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Serial spotlight: The Reading Group April by Della Parker

11 Apr

reading aprilMeet the Reading Group: five women in the seaside village of Little Sanderton come together every month to share their love of reading. No topic is off-limits: books, family, love and loss . . . and don’t forget the glass of red!

Serena, the ambitious young Headmistress of Poppins Private School, has just begun reading Jane Eyre alongside her friends in the Reading Group. She would never admit it out loud, but she’s half hoping that reality might once again echo fiction. Will she perhaps meet her own Mr Rochester?

That doesn’t stop her from being slightly alarmed when her secretary arranges an appointment with one Mr Winchester, the handsome father of a troubled pupil in the midst of a messy divorce. But when the line between work and pleasure begins to blur, and troubles in her own family come to a head, Serena is left wondering if being a romantic heroine is all it’s cracked up to be…

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the reading group series (you can read my thoughts on the earlier episodes here) and I’ve been looking forward to Serena’s turn in the spotlight. This is a lovely series for a quick read and the focus on classic novels that the group is reading each month, is a fab premise for the stories.

Each month the reading group choose a classic book for their meeting and the book that the group is reading for April installment is Jane Eyre. I was intrigued to find out how Della would bring the themes and characters of Jane Eyre into a modern day story but I must say she’s done it with flair and the April episode of The Reading Group is my new favourite of the set.

Serena is a school headmistress and has plunged herself into her career as a result of the sad loss of her husband Nick at a very young age. In this episode we finally get to delve into Serena’s character and her background more with the detail of her life at school, her relationships with her family and her past with Nick coming through strongly. Serena is one of my favourite reading group characters and the events of this story only made me like her even more.

As Serena meets Mr Winchester – who might just be her very own Mr Rochester – the scene is set for a gripping storyline as she becomes involved in his family’s troubles. As if this wasn’t drama enough, there’s an excellent sub plot involving Serena’s niece that had me hooked too.

The ladies of the reading group have by now established a close relationship and I loved how they rallied round to support Serena in this April story. For followers of the series, you’ll be pleased to know that there are brief (and exciting) updates on some of the other ladies in the group and the promise of much more to come in the next installment: The Reading Group – Summer Holiday which is thankfully out at the end of the month!

If you haven’t tried this series yet, don’t be afraid to jump in here as each story does stand alone very well. You might also like to note that there’s a free taster, The Reading Group December available to download too!

5/5

The Reading Group -April is out now in ebook formats from Quercus.

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

 

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!

Book review: Dreamday Pattern Journals – Kyoto and Marrakesh by Laurence King Publishing

26 Jul

Something new on the blog today; my first notebooks/journals reviews! As many of my fellow bloggers will no doubt testify, a love of books and blogging often comes with a love of beautiful notebooks and stationery. I for one get very excited about diaries, journals, calenders and all sorts of pretty paper-based products that just make life althogether more lovely!

Dreamday pattern journals

I recently added colouring books to the list too and have discovered a new love for sitting down with my pencils and spending a blissful hour (if I’m really lucky) colouring and listening to an audiobook! It’s such a perfect escape and if you haven’t tried it you really should. And this is where my review for today comes in. The Dreamday Pattern Journals by Laurence King are gorgeous, top quality notebooks and colouring books in one perfectly pretty package. Both practical and indulgent, these journals are a grown up treat to be treasured and I love how they inspired my creativity.

6 pattern

Each notebook contains over 100 pages of uncoated ivory paper intertwined with intricately patterned colouring pages, each inspired by an iconic design location. Laurence King has released six journals in the series so far;  Mid-Century Modern – Scandinavian Design, Art Deco – Manhattan, Heraldic – Paris, Renaissance – Florence and two new journals released last week Marrakech – Moroccan Style and Kyoto – Japanese Style. I was lucky enough to recieve copies of Marrakech and Kyoto and have been happily colouring the beautiful patterns in both – you can see some of my efforts in the images on this post.

