fiction and Madame Sadayakko: The Geisha who Seduced the West. I’m also a journalist and travel writer, give lectures and teach Creative Writing at City University in London.

Website:  Lesley Downer
Twitter:  @LesleyDowner
Facebook:  AuthorLesleyDowner

 

Book Details:

 

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi; 01 edition (27 July 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055216349X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552163491

 

Thank you taking the time to read my blog.

 

Books · Historical Fiction · Netgalley · Review

#Review | The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase | @MichaelJBooks

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MY THOUGHTS:

I rate this book with 5 stars.

This is a beautifully written story and well detailed. The characters and their individual traits have been well described giving them an easily identifiable presence. The plot has been worked very well into the threads and topics that appear in the story. The disappearance of Audrey has a devastating affect on her parents, Sybil and Perry, and deals with how the parents live with the aftermath of this awful scenario. I really enjoyed the way the story came together from two different eras into a final conclusion in the present day. There were a couple of very good plot twists at the end that I didn’t expect, and have to say, really enjoyed.

The story spans two different eras, the first is set in 1959, the second is set in present day with the arrival of Jessie and Will. Will has a daughter Bella, her mother, his wife, was tragically killed, leaving the two of them to deal with her death and their lives. Jessie met Will at a party of a friend, they eventually marry and together have a daughter, Romy. So in this modern setting there is the telling of how two separate families have come together to make one. The problems that are encountered along the way, and how Jessie believes she has to be sensitive about Bella’s mother, watching what she says during conversation. Bella is a teenager who doesn’t feel that she quite fits in. Their only common ground is Will, loving father and loving husband.

So as the story develops, we are told the story of the sisters’ stay, during the summer holidays at Applecote Manor, five years after Audrey’s disappearance. The sisters are Flora, Pam, Margot and Dot Wilde. Their Aunt Sybil and Uncle Perry are dealing with life, never leaving the house or grounds, just in case Audrey should ever return. Also how Jessie, Will, Bella and Romy move from London to start afresh in Applecote, how they discover the mystery of the past, but more importantly how, as a slightly nervous and edgy family work through problems and find common ground.

I would highly recommend this book to readers of historical fiction, mystery and fiction genres. I also think there are some very good discussion points for Reading Groups and Book Clubs. I would like to express my thanks to Netgalley, Michael Joseph and the author for my eARC of this book. My opinion is my own, it is honest and unbiased.

BOOK SYNOPSIS:

‘An enthralling story of secrets, sisters and an unsolved mystery’ Kate Morton, Number One Sunday Times bestselling author of The Lake House

From the present day . . .

Applecote Manor captivates Jessie with it promise of hazy summers in the Cotswolds. She believes it’s the perfect escape for her troubled family. But the house has an unsettling history, and strange rumours surround the estate.

to the fifties . . .

When teenage Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote during the heatwave of ’59, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter, Audrey, five years before.

The sisters are drawn into the mystery of Audrey’s vanishing – until the stifling summer takes a shocking, deadly turn. Will one unthinkable choice bind them together, or tear them apart?

Step back in time for a richly evocative mystery, where the beauty of a Cotswolds summer is vividly contrasted with the violence which shatters it.

Available from  Micheal Joseph Books

Blog Tour · Books · Crime / Mystery · Historical Fiction · Review

#Blogtour The Cardinal’s Man by M.G.Sinclair with @bwpublishing and @LinaLanglee

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The Cardinal's Man.jpgI would like to thank Lina Langlee for inviting me to take part in the Blogtour of “The Cardinal’s Man” by M.G.Sinclair and published by Black & White Publishing

MY THOUGHTS:

I loved this book immensley, my raing is 5 stars.  This book starts in 1608 in Carmoches, Normandy with the life of Sebastian Morra, born with dwarfism.  We are told of his early life and the prejudice shown because of his differences to other people.  His parents are poor and manual labour is the only work available to him.  But due to his size, his physically unable to complete the majority of tasks.  As the years pass he leaves his village and heads to Paris.

He manages to gain employment in the court of King Louis XIII as a court performer.  His performs in front of royalty, nobility, high ranked, famous and infamous.  Including the notorious Cardinal Richlieu, he becomes an asset to Richlieu, his lack of physical ability does not hold him back, but his intelligence propels him forward.

