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Book review: The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna van Praag

14 Dec

dress shopSince her parents’ mysterious deaths many years ago, scientist Cora Sparks has spent her days in the safety of her university lab or at her grandmother Etta’s dress shop.

Tucked away on a winding Cambridge street, Etta’s charming tiny store appears quite ordinary to passersby, but the colorfully vibrant racks of beaded silks, delicate laces, and jewel-toned velvets hold bewitching secrets: With just a few stitches from Etta’s needle, these gorgeous gowns have the power to free a woman’s deepest desires. Etta’s dearest wish is to work her magic on her granddaughter.

Cora’s studious, unromantic eye has overlooked Walt, the shy bookseller who has been in love with her forever. Determined not to allow Cora to miss her chance at happiness, Etta sews a tiny stitch into Walt’s collar, hoping to give him the courage to confess his feelings to Cora. But magic spells-like true love-can go awry. After Walt is spurred into action, Etta realizes she’s set in motion a series of astonishing events that will transform Cora’s life in extraordinary and unexpected ways.

Imagine a book with a magical dress shop that sells creations that can change lives. Imagine a book shop next door run by a man who’s wonderful voice captivates all who hear him. Picture a girl who lives by order, science and facts and throw in a little unrequited love and a mystery that needs to be solved – doesn’t it sound intriguing? These are the premise and themes for The Dress Shop of Dreams and I was completely drawn into the story and captivated by it as I read.

The Dress Shop of Dreams is the second of Menna Van Praags’s Cambridge set novels that I’ve read this year and I loved it. Menna’s books have that wonderful magical realism and fairy tale quality that another favourite author of mine, Sarah Addison Allen has in her stories and The Dress Shop of Dreams is a perfect winter read to curl up and escape with.

Cora Sparks is an orphan; her parents died in a fire when she was young and she’s grown up with her grandmother Etta who owns a dress shop. While Etta and her magical dress shop are colourful, imaginative and creative, Cora lives a frugal, almost clinical existence as a scientist. The contrast between them is immense but as events conspire to throw Cora into disorder and confusion she begins a brilliant journey that will change her life forever.

In the middle somewhere is Walt the boy next door, now man who is a bookseller in the shop next door. Walt has his own share of secrets and he brings a wonderfully romantic thread to the book too. I very much enjoyed all of the different mysteries and strands to the stories in this book.

This is absolutely my favourite of Menna’s books to date (I did say that about the last one I read too though – they just get better and better!) I loved how Menna explored the boundaries and crossovers of science and art and of course magic in this novel – it’s a fascinating and thought provoking read as well as a wonderful and captivating story. Menna’s love of books and stories shines through and this is definitely a booklovers book. Slip a copy of this into your favourite booklovers’ stocking this year – they won’t be disappointed!

5/5

The Dress Shop of Dreams is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

Find out more about Menna and her writing at: http://www.mennavanpraag.com/

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

 

Cover reveal! Chalet Girls by Lorraine Wilson

1 Dec

What better way to start December than with an exclusive cover reveal?! I’m very excited to share the gorgeous cover for Lorraine Wilson’s first full length Chalet Girls novel! Isn’t is beautiful?

image1

What happens when life in Verbier suddenly goes off-piste?

Lucy’s been bowled over by the sexy extreme skier who’s hurtled into her life. But can she accept Seb’s commitment to his adrenaline-filled career?

Trusting any man is out of the question after what’s happened to Beth. So why is she so drawn to twinkly-eyed Dan when he’s leaving at the end of the season?

Sophie’s madly in love with her gorgeous fiancé, Luc. Only instead of gleefully planning the winter wedding of her dreams, all she wants is to run and hide…

Three Chalet Girls are about to strap on their skis and find out!

Chalet Girls will be released as an ebook in February and in paperback in April next year. I love Lorraine’s books and if like me you can’t wait to read it you can pre-order it here.

Find out more about Lorraine and her novels at: http://www.harperimpulseromance.com/authors/lorraine-wilson

 

My best and worst Christmas presents by Bella Osbourne

19 Nov

Please join me in welcoming Bella Osbourne to the blog today on the latest stop of her Willow Cottage: Christmas Cheer blog tour. This is the second part of the seasonal Willow Cottage series and Bella joins me today to talk about her best and worst Christmas presents! Welcome Bella!

High-res-Bella-Osborne-218x247Hi One More Page, Thank you for having me on your blog today. Isn’t this a delicious subject with a huge opportunity to offend my family and friends!

So let’s start with the easy ones here’s my top three Christmas presents of all time:

1. An Adidas tracksuit

Now you may be surprised at this but perhaps less so when I tell you that I was eleven years old, very allergic to nylon and virtually the only person in my class that didn’t have a tracksuit. So the fact that my Grandma managed to track down one that was made of cotton (even if it was forest green with yellow stripes) made for the best present that Christmas.