IMG_5194

The Kyoto notebook has a lovely cherry-blossom pink cover and classic Japanese leaf-and-wave colouring designs. I love both journals but the Marrakesh-style is, I will admit, my favourite – the blues of the cover colours and mosaic pattern is so eye-catching and features all of my favourite colours. The geometrc patterns inside really appealed to me too. I recently completed a mindfulness course and it made me very conscious of the importance of taking time out to switch focus and appreciate the little things. Being creative and getting back to basics with paper and pencils is just one of the ways I’ve been switiching off and relaxing and I can’t recommend it highly enough for the way that it has helped me cope with some of life’s stresses!

IMG_5400

The combiation of a place for thoughts and notes together with doodles and designs makes these journals a winner for me. I’ll definitely be buying more as gifts and will look forward to adding to my collection soon!

5/5

Kyoto and Marrakesh Dreamday Pattern Journals are out now from Laurence King publishing.

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing review copies of these journals.

Event news: Rooftop Book Club with Sheila O’Flanagan, Sarah Vaughan and Tracy Rees

10 Jul

rooftop book club

The brilliant Rooftop Book Club has a fantastic Holiday Reads on the Roof event taking place on 19th July featuring Sheila O’Flanagan, Sarah Vaughan and Tracy Rees. The views from the rooftop at Carmelite House are just stunning  – the perfect location to watch the sun set whilst hearing from your favourite authors.

Books will be on sale and you will have the opportunity to get copies signed. All attendees will go home with a fab goody bag too! You can buy tickets at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/rooftop-book-club-presents-holiday-reads-on-the-roof-tickets-26241545168 I hope to see some of you there!

rooftop book club details

Book review: Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

27 Jun

9780349008325Valley of the Dolls took the world by storm when it was first published, fifty years ago. Never had a book been so frank about sex, drugs and show business. It is often sited as the bestselling novel of all time.

Dolls – red or black; capsules or tablets; washed down with vodka or swallowed straight. For Anne, Neely and Jennifer, it doesn’t matter, as long as the pill bottle is within easy reach. These three beautiful women become best friends when they are young and in New York, struggling to make their names in the entertainment industry. Only when they reach the peak of their careers do they find there’s nowhere left to go but down – to the Valley of the Dolls.

I’d heard of Valley of the Dolls but until I was asked if I’d like to review it in celebration of its 50th anniversary, I didn’t know much about it. One look the beautifully packaged anniversary paperback with its glossy black cover and hot pink page edges and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy and as soon as I started reading I was hooked!

What struck me straight away about this book is how readable and relevant it still is today. It definitely earns its modern classic label. Remove the time references and parts of this book could well have been written today and I could see its influence on writers such as Candace Bushnell, Lauren Weisberger and Jackie Collins.

For those who haven’t read it, this is the story of three girls who all go to New York to make a new start and the ups and downs of the lives of Anne, Jennifer and Neely as they struggle to make it to the top, captivated me. It’s a gossip- filled, glamorous and sometimes shocking read (especially if you put it in its historical context) that feels like a behind the scenes look at the worlds of theatre, film and television.

Set between 1947 and 1965 the first half of the book covers the years 1945-47 and really focuses on setting up the characters and getting to know them. Anne is the lead and I liked her from the start. She’s bright and ambitious and her only wish is to escape the confines of her well-mannered upbringing and the expectations that she’ll follow the life path laid out for occupants of her small town. I loved the way that Anne stayed true to her ideals throughout the story, particularly in love.

Jennifer and Neely both meet Anne during her early days in New York. Both are looking for fame and fortune and I loved reading about the rises and falls in their fortunes. This is very much a story about the highs and the lows and again, many of the themes and issues in it are as relevant today as they were fifty years ago – one of the most surprising things about this book for me is that despite all of the advances that have been made in the last fifty years, many of the themes still ring true; the pressures on women to look and act a certain way, the pressure to be thin and young looking, addiction, the challenges posed by wanting a career and to be a parent and the age old challenge of finding and holding onto love.