From poverty, he now mixes in the same environment as the most rich and wealthy and most influential people in the country.  This is where his usefulness comes in, as most people do not even notice him. His world changes as he begins his liaison with Richlieu, Master of deceit, of spies, murder and embezzlement.  Showing Sebastian the behind the scenes view of what happens in decision-making, especially at a time when France is at war, has the plague and is in civil unrest.

The author has changed some timelines in history to make the book more readable, he openly admits this, it is after all a story of historical fiction.  But it works very well to give a very good read.  I really enjoyed this book and was addicted from the first few pages.  The way that the author has used history and given an alternative account of what could have happened is very good.  The characters are mostly known from history and are well-developed, but Sebastian was a wonderful character, at times I felt sorry for him, at other I thought he was cocky and arrogant.

I would highly recommend this book for readers of Historical Fiction, and also crime/mystery readers would probably enjoy this as well.

SYNOPSIS:

A spellbinding story set in Cardinal Richelieu’s France

It’s over a century before the Revolution and France is under siege. The Thirty Years’ War has spread across Europe, alliances are stretched to breaking point and enemies advance on every side. And while Louis XIII sits on the throne, the real power lies with the notorious Cardinal Richelieu.

Now, with Richelieu’s health failing and France in grave danger, salvation may yet be found in the most unlikely form. Sebastian Morra, born into poverty and with terrible deformities, is a dwarf on a mission. Through a mixture of brains and luck, he has travelled far from his village to become a jester at the royal court. And with a talent for making enemies, he is soon drawn into the twilight world of Cardinal Richelieu, where he discovers he might just be the only man with the talents to save France from her deadliest foes.

The Cardinal’s Man is a spellbinding story of France in the time of Richelieu and provides us with a very different kind of hero, a dwarf with the wit of Tyrion Lannister and three foot four inches of brazen pluck.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

MerlinSinclair2016_1_Credit_Orlando_Gili.jpgThe credit for the author photo is Orlando Gili.

The only child of two writers, M.G. Sinclair grew up in a world that revolved around literature. Breaking the family tradition, he rebelled and joined the corporate world, where he worked as a copywriter and marketing executive. However, unable to escape the inevitable, he has now completed his debut, a historical novel inspired by a trip to the Prado in Madrid.

 

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Published: 11th July 2017
Format: Paperback 198x129mm
Extent: 288 pages
ISBN: 9781785301094
RRP: £8.99

Available from Black and White Publishing

Or as an e-book via Amazon

Thank you for reading my post.

 

 

Blog · Books · Historical Fiction · Review

1066: What Fates Impose by G.K. Holloway

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MY REVIEW:  I give this book 5*

I loved this book from the first few pages.  It begins with the death of King William in 1087 in the very fisrt chapter, then jumps back to 1045.  The main focus is on the family of Godwin, Earl of Wessex, a very influential and powerful family at the time.  The era of this book has so many great things working for it that kept me reading avidly.

King Edward is on the throne but he has no son or daughter that the crown can pass to.  Reluctant to name a successor publically, there is a lot of speculation around the court as to who should fill the position at the time of the Kings’ demise.  Some believe they have a right to the crown and those that feel they deserve the crown.  Also there are some who believe that Godwin’s family have too much power and influence and should not have the crown.  This is a period when deceit, murder, conspiracy, betrayal and lies are rife all over Europe.  Alliances are made and broken, invasion is a constant threat and no-one is adverse to a little backstabbing.  England is under threat of invasion from Wales, Scotland, Norway and of course from Normandy.

When Harold is made King, there are some who are against him, but he soon gains respect when he shows himself to be a real leader who was not afraid to get his hands dirty and dealing with problems head on.  This is shown when Harold puts the call out for men to support him at Stamford Bridge and also at the Battle Hastings.

The author has managed, in my opinion, to show his knowledge and love for this period in English History.  There are a lot of characters and a huge array of information that has been broken down into short chapters. This is a very detailed book but also very addictive reading.

I would highly recommend this book to readers of historical fiction.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the author for bringing this book to my attention. My review is my own and my honest opinion.