2. A sign

It’s a very simple sign and it hangs above my writing desk. It reads:

‘Careful, or you’ll end up in my novel.’

It makes me smile every time I read it and for a short spell when I had a particularly unpleasant boss I hung it over my desk in the office but unfortunately it didn’t have the desired effect

3. A sealed box

I know this sounds very dull but that all changes when you read the poem that was attached to it. It was given to me by my father who I didn’t reconnect with until I was in my twenties. Here’s the poem:

This is a very special gift

That you can never see

The reason that it’s special

It’s just for you from me

Whenever you are lonely

Or when you’re feeling blue

You only have to hold this

gift and know I think of you

You never can unwrap it

Please leave the ribbon tied

Just hold this box close to your heart

It’s filled with love inside

It’s something I will always treasure.

Now for the really fun bit (insert villainous laugh here). Here are my top three worst Christmas presents received ever:

1. An Insulated Gravy Boat

Yes, readers, such a thing actually exists – I too was amazed. Why? I asked, would you need to keep gravy hot for longer than it is passed around a table and poured onto food? It was also quite an unattractive looking thing – try to imagine a kettle sized plastic jug in hearing-aid beige with a screw top lid. Hopefully now you see why this had to be on this list.

2. A used lipstick

Surprisingly you did read that correctly, yes, I was given a used lipstick for Christmas. It was packaged in a lovely make up bag (with labels attached) and I think the giver thought I needed an example of what it was for. This is in itself quite worrying that she felt I was that stupid, but let’s not dwell on that point. Anyway, when I pulled out the lipstick, in an interesting shade of bright pink, I could see that it’s surface was no longer pristine, shall we say. It could be that the giver recycled it or it could be that they purchased a tester product by mistake, which is something I have almost done in the past and I like to think that was what happened here.

3. A jumper

I know this sounds like an innocent item, however, there was more to it than met the eye. Firstly, this jumper was purchased from a shop that I believe you have to be over 65 to enter – I am not ageist but let’s say this shop caters for a target market that I am not currently part of. Secondly, it had a large sequined tree on the front, which was possibly one of the most unattractive things I’ve ever seen (and that includes Donald Trump). Thirdly, it was in a particularly generous size 16 – my issue here is that I am a size 10 and very boringly have been so since the age of sixteen. Seriously, you could have easily fitted three of me inside it! This oversight could be overlooked unless of course you factor in that the person who bought it was my mother*. I rest my case.

There you have it, I hope I haven’t upset too many insulated gravy boat owners in this process and that you all have a fantastic Christmas with lots of wonderful presents!

Love you Mum – but really what were you thinking?

Willow Cottage: Christmas Cheer is out now in ebook formats from Avon.

image001Beth is running away. With her young son Leo to protect, Willow Cottage is the lifeline she so desperately needs. Overlooking the village green

in a beautiful Cotswolds idyll, Beth sees a safe place for little Leo.

When she finally uncovers the cottage from underneath the boughs of a weeping willow tree, Beth realises this is far more of a project than she bargained for and the locals are more than a little eccentric! A chance encounter with gruff Jack, who appears to be the only male in the village under thirty, leaves the two of them at odds but it’s not long before Beth realises that Jack has hidden talents that could help her repair more than just Willow Cottage.

Over the course of four seasons, Beth realises that broken hearts can be mended, and sometimes love can be right under your nose…

Book review: A Nightingale Christmas Carol by Donna Douglas

18 Nov

A Nightingale Christmas CarolThe Nightingale Hospital, London, 1944

All that Dora Riley wants is her husband home safe for Christmas…

With her husband Nick away fighting, Dora struggles to keep the home fires burning and is put in charge of a ward full of German prisoners of war. Can she find it in her heart to care for her enemies?

Fellow nurse Kitty thinks she might be falling for a German soldier, whilst Dora’s old friend Helen returns from Europe with a dark secret.

Can the women overcome their prejudices and the troubles of their past to do their duty for their country?

This is the eighth book in Donna Douglas’s Nightingales series and Donna continues to create strong story-lines and to bring to life war-torn London of the 1940s. If you’re a fan of the series, you’ll love being back at the Nightingale and catching up with some familiar faces. If you’re new to Donna’s books, don’t be worried about starting here; the story reads perfectly well as a stand alone novel.

Starting in December 1943, A Nightingale Christmas Carol spans a two year period that finally sees the end of the war. Donna really gets into the heart and feelings of a nation that has been at war for many years and her descriptions of the devastation, loss and fear felt by the east end community are heartbreaking and thought provoking. Donna took me through all the emotions as I read this book and I admired the way the characters carried on and made the best of things at the worst of times. There’s an absolutely beautiful scene linked to the title of the book which actually brought tears to my eyes!

Donna focuses in on an interesting angle for this book; the treatment of German prisoners of war, in this case, those brought to the Nightingale hospital for treatment. I loved that Donna represented a complete cross-section of reactions to the German patients at a time when tensions were naturally high.  As ever, Donna takes a topic and weaves it skillfully into personal stories. Dora, Kitty and Helen all have strong reactions through the book to the German POWs and this added a strong tension and drama to the story and quickly showed their personalities.

Kitty and Dora’s stories in particular had me turning the pages as fast as I could and hoping for happy endings for both of them. Both are east end girls with extended family nearby and I liked the depth that this brought to the story as well as the side stories involving their parents and siblings. Kitty’s story brings the romance to the book and I enjoyed this aspect as she finds herself attracted to one of the German soldiers but catches the eye of a Scottish soldier.

Dora’s story tugged on my heartstrings as a mum. As well as working at the Nightingale Dora has six year old twins and her husband is away fighting. My heart was in my mouth whenever the story focused on Dora and Donna Douglas certainly threw in some shocking story-lines for her character.

A Nightingale Christmas Carol is another excellent read from Donna Douglas and if you’re a fan of wartime saga and historical romance then you should definitely put this book on your Christmas list!

5/5

A Nightingale Christmas Carol is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

Find out more about Donna and her novels at: http://donnadouglas.co.uk/

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

Read Donna’s guest post on here inspirations for the book at: http://www.onemorepage.co.uk/?p=19788

 

Guest post: My inspiration for A Nightingale Christmas Carol by Donna Douglas

18 Nov

I’m very pleased to welcome Donna Douglas back to One More Page today as part of her A Nightingale Christmas Carol blog tour. Donna is one of my favourite historical saga authors and writes the hugely successful Nightingale series about nurses at the Nightingale Hospital in London and The Nurses of Steeple Street series about district nurses in Leeds. I’m a big fan of both series’ and I love the mix of historical detail and gripping story-lines that Donna always includes. Today Donna joins me to talk about her inspirations for A Nightingale Christmas Carol. Welcome Donna!

Donna DouglasThe idea for A Nightingale Christmas Carol came about entirely by accident, while I was researching a previous Nightingale novel. I was browsing on The People’s War, a BBC online archive of personal stories and firsthand accounts of life in the Second World War. If you haven’t seen it, I’d urge you to take a look if you have any interest in wartime history. There are so many fascinating and heartbreaking stories there, they could fill a hundred novels!

Anyway, I was researching nursing when I came upon a fascinating story from a young trainee nurse who was given the job of caring for German POWs in a British hospital. Apparently there were so many enemy casualties after D-Day that the local field hospitals couldn’t cope and they had to ship them to hospitals over here.

That set me thinking. What must it be like for a young British woman, perhaps someone with a loved one who had been killed or injured fighting in Europe or during the Blitz, to suddenly find herself in the position of looking after her sworn enemy?

And so the idea for A Nightingale Christmas Carol was born. The main character, Dora, has waved her soldier husband Nick off yet again, with the lurking fear that she may never see him again. She tries to bury her worries by throwing herself into her work as a nurse at the Nightingale Hospital. But then she is assigned to a new ward looking after German POWs.

And she’s not the only one, either. Fellow nurse Kitty has lost her beloved brother to a German U-Boat. And ward sister Helen has her own scars to bear from her time as a military nurse in Europe.

A Nightingale Christmas Carol is about how they all come to terms with putting their duty before their heart, which apparently many of these young women managed to do in real life.

It’s a side of the war that rarely gets written about, which is what attracted me to it. Germans are generally seen as ‘the enemy’, but they were also human beings – scared young men with loved ones at home who worried about them.

This is what the nurses came to realise, as they got to know their patients better. There were even stories of romance blossoming on the ward, although as you can imagine, this was incredibly frowned upon. A prisoner who fell for a local girl could find himself sent to another POW camp at the other end of the country. And a girl who fell for a German might find herself branded a traitor, or far worse.

But many of the wartime stories had happy endings, with couples finding that love really can conquer all. But will this happen in A Nightingale Christmas Carol? You’ll have to read it to find out!

A Nightingale Christmas Carol is out now in paperback and ebook formats from Arrow.

Find out more about Donna and her writing at:

Do stop back later today for my review!

A Nightingale Christmas Carol

The Nightingale Hospital, London, 1944

All that Dora Riley wants is her husband home safe for Christmas…

 With her husband Nick away fighting, Dora struggles to keep the home fires burning and is put in charge of a ward full of German prisoners of war. Can she find it in her heart to care for her enemies?

Fellow nurse Kitty thinks she might be falling for a German soldier, whilst Dora’s old friend Helen returns from Europe with a dark secret.

Can the women overcome their prejudices and the troubles of their past to do their duty for their country?

Giveaway! 5 copies of The Other Sