Frost Like Night Blog Tour: Which Season are you? Quiz!

17 Sep

Something of a first for me today – the first quiz that I’ve created for One More Page in celebration of the release of the final book in Sara Raasch’s Snow Like Ashes series, Frost Like Night which is released on September 20th!

frost like nightPerfect for fans of Graceling and Game of Thrones, this high-fantasy adventure follows Meira as she fights to defeat the evil king of Spring once and for all. The final book in the Snow Like Ashes series.

Angra is alive, his Decay is spreadingand no one is safe.

Meira will do anything to save her world. With Angra trying to break through her mental defenses, she desperately needs to learn to control her own magicso when the leader of a mysterious order from Paisly offers to teach her, Meira jumps at the chance. But the true solution to stopping the Decay lies in a labyrinth deep beneath the Season Kingdoms. To defeat Angra, Meira will have to enter the labyrinth, destroy the very magic she’s learning to controland make the biggest sacrifice of all.

Mather will do anything to save his queen. He needs to rally the Children of the Thaw, find Meiraand finally tell her how he really feels. But with a plan of attack that leaves no kingdom unscathed and a major betrayal within their ranks, winning the warand protecting Meiraslips further and further out of reach.

Ceridwen will do anything to save her people. Angra had her brother killed, stole her kingdom, and made her a prisoner. But when she’s freed by an unexpected ally who reveals a shocking truth behind Summer’s slave trade, Ceridwen must take action to save her true love and her kingdom, even if it costs her what little she has left.

As Angra unleashes the Decay on the world, Meira, Mather, and Ceridwen must bring the kingdoms of Primoria togetheror lose everything.

One of the things I loved about this series right from the start was the concept of kingdoms based around the four seasons. As I read Snow Like Ashes, Ice Like Fire and now finally, Frost Like Night, I’ve loved discovering more about the seasonal worlds of Spring, Summer, Auntumn and Winter and imagining which one I’d like to live in most (it’s always going to be Winter – the little heatwave that we’ve just had in London nearly finished me this week!)

So for my stop on the Frost Like Night blog tour, I’ve created a fun quiz to see which season you most have an affinity with. I hope you enjoy it – do let me know which season you get!

Guest post: Writing characters – how to make them believable by S.C. Stephens

16 Sep

Please welcome fab author S.C. Stephens to One More Page today with a little guest post to celebrate the release of her new novel, Furious Rush. S.C. Stephens is a bestselling author who enjoys spending every free moment she has creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance.

In addition to writing, Stephens enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading fabulous novels, loading up her iPod with writer’s block reducing music, heading out to the movies, and spending quality time with her friends and family. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her two equally beautiful children.

I truly believe that everyone does things for a reason. A guy sleeps with a ton of women–there’s an underlying reason. sc stephensStealing, drugs, drinking–somewhere, buried deep at times, there’s a reason behind it. One of the key parts of making a character believable, is showing the reader that reason, and letting them know why the character does the things they do. That’s what my editors call character motivation and it’s a major plot-mover.

Every writer’s process works differently, but for me, I have the two main characters drawn up in my mind long before anything is on the page about them. I imagine what their problems might be, what keeps them apart, what eventually brings them together, and then I consider how those things might happen in real life.

It feels very natural for me to think about them as people, and by the end of the story, it’s almost as if they’ve become real people to me. In my THOUGHTLESS series, Kellan was inspired by ­­­­music, and the lifestyle that musicians have. In FURIOUS RUSH, Hayden was the natural hero to me for Kenzie in this high pressure sport. Where she is strict and regimented, he is wild and adventurous. Just being around him causes her character to grow. He’s the yin to her yang.

furious rushFURIOUS RUSH by S.C. Stephens (Piatkus) is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

For Mackenzie Cox, racing motorcycles is in her blood. Born into a family legacy, she’s determined to show the world that she has inherited her father’s talent in this male-dominated sport. The last thing Kenzie needs is to be antagonised by her rival team’s newest rider, Hayden Hayes. Hayden, exceedingly arrogant and outrageously attractive, immediately gets under Kenzie’s skin and she can’t help but be distracted.