SYNOPSIS:

King William then utters the following words to the room: ‘I appoint no one as my heir to the Crown of England, but leave it to the disposal of the Eternal Creator, whose I am and who orders all things. For I did not attain that high honour by hereditary right, but wrested it from the perjured King Harold in a desperate bloody battle.’

England is in crisis. King Edward has no heir and promises never to produce one. There are no obvious successors available to replace him, but quite a few claimants are eager to take the crown. While power struggles break out between the various factions at court, enemies abroad plot to make England their own. There are raids across the borders with Wales and Scotland.

Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, is seen by many as the one man who can bring stability to the kingdom. He has powerful friends and two women who love him, but he has enemies will stop at nothing to gain power. As 1066 begins, England heads for an uncertain future. It seems even the heavens are against Harold.

Intelligent and courageous, can Harold forge his own destiny – or does he have to bow to what fates impose?

BOOK DETAILS:

Paperback, 456 pages
Published January 2nd 2014 by Troubador Publishing (first published January 1st 2013)
ISBN 1783062207 (ISBN13: 9781783062201)
Edition Language English

G.K. HOLLOWAY WEBSITE

AMAZON LINK

MANY THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG.

Books · Crime/Thriller · Historical Fiction · Netgalley · Review

The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias

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MY REVIEW:

This is a story that spans the centuries, starting in Spain then to Australia and then across mainland Europe.

A nun commits suicide in Public during a holy festival.  The reasons for this choice are found in her book of confession.  It is discovered by her daughter Siobhan.  As Siobhan goes through the confession the story of her mother is laid out before her.  Rather than being the mother who walked out on them a few years ago, she is actually something very different and the safety of her daughters is paramount.  Siobhan has a younger sister, Jess, but it’s only Siobhan who the confession is for.  As the story unfold the reason for this and many other things become apparent.

The story takes us through the Catholic faith, discussing saints, secrets, monasteries, churches, libraries, books, manuscripts and codices.  It soon becomes obvious that there has been a lot of research into this subject.  For the most part it is well paced, only slowing slightly towards the end a huge amount of dates, places and people are mentioned, but still enjoyable and digestible.  There are some brutal scenes depicted in this book and so is not for the fainthearted.

At the end of the book there are a lot of unanswered questions that I assume will be answered in a following book, or books.  I look forward to reading more from this author.

I would recommend this book to readers of thriller, historical fiction and mystery.  It is not a book for the faint-hearted as there are some quite brutal scenes described in this book. It is not comfortable reading but is part of the plot.

I would like to thank Netgalley and Australian eBook Publisher for allowing me an ARC copy of this book, for my honest and unbiased opinion.

THE BLURB:

A nun commits suicide in front of thousands in Spain. In Australia, Siobhan Russo recognises that nun as her mother, Denise Russo, who disappeared six years ago.

In search of answers, Siobhan travels to the isolated convent where her mother once lived. Here she discovers Denise’s final confession, a book that details a heinous betrayal that left her crippled and mute, and Denise’s subsequent deal with the Devil to take revenge. In the desperate bargain Denise made with the Prince of Darkness, she wagered Siobhan’s soul.

As Siobhan discovers the fate of her soul, she learns that hidden within the pages of her mother’s confession is part of The Devil’s Prayer, an ancient text with the power to unleash apocalyptic horrors.

And now her mother’s enemies know Siobhan has it.

Can Siobhan escape an order of extremist monks determined to get the Prayer back? Can she save the world from its own destruction?

Explicit Content Warning: “The Devil’s Prayer” is a historical horror thriller that contains brutality, rape, sex, drug abuse and murder. Readers may find its content offensive and confronting.

You can view the video teaser for the book on https://vimeo.com/156061258. (less)

BOOK DETAILS:

Kindle Edition, 294 pages
Published February 18th 2016 by Australian eBook Publisher
ASIN
B01BXR4838
Edition Language
English
Blog · Books · Fiction · Historical Fiction · Reading · Review

The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie

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MY REVIEW: 5*

The first thing I noticed about this book was its cover.  It appealed to me because I like to sew, I learnt from my Mum and my Nanna.  The fact that I have seen my Mum use the old crank handle Singer sewing machine, that used to be my Nanna’s, and it still worked, also helped.