As you can probably tell, I loved this book and if you haven’t read it, please do give it a try. For fans old and new, Virago has also released a special edition hardback, notebook and mug to celebrate Valley of the Dolls 50th anniversary all of which have now been added to my wish list!

5/5

Valley of the Dolls 50th Anniversary paperback is released on Thursday 30th June by Virago

Book review: First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

11 Feb

first frostAutumn has finally arrived in the small town of Bascom, North Carolina, heralded by a strange old man appearing with a beaten-up suitcase. He has stories to tell, stories that could change the lives of the Waverley women forever. But the Waverleys have enough trouble on their hands. Quiet Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies, but it’s nothing like she thought it would be, and it’s slowly taking over her life. Claire’s wild sister Sydney, still trying to leave her past behind, is about to combust with her desire for another new beginning. And Sydney’s fifteen-year-old daughter Bay has given her heart away to the wrong boy and can’t get it back.

First Frost is Sarah Addison Allen’s sixth novel. Although this book can be read happily as a stand-alone, it’s also a follow up to her debut hit, Garden Spells. Sarah is one of my absolute favourite authors and I always buy her books as soon as they are released so I was delighted to see that she was returning to Bascom, North Carolina and to the Waverley family that I first met in Garden Spells.

Despite buying this book on its trade paperback release last year, as with so many of the books I buy myself, it has sat patiently waiting for me to get through my review pile. With my new year’s resolutions this year, I made myself promise that I would read at least one book each month that has been sitting on my bookshelf for a year or more and First Frost was the first I chose. The Waverley’s are a family that possess a certain magic or strangeness  (depending on which way you look at them) I love Sarah’s magical realism because it is just that; she perfectly captures the magical elements of everyday things and while the Waverley quirks might be considered eccentricities by some, I love to see and embrace the magic that the women of the family hold.

Claire Waverley’s magic is in the food that she makes and her use of flowers to affect moods, bring luck and heal. Claire’s sister Sydney’s magic comes through in her skills as a hairdresser and Sydney’s daughter Bay instinctively knows where things should be and even which people belong together! As a character I loved Bay with her surety for where things including herself belong. She’s actually the opposite of most teenage girls in that the normal social anxieties really don’t seem to bother her; she knows she’s a Waverly and she belongs. I loved how her dedication to what she knows to be right got her into some scrapes along the way.

As with all of Sarah’s books First Frost is part family drama, part mystery and part romance. Each year the apple tree in the Waverley yard blossoms and flowers at first frost. The first frost marks a new beginning for the Waverley’s and this novel charts the tense build up to the frost. Bay is experiencing first love but just needs to convince the object of her affections that they belong together, Claire’s sweet business is booming but has taken over her life to the detriment of all else ad Sydney is struggling to come to terms with an unfulfilled wish. To add to the stresses felt by the Waverley women a stranger has come to town with a mission to find the Waverley house. As Claire, Sydney and Bay look into the past, they each need to face their demons before they can move forward.

As ever, Sarah’s descriptions are beautiful, her passion for food and books shines through in her writing and the story is inspirational, hopeful and perfectly magical!

5/5

First Frost is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

Find out more about Sarah Addison Allen and her writing at: http://www.sarahaddisonallen.com/

Reading round up 17th January 2016

17 Jan

We’re just over halfway through the month and so far I’m keeping up with my resolution to blog every day in January. In fact it’s going so well I might challenge myself to do it again in February (watch this space).

I’m also doing well at posting more to Facebook and Instagram but I’ve realised that I don’t always publish the same pics/thoughts to each account and often, I don’t post my own photos to this blog so I’ve decided to try to do a weekly (might be fortnightly or even monthly!) round up on Sundays.

our songSince the start of the year I’ve read 5 books. This week I read Our Song (28th January) by Dani Atkins a book that has set the bar high already for this reading year. I was completely swept up in the story  and sobbed my way through the final chapters but absolutely loved it. It’s out at the end of the month and I highly recommend adding it to your shopping list (along with a box of tissues!) Look out for my full review soon.