As Kenzie and Hayden push each other on the track, the electric energy between them off the track shifts into an intense – and strictly forbidden – attraction. The only rule between their two ultra-competitive teams is zero contact. Kenzie needs a win, and she also needs to stay away from Hayden. Unfortunately for her though, one thing has become all too clear: she can’t.

Fuelled by passion, driven by desire, Hayden and Mackenzie both want to win more than anything else. Except for, maybe, each other. But anger, jealousy and extreme competitiveness aren’t their only obstacles . . .

Find out more about S.C Stephens and her writing at: http://authorscstephens.com/

Giveaway! Win a Matilda DVD and bag to celebrate Roald Dahl Day!

13 Sep

As I’m sure many of you will already know, today is Roald Dahl’s birthday! 2016 is also his centenary year. Did you know 2016 is also the 20th anniversary of the release of the film of Matilda – one of Dahl’s most loved books?

MATILDA_8x10_CMYK_0011

We’re huge fans of Matilda in this house and it was an absolute pleasure to introduce my son to her world this summer as part of The Big Friendly Read.

In celebration of this special day, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has given me a fab new copy of the Matilda DVD bearing the new #RoaldDahl100 sticker and a gorgeous Matilda tote bag to give away to one lucky reader  – I so wish I could win this giveaway myself!

MATILDA CDR24512SEN_2D w sticker
To enter this giveaway just leave comment in the box below or re-Tweet one of my tweets with the link to this post or like one of my posts about this giveaway on my Instagram page. I’ll pick a winner using Random.org after the closing date.

This giveaway is open to UK residents only and will close at midnight on Sunday 18th August. Good Luck!

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 2016 celebrates Matilda’s 20th anniversary and Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday. You can purchase Matilda on DVD via Amazon here.

 

Book review: The Girl From The Savoy by Hazel Gaynor

12 Sep

151661-FCXDolly Lane is a dreamer; a downtrodden maid who longs to dance on the London stage, but the outbreak of war takes everything from her: Teddy, the man she loves – and her hopes of a better life.

When she secures employment as a chambermaid at London’s grandest hotel, The Savoy, Dolly’s proximity to the dazzling guests makes her yearn for a life beyond the grey drudgery she was born into. Her fortunes take an unexpected turn when she responds to an unusual newspaper advert and finds herself thrust into the heady atmosphere of London’s glittering theatre scene and into the sphere of the celebrated actress, Loretta May, and her brother, Perry.

All three are searching for something, yet the aftermath of war has cast a dark shadow over them all. A brighter future is tantalisingly close – but can a girl like Dolly ever truly leave her past behind?

I’m delighted to be taking part in The Girl From the Savoy blog tour today by sharing my review with you. Hazel Gaynor is a new author for me although this is her third novel. Having absolutely loved The Girl From The Savoy, this is definitely one of those brilliant times when I’m so happy that an author I’ve just discovered has earlier books that I can read next! I’ve already ordered copies of The Girl Who Came Home and A Memory of Violets to read as soon as I get chance!

The Girl From The Savoy is set in my favourite era – the 1920s and, as the title suggests features the beautiful Savoy Hotel in London. As a huge fan of 20s glamour and Art Deco style, I’ve always loved The Savoy. I work nearby and for me it still holds that sense of glamour and excitement that Hazel captures in this book. Reading Dolly’s story was like stepping back in time and getting a wonderful ‘behind the scenes’ look at life in the hotel at the height of its fame.

This is a story of glamour and glitz, theatre, fame and bright young things but what I loved about this book is that it’s also a story of love, loss and heartbreak and cleverly shows both the ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’ sides to life as well as the emotional ups and downs that affect the characters whether they are rich or poor.

Dolly is a brilliant leading lady. As we meet her she’s just starting a new job as a maid at The Savoy; what she hopes will be the first step to the future that she dreams of. It’s hard not to love Dolly – she is the perfect  mix of good Northern practicality, ambition and dreams and I was soon swept up in her story. But Dolly isn’t the only narrator in the book and I also found Teddy and Loretta’s stories equally compelling. The ups and downs of Dolly, Teddy and Loretta’s lives had me gripped and I loved the sense of adventure and triumph over adversity that was a key theme.

Each character has their secrets and mysteries and The Girl From The Savoy surprised me more than once! This is a skillfully researched book and I loved the descriptions of places, music and clothes that transported me to another era. The combination of excellent historical detail, heart-stealing characters and a plot that mixes heartbreak with hope to have you cheering those characters on, is a winner and there are a lot of wise words in this story that I will remember.

I could easily see this book as a wonderful TV series – please someone bring Dolly and friends to life on the screen for me!

5/5

The Girl From The Savoy is out now in paperback, audio ebook formats.

Find out more about Hazel and her writing at: http://www.hazelgaynor.com/

Book review: The One Real Thing (Hart’s Boardwalk) by Samantha Young

5 Sep

one real thingWelcome to Hartwell, a quiet seaside escape where uncovering old secrets could lead one woman to discover the meaning of a love that lasts…

While Doctor Jessica Huntington engages with the inmates at the women’s correctional facility where she works, she’s always careful to avoid emotional attachments in her personal life. Loss and betrayal taught her that lesson long ago. But when she comes across a set of old love letters in the prison’s library and visits the picturesque town of Hartwell to deliver them to their intended recipient, she finds herself unable to resist the town’s charm-and her attraction to the sexy owner of a local bar proves equally hard to deny.

Since his divorce from his unfaithful ex-wife, Cooper Lawson has focused on what really matters: his family and the boardwalk pub they’ve owned for generations. But the first time Jessica steps into his bar, Cooper is beyond tempted to risk his heart on her.

Yet as their attraction grows hotter and Jessica remains stubbornly closed off, he begins to realize it will take more than just passion to convince her there’s only one real thing in life worth fighting for….

I became a fan of Samantha Young’s books with the On Dublin Street series and I loved her standalone novel Hero too. So when I saw she was starting a new series set in an American boardwalk town, I jumped at the chance to review it.

The One Real Thing pretty much has all the ingredients for my perfect book; it’s set by the sea, it has a lovely community of eclectic residents to get to know, a beautiful inn and a strong but imperfect heroine with an equally strong male lead and of course, a sizzling romance! I loved that Jessica and Cooper are both adults with pasts and I enjoyed reading about characters close to my own age (Jessica is 33 and cooper 36.)

The setting for The One Real Thing is just beautiful and I could absolutely see why Jess was so drawn to it. Young has created a great history to the town of Hartwell and as Jessica discovers it’s stories and legends I was hooked. There’s a lovely  flavour of fate and a little magic to the story which is stopped from being too sugary by the grittier parts of the story.

Jessica is a doctor in a woman’s prison. her reasons for her choice of career and why she works in a prison are a key theme in the book. As we meet her, it’s clear that there is much in her past that she needs to come to terms with and I enjoyed getting to know Jess and slowly unpicking her history. Cooper has his secrets too and this gave an edge to the story. As Jessica takes a holiday to Hartwell she soon meets many of its lovely residents and I found myself falling in love with the town along with her.

Samantha Young’s love of reading and books comes across in her writing very well and I was delighted to see that she’d included a book shop among the businesses that populate the boardwalk. Bookshop owner Emery was one of my favourite characters in this book and I hope Samantha tells her story one day too. There’s huge potential for many more books based around Hart’s Boardwalk and I can’t wait to read more so I was pleased to see that Inn owner Bailey’s story will be the focus of the next book in the series, Every Little Thing which will be out in March 2017.