We are introduced to some very memorable characters.  Jean who used to work at the Singer Factory in Clydebank, Scotland in 1911 during the strike there, Connie a woman who really knows how to sew and can alter just about anything, Fred an inheritor of a machine, Ruth a mother and a nurse and all the people who are involved in their lives.

This story flutters between these main characters, drawing you into a deeply sentimental journey through their lives.  It is a story of hardship and disappointment, but more of determination, pride, resilience and love.  There are family secrets that are revealed and as these secrets come into the open, the reader mirrors the reactions of the characters. It is very cleverly drawn to its conclusion, bringing the story full circle .

It is hard to say where this book got me hooked, but suddenly I could not put it down. It is a beautifully written account of the lives of these people through the different decades from 1911 to 2016. I would recommend this book, it is an ideal book for cuddling up and forgetting the world with.  It has a great feel good factor.

THE BLURB:

It is 1911, and Jean is about to join the mass strike at the Singer factory. For her, nothing will be the same again.

Decades later, in Edinburgh, Connie sews coded moments of her life into a notebook, as her mother did before her.

More than 100 years after his grandmother’s sewing machine was made, Fred discovers a treasure trove of documents. His family history is laid out before him in a patchwork of unfamiliar handwriting and colourful seams.

He starts to unpick the secrets of four generations, one stitch at a time.

BOOK DETAILS:

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published April 17th 2017 by Unbound
ISBN13 9781911586241
Edition Language English
Books · Historical Fiction · Netgalley · Review

Dunstan by Conn Iggulden

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MY REVIEW:  5*

*I would like to thank Netgalley for my ARC for my honest and unbiased opinion*
Set in AD 937, when England is not a unified country. It is ruled by minor kings and is under attack.
It is a period of unrest, war, power struggles and rebellions. I was aware of various names of the period but not much other detail.
The author states that there are sections that he has filled in to make it work as a piece of historical fiction. Effectively using artistic license to create a story of what “could have happened”. To balance this out he also includes “Historical Notes” section at the end of the book explaining why and where he has changed things. There are actual accounts of Dunstan that appear in The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles and other documents.

This story follows the life of Dunstan, who lived close by Glastonbury Tor. Run by monks who take in both himself and his brother Wulfric. It charts the life of Dunstan from boy to man, then from man to Archbishop. Dunstan is quick-witted and ambitious. He becomes a friend of Kings and an enemy to some, a builder of Abbeys and creator of items. He becomes a man of God, though at times he regrets some of his actions. He is focused on building Glastonbury an Abbey that will be seen as an architectural wonder. He is manipulative, a plotter and a schemer and uses his position to make this achievement possible. He claims it is for the Church and the will of God, but it is also for his pride. At times his pride blinds him to become a guilty man.

This aside, he was around when England became unified. One country, one king. He was witness to several kings during his lifetime, and also used his influence for good.

I really enjoyed this story, yes it was simplified, but that was helpful. It made the reading experience smoother and more enjoyable. I enjoyed every page from start to finish and really liked the inclusion of the historical notes at the end, giving me reference points for my own further reading of this period of English history. I would definitely recommend this book to other readers.

THE BLURB:

From acclaimed historical writer Conn Iggulden comes a novel set in the red-blooded days of Anglo-Saxon England. Welcome to the original game for the English throne.

The year is 937. England is a nation divided, ruled by minor kings and Viking lords. Each vies for land and power. The Wessex king Æthelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, readies himself to throw a spear into the north.

As would-be kings line up to claim the throne, one man stands in their way.

Dunstan, a fatherless child raised by monks on the moors of Glastonbury Tor, has learned that real power comes not from God, but from discovering one’s true place on Earth. Fearless in pursuit of his own interests, his ambition will take him from the courts of princes to the fields of battle, from exile to exaltation.

For if you cannot be born a king, or made a king, you can still anoint a king.

Under Dunstan’s hand, England may come together as one country – or fall apart in anarchy . . .

From Conn Iggulden, one of our finest historical writers, Dunstan is an intimate portrait of a priest and murderer, liar and visionary, traitor and kingmaker – the man who changed the fate of England.

BOOK DETAILS:

Kindle Edition, 480 pages
Expected publication: May 4th 2017 by Penguin
ASIN B06XC39LXL