After Our Song I found myself with a bit of a book hangover for a couple of days but on Thursday I started reading Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (14th January) and finished it this morning. There’s nothing like a complete genre change to keep the reading excitement high and this book is quite different to anything I’ve read before but I loved the mythology and beautiful descriptions as well as the action and adventure of the story.

I took part in two blog tours last week and had a bit of an 1980s theme going on. Firstly, What A Way To Go set in 1988 and then Holding Out for a HeroThis week Erica Image-1Hayes’ Scarred blog tour will be stopping off here on Tuesday.

Finally, I received some exciting book post this week which included an advance proof of Katherine Webb’s next novel, The English Girl (24 March 2016); a copy of The Faithful Couple (4th February) by A. D. Miller and a beautiful hardback of When Everything Feels Like the Movies (14th February) by Raziel Reid. I’m looking forward to reading all of these very soon!

 

Review round up 2015

20 Dec

As 2015 comes to a close, I’ve been trying to catch up on books I read but didn’t get round to reviewing. Here are some mini reviews of the ones that got away earlier in the year!

dandelion yearsThe Dandelion Years by Erica James

The Dandelion Years is the first of Erica James’ books that I’ve read. I was drawn to this book initially by the references to Bletchly Park. The code breakers of World War Two have always held a fascination for me. Coupled with the fact that this is a book where the lead character is a book restorer, I had to know more!

This is a lovely story of family, history and love and I found it a gently compelling read. Starting in the present we meet Saskia and her unconventional housemates. This is three men and a little lady grown up as Saskia lives with her dad and two grandfathers which is a set up that I’ve never come across before but made for a refreshingly different family group in the book.

Saskia is given a book to restore and finds a manuscript hidden inside. Titled The Dandelion Years, the handwritten pages tell a tale of wartime love and Saskia is soon hooked. While I enjoyed the main story it was the chapters that took me back in time that I enjoyed most and caught my imagination and curiosity.

James sets a number of mysteries out for the reader and as the story progressed I enjoyed beginning to piece the picture together but I still couldn’t predict what had happened to the Katsura that the historical element of the book focussed icon. With romance, history and an intriguing mystery, this is a lovely novel about seizing the moment and moving forward despite heartbreak loss and uncertainty.

the sistersThe Sisters by Claire Douglas

The story focuses on Abi – a grieving twin whose identical sister has recently died. The questions and cliffhangers come thick and fast starting with a high impact opening chapter and its soon clear that Abi has a lot to deal with. I loved the way that Claire drip fed details about what happened to Abi’s twin Lucy to us and I thought she struck a tantalisingly perfect balance between moving the story forward and deepening the mysteries in it.

Just about everyone in the story feels unreliable as narrators and this was one of the key reasons I enjoyed this book so much – just when I thought I’d worked out who was manipulating who a new detail or event would make me question everything again.

Abi is a complex character and her thought processes and motivations equally complex against a background of grief, self blame and concerns for her mental health. Seemingly minor and plausible events like the misplacement of a letter or medication escalate into more sinister occurrences and throughout as a reader I was as unsure as Abi as to who was responsible. This lent an uncertain quality to the story and made it all the more gripping.

Abi moves in with Bea And her brother Ben and this is where the story really takes off. The relationships between the siblings is intriguing and adds further to the drama and mystery of the book. A fab psychological thriller –  I thoroughly enjoyed Claire Douglas’s gripping debut.

The New Woman by Charity Norman the new woman

Charity Norman has written some of my favourite books of recent years and I was delighted to be chosen to give out one of her books for World Book Night earlier in the year.  I can always rely on Charity to provide a thought-provoking read that will make me look at an issue from many different angles and The New Woman is no exception.

Luke Livingstone is a highly respected solicitor; a family man with a lovely home, wife, children and grandchildren. But Luke has been living with a huge secret; a secret that defines the very core of who he is and as the novel opens, it is a secret that has driven him to take a heartbreaking decision. I have little experience of transgender issues personally but with her characteristic sensitivity, Charity shines a light on what it’s like to feel you have to hide your true identity from those you love.