With a good dose of mystery and a some seriously hot romance, The One Real Thing has a brilliant message that it’s never too late for a new beginning and I finished reading with a big smile on my face. This is a book that will appeal to romance lovers, fans of Nora Roberts and Gilmore Girls –  an excellent start to a new series!

4/5

The One Real Thing is out on Tuesday 6th September from Piatkus.

Find out more about Samantha and her writing at: https://authorsamanthayoung.com/

Cover reveal! Who’s Afraid Too? By Maria Lewis

2 Sep

I loved Maria Lewis’s fab debut Who’s Afraid and was very excited to hear that Maria has lots of books planned for this series so today, I’m very very happy to be taking part in the cover reveal for book two! Who’s Afraid Too? will be out in Australia in January. We have a little longer to wait in the UK but that just gives you plenty of time to read or reread book one ;-)

WHO'S AFRAID TOO cover

 

Book Two in the bestselling Tommi Grayson series is a gutsy, fur-flying, feminist read for fans of urban fantasy and strong heroines. If you love Darynda Jones, Keri Arthur, Kelley Armstrong or Harley Quinn, don’t miss Maria Lewis!

 After the sh*t show that was her family reunion, Tommi needed to get gone. Leaving Lorcan behind, she’s spent the last few weeks trying to understand her heritage – the one that comes with a side order of fur as well as her Maori history and how she can connect to it.

But she can only escape for so long – when an unspeakable evil, thought long destroyed, returns, Tommi needs every bit of the skills she’s learned. With the help of allies both old and new, it’s time to take the fight to the enemy . . .

Find out more about Maria and her writing at: http://marialewis.com.au/

Book review: If Only I Had A Duke by Lenora Bell

25 Aug

9780349413747 (1)After four failed seasons and a disastrous jilting, Lady Dorothea Beaumont has had more than enough of her family’s scheming. She won’t domesticate a duke, entangle an earl or vie for a viscount. She will quietly exit to her aunt’s Irish estate for a life of blissful freedom. Until an arrogant, sinfully handsome duke singles her out for a waltz, making Thea the most popular belle of the season . . . well, the duke ruined her plans and now he’ll just have to fix them.

Dalton, Duke of Osborne, is far too heartless for debutantes or marriage – he uses dalliances to distract from his real purpose: finding the man who destroyed his family. When his search leads to Ireland, the last thing he needs is the determined, achingly innocent Thea, who arrives in the dead of night demanding he escort her to her aunt. His foolish agreement may prove his undoing. The road to the Emerald Isle is fraught with unforeseen dangers, but the greatest peril of all might just be discovering that he has a heart . . . and he’s losing it to Thea.

It’s a while since I read an historical romance and I’m always keen to discover new authors so when I was offered the chance to review Lenora Bell’s second novel, If Only I Had A Duke, I said yes and looked forward to a fun summer read. I find that romance covers are a bit hit or miss but this one really appealed to me – I love that blue dress on the front!

This is Lenora’s second novel and the second in a series called Disgraceful Dukes but don’t worry if you haven’t read How the Duke Was Won; I haven’t and this book can be read perfectly well as a standalone story. Lenora’s debut won a top US romance award for debut authors, the Golden Heart Award and I can see why; If Only I Had A Duke is a fun romance read that strikes a brilliant balance of staying true to the historical romance genre whilst feeling like a fresh and modern new take on it.

Lenora’s writing is full of fun and feisty humour and I loved the way that she built the story. From the opening of the book which takes the form of a series of short letters between Lady Dorothea Beaumont and Dalton, Duke of Osborne, I knew I was going to love this novel. The spark was immediately there before I’d even met the characters properly and I couldn’t wait to find out more.

Dorothea is an excellent leading lady and as we meet her she has had enough of being primped and coached to catch a rich husband. Her rebellion finds her exiled to Ireland where she finds she actually quite enjoys the freedom! I loved that Dorothea knew her own mind and was bright and educated. Her correspondence with Dalton starts when she discovers rare paintings in the attic of his house and it made me smile that she was more interested in them than the handsome duke.

Dalton ably plays the part of the rogue Duke; a heart breaker who refuses to settle but like Dorothea, there’s much more to Dalton than first meets the eye. I liked the fact that both characters had their own agendas in this story and neither was afraid to say what they thought. There’s mystery and intrigue, adventure and of course romance aplenty in this novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lenora Bell is definitely an author to watch and if you’re a fan of Eloisa James or Julia Quinn you’ll definitely want to check out Lenora’s books.

4/5

If Only I Had A Duke is released on 30th August in paperback and ebook formats.

Find out more about Lenora and her writing at: http://lenorabell.com/

Guest post: The Honey Trap: my fantasy cast from Hollywood’s Golden Era by Mary Jayne Baker

22 Aug

Today I’m delighted to welcome lovely debut author Mary Jane Baker to One More Page with a fab guest post on vintage films. Mary Jayne’s novel, The Honey Trap has just been released by HarperImpulse and sounds fabulous!

Mary Jayne grew up in Bingley, West Yorkshire, right in the heart of Brontë country… and she’s still there. After graduating from Durham University in 2003 with a degree in English Literature, she dallied with living in cities including London, but eventually came back – with her own romantic hero in tow – to her beloved Dales. She lives with him in a little house with four little cats and a little rabbit, writing stories about girls with flaws and the men who love them.

After many years dreaming she could write a romantic novel but never getting around to doing it, she finally knuckled down last year and sat down to write The Honey Trap. The book was accepted for publication by HarperImpulse in March 2016… and she still hasn’t stopped pinching herself. Welcome Mary Jayne!

mjbThe Honey Trap tells the story of handsome – and married – film director Sebastian Wilchester and the journalist sent to set him up for a scandalous exclusive, Angel Blackthorne. After the story breaks the two try to move on with their lives, but when fate pushes them together once again they soon find themselves growing close as they bond over a shared love of vintage cinema.

In the story, the main characters, Angel and Seb, play a game called Remakes – casting a classic film with modern-day actors (they try to cast It’s A Wonderful Life, with Seb suggesting Jim Broadbent as guardian angel Clarence).

Sooo… I thought it might be fun to try the game in reverse! And here they are, my top choices to play the cast of The Honey Trap if I had my pick of any actors from the Golden Era of Hollywood…

Rita Hayworth as Angel Blackthorne

It takes a sassy redhead to know a sassy redhead, and who doesn’t want to be Rita Hayworth, right? Rita has just the right blend of chutzpah and vulnerability to be perfect for go-getting reporter Angel (plus she could do that cool thing with her hair from Gilda…)

Gregory Peck as Sebastian Wilchester https://waldinadotcom.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/gregory-peck-3.jpg

This was a tough one. I initially thought Marlon Brando, because, to quote Seb himself in the book, “If you can be Brando, always be Brando”. But in the end I decided Brando wasn’t really right for Seb and it could only be young, sizzling Gregory Peck. Phew.

Grace Kelly as Carole Beaumont 

Seb’s wife, A-list actress Carole Beaumont, is described as being a dead ringer for Princess Grace: diminutive, porcelain blonde, fragile yet with a certain no-nonsense toughness – and with the comic timing of a Lucille Ball thrown in for good measure.

Charles Laughton as Steve Clifton

Angel’s sleazy boss at The Daily Investigator is a Yorkshireman and as far as I’m concerned he has to be played by a Yorkshireman – no compromises on my native accent, please! In a modern version I’d love to see a (heavily padded) Sean Bean, but in a classic casting? Scarborough-born Charles Laughton would make a brilliantly villainous Steve.

Richard Ayoade as Leo Courtenay 

This is a difficult one to cast from the classic film era because according to the back story I wrote for him in my plan, Angel’s best friend and ex-boyfriend Leo has dual Nigerian and British heritage. So for that reason I’ve cast the modern actor I’d like to play him instead – gorgeous and hilarious Richard Ayoade from The IT Crowd.

betteBette Davis as Emily Graziana

It would take someone with a bit of edge to play Angel’s other best friend, flatmate Emily. She needs to be feisty, tough and occasionally sweet – a young Bette Davis, with her head of Emilyesque golden curls, would be perfect.

Angel and Seb’s top five vintage films

Seb

  1. The Maltese Falcon
  2. Sunset Boulevard
  3. A Streetcar Named Desire
  4. The General
  5. Kind Hearts and Coronets

Angel

  1. The Apartment
  2. Monkey Business
  3. Some Like It Hot
  4. It’s A Wonderful Life
  5. Casablanca

Thank you Mary Jayne!

the-honey-trap-mjbaker-194x300The trap is set – but which one of them is the bait?

Journalist Angel Blackthorne is looking for her next big scoop. When her sleazy editor asks her to use her charms on super successful – and married – film director Sebastian Wilchester for a juicy exposé, Angel thinks what the hell? There’s a staff job on the horizon, and, let’s be honest, no one can make a cheater cheat if they don’t want to, right?

After the scandal breaks, Angel tries to put the story – and Seb – behind her, but fate seems to have other ideas. A near miss at a premiere after-party and a shared love of vintage film brings the honey closer to the trap. But what happens when pretence leads to passion, and a ‘kiss and tell’ becomes something real?

Find out more about Mary Jayne and her writing at:

www.maryjaynebaker.co.uk | @MaryJayneBaker | www.facebook.com/maryjaynewrites

Book review: The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp

5 Aug

9780356506852Jack Sparks died while writing this book.

It was no secret that journalist Jack Sparks had been researching the occult for his new book. No stranger to controversy, he’d already triggered a furious Twitter storm by mocking an exorcism he witnessed.

Then there was that video: forty seconds of chilling footage that Jack repeatedly claimed was not of his making, yet was posted from his own YouTube account.

Nobody knew what happened to Jack in the days that followed – until now.

The Last Days of Jack Sparks is a book that leaps out, grabs you, petrifies you and doesn’t let go until the end! Based on a brilliant premise; that author Jack Sparks died whilst writing the book which has now been released by his brother in tribute to him, the story is in turns funny, outrageous and downright scary. I’m not so good with scary stories and this one was too much for me in places (I had to read it in daylight with people around me!) but neither could I walk away from it – I had to know what happened to Jack.

The book opens with an introduction from Jack’s brother, Alistair. As Alistair introduces Jack and his reasons for releasing Jack’s last book posthumously, the reader begins to form a picture of Jack ,who has found fame first as a journalist but latterly as an author of books that look into aspects of the society that we live in. Jack’s previous literary forays include the brilliantly titled Jack Sparks on Drugs – the ‘research’ for which ended with him entering rehab! This introductory potted biography of Jack is of course just his brother’s telling of Jack’s life and we soon get to know the real Jack Sparks as we begin to read his last book.

I loved that this story is a book inside a book – Jack’s final work is presented in its ‘unedited’ format and is fascinating but what adds an extra layer is the inclusion of emails, social media and reports of conversations with others in Jack’s life. Emails to his editor, comments on his Youtube channel and other social media outlets give a wonderful insight into Jack’s persona and keep the reader guessing about the ‘real’ Jack. Initially at least, I didn’t think Jack was a very likeable character – he’s arrogant, self-obsessed and confrontational – as you can imagine, this goes down a storm on his networks.

With no punches pulled, the story proper starts with a recount by Jack of his witnessing an exorcism in Italy. It’s a pretty gory scene but Jack very much sees it as a piece of theatre and that’s where the trouble starts. Jack’s actions that day trigger a chain of events that ultimately lead to his death. As a frightening video appears on his YouTube channel that he knows he didn’t post, the story steps up a gear and takes turns that I could never have imagined.

The Last Days of Jack Sparks is a very modern take on our fascination with ghosts and the supernatural, amplified through the use of social media. Fans of films like The Exorcist and The Blair Witch Project will love this book – it truly is frightening and Jason Arnopp skillfully keeps the shocks and surprises coming wrapping them all up in an enticing mystery. I’m already looking forward to his next book!

4/5

The Last Days of Jack Sparks is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

Find out more about Jack Sparks at: http://www.jacksparks.co.uk/

Book review: Family Tree by Susan Wiggs

2 Aug

family treeAnnie Rush seems to have it all, a handsome husband and their fabulous life in Manhattan. But all of that is snatched away when she is involved is a life-changing accident. Awakening from a coma a year later, Annie finds that the life she knew has crumbled away.

In the throes of grief, Annie grasps her new reality – she has to start over from scratch, which means heading home. Annie couldn’t wait to escape the small town where she grew up, but now she finds herself warming to the close-knit community and its homespun values.

There’s also a face from the distant past − Fletcher Wyndham − and all the reasons she’s never quite forgotten him come flooding back. Annie expects to pull herself together and return to the city, but fate has other plans …

A few years ago I started reading Susan Wiggs’ Lakeshore Chronicles series and really enjoyed it so when the chance to review her new novel came up I couldn’t resist. Family Tree is such a lovely an addictive story; I couldn’t put it down once I started reading and I know it will be one of my favourite books of the year. I enjoyed it so much that I’m planning to read many more from Susan’s extensive back catalogue as soon as possible!

FamilyTree is the story of Annie Rush. As we meet her she’s a very successful cooking show producer, working with her husband on a hit show The Key Ingredient. I was drawn to Annie as a character straight away; she’s bright, intelligent and successful. She came across as a happy person – the type of woman I’d like to have as a friend and I thought Susan told her initial back story in a very clever way. I was already gripped by the story but as Annie makes a series of discoveries and then falls victim to a shocking accident, I was completely hooked. Tantalisingly, the story flashes back to Annie’s past at this point and left me desperate to know what had happened to her!

The book is broken into sections set ‘Then’ and ‘Now’ and this makes the story a real page turner as Susan leaves each narrative on a cliff-hanger more than once to switch to the past or present. I often find in dual time narratives that I have a preference for one part or the other but in this story I was just as involved with and wanted to know what happened next with both parts of the story. As the picture of Annie’s teenage years and home and school life in Switchback, Vermont built, it all added up to make me feel like I knew her in depth.

Ironically, as Annie begins to recover from her accident, the reader is in a position to know more about her past than she does and this was a very intriguing premise to the book. And then there’s the wonderful romance angle to the story. From her past books I remembered that this is something Susan does well but the feeling and emotions in Family Tree really got me!

Susan captures the excitement of first love just perfectly and the story of Annie and Fletcher is so bittersweet as life and choices get in the way. I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen to Annie as she returned to Switchback to recover at her family home. As well as the romance aspect of the story Wiggs creates a wonderful feeling of family and Annie’s relationship with her beloved Gran is magical, again making this feel like a very well rounded novel.

There are two other themes that deserve mention; food and locations. Annie’s home town is just picture perfect. In fact I could easily see this book as a movie. The food descriptions are mouth-wateringly delicious and it’s clear that Susan did her research on cooking, TV production and maple syrup farming for this book. I also liked the way that she drew in very current aspects like social media whilst giving the story a timeless romantic feeling.

Family Tree considers the conundrum of doing what you love versus being with the person you love and I thoroughly enjoyed following the ups and downs of Annie’s and her family’s lives. This is a story that will leave you with a wonderful warm glow and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

5/5

Family Tree is out now in paperback, ebook and audio formats.