Charity captures the nuances and intricacies of family life so well. Seeing Kate, Elish and Luke’s perspectives was fascinating and made me think about my own parents and what they really think about my choices as opposed to what they’d like me to think they think! Norman cleverly illustrates the point that as much as we may think we know what our nearest and dearest are thinking only that person can ever really know what’s going on in their heads. For Luke this is a huge identity issue but I could see echoes of the theme throughout the book as key characters were forced in turn to address their own hidden secrets.

I hope that transgender children today would find more acceptance than Luke did when he was young; the story made me concerned and sad as I read but ultimately was a tale of strength and transformation for all.

the ice twinsThe Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne

I read more psychological thrillers in 2015 than I ever had before and The Ice Twins is one that stands out as being particularly and chillingly memorable. Angus and Sarah Moorcraft are trying to piece their lives back together following the tragic death of their daughter Lydia. What is already a devastating subject is made more intense by the fact that Lydia has an identical twin, Kirstie. Everything Kirstie does is a reminder of Lydia and when Kirstie begins to act strangely, Sarah and Angus don’t know how to react.

This is a novel of complex psychology, isolation, the unique relationship between twins and the effects of devastating grief on a family. As Angus, Sarah and Kirstie decide to move to a remote and tiny Scottish Island to a house that Angus inherited from his grandmother, they add an extra dimension to their problems.

But it is Kirstie’s insistence that a mistake has been made and that she is actually Lydia that gives this book such a chilling and memorable edge. I was on the edge of my seat as I read The Ice Twins and the imagery of the isolating Scottish landscape added wonderfully to the otherworldly and spooky events of the novel. With the mystery of what really happened to the twins tantalisingly waiting to be revealed, this is a gripping page turner and will stay with you long after you’ve read the final page.

 

 

Book review: The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

6 Jul

paying guestsIt is 1922, and in a hushed south London villa life is about to be transformed, as genteel widow Mrs Wray and her discontented daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers. Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the ‘clerk class’, bring with them gramophone music, colour, fun – and dangerous desires. The most ordinary of lives, it seems, can explode into passion and drama . . . A love story that is also a crime story, this is vintage Sarah Waters.

I was delighted to be asked to be part of the Waterstones Book Club this summer and to review and discuss Sarah Waters’ latest novel, The Paying Guests. Having enjoyed Sarah’s previous novels, I was very much looking forward to this one and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed chatting to fellow bloggers about the book (I’ve linked their reviews at the end of this post so that you can see all of our thoughts).

The Paying Guests is written in three parts and there were three very distinct sections to the story. Part one sets the scene beautifully; the sense of time and place that Sarah Waters creates in her writing is wonderful. Reading The Paying Guests I felt like I was transported to 1920s post-war London. The world and characters depicted were as clear to me as if I was watching them on television and so caught up was I in this world that it was a bit of a disappointment to stop reading and come back to the modern world.

The Paying Guests is an evocative examination of the post-war world and its impact on individuals and wider society Frances and her mother have been forced to open up their home and take in lodgers to make ends meet and the book charts what happens when Lilian and Leonard Barber move in. I liked the way that the complex social structures and changes wrought by World War One were threaded through the novel and brought down to the level of individuals with the Barbers representing the upwardly mobile clerk class; Frances and her mother the traditional middle classes and I particularly enjoyed the contrasts with Lilian’s family.

There’s much talk of what is ‘done’ and a complex code of subtle social etiquette underlines  the relationships in the book. Having listened to my own gran and great aunts discuss similar in the past, the lives depicted felt completely believable and I admire Waters’ ability to present domestic life in the 1920s so vividly.  The story burns slowly as the two families work out how to live in their new spaces and I enjoyed reading as the relationships developed with secrets revealed. Waters builds the tensions brilliantly with a series of peaks and troughs and kept me guessing as a reader and I enjoyed the romance of this part of the novel.

Part two delves deeper into the relationships between the key characters and the novel swiftly moves to become a crime story with the final part focusing on the outcome of said crime and it’s repercussions. I’m not a huge fan of crime novels and I did find this part of the book more difficult to get my head around. Although there is a wonderful amount of detail as to the ins and outs of 1920s criminal investigations and court cases, it was the love story element that held my interest and I would have liked to have seen what would have happened to Lilian and Frances had the crime element not got in the way!

I really enjoyed discussing this book with Kariss, AliceSophie and Kara and would definitely recommend it to book groups as we found that we all had plenty to say about the characters and events depicted. The Waterstones Book Club edition comes with exclusive extra material including an interview with Saarah Waters and a great list of question prompts for book groups to discuss.

4/5

The Paying Guests is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

I’d like to thank Waterstones for providing me with a review copy of this novel.

Find out more about Sarah Waters and her novels at: http://www.sarahwaters.com/

Read Alice’s review at: http://ofbooks.org/2015/07/06/review-the-paying-guests-by-sarah-waters/

Read Kaara’s review at: http://queenofthelbd.com/2015/07/05/the-book-review-sarah-waters-the-paying-guests/

 

 

Book review: The Chateau on the Lake by Charlotte betts

7 May

chateau on the lake1792. As a teacher at her parents’ Academy for Young Ladies in the heart of London, Madeleine Moreau has lived her life sheltered from the outside world. But on the night of a dazzling Masquerade, tragedy strikes and she is left alone in the world. Desperate to find the family she never knew, Madeleine impulsively travels to France in search of them. But with war around the corner, and fearing for Madeleine’s safety, the enigmatic Comte Etienne d’Aubery offers her protection at his home, Chateau Mirabelle.

Chateau Mirabelle enchants Madeleine with its startling beauty, but it is a place of dark and haunting secrets. As the Revolution gathers momentum and the passions of the populace are enflamed, Madeleine must take control of her own destiny and unravel events of the past in order to secure a chance of future happiness.

The Chateau by the Lake is my introduction to Charlotte Betts’ writing and I’m pleased to have discovered a ‘new’ historical fiction author. This is actually Charlotte’s fourth book and her previous novels have been nominated for and won several historical romance awards so I was eager to read it.

This novel begins in 1792 as we meet Madeleine Moreau, a teacher at her parents’ Academy For Young Ladies. The Academy is in London and I enjoyed the descriptions of Madeleine’s world. I also liked her character straight away as she takes one of her lessons outside into Soho Square to keep the girls’ interest and observes with dry humour the effect a couple of red-coated soldiers have on her charges!

Madeleine is unusual for her time in that she has been encouraged by her parents to be an independent thinker; to read and learn widely and to debate, question and challenge the world and events around her. In the words of the era she would definitely be described as ‘spirited’ but it was interesting to see that even a woman as strong and adventurous as Madeleine still had to live within a fairly constricted set of rules and social etiquette.

Betts captures these tensions well throughout the novel and we’re given a good contrast to Madeleine in her friend Sophie whose husband was chosen to further her families business interests and finds herself in an unhappy and abusive marriage. As dramatic events conspire to leave both Madeleine and Sophie needing an escape, they decide to travel to France in search of Madeleine’s long lost family.

Set against the upheaval and unrest of the French Revolution, there is plenty of drama in this novel to keep readers turning the pages and Betts captures the complexities of the Revolution well showing the subtleties of events of the time whilst playing out a number of mysteries and dramatic twists that will keep the reader guessing.

Romance and mystery combine in the handsome figure of Comte Etienne d’Aubery who offers Madeleine and Sophie the protection of his home as the Revolution escalates. From an initial dislike of Etienne, Madeleine is frequently forced to reconsider her judgement and her developing relationship with the Comte kept me guessing, particularly set against the mystery of his wife’s disappearance.

The Chateau on the Lake is a beautifully described novel with a winning combination of history, romance and mystery built around strong and interesting characters and is sure to be another hit for Charlotte Betts.

4/5

The Chateau on the Lake is released in paperback and ebook formats today.

I’d like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Find out more about Charlotte Betts and her writing at: http://www.charlottebetts.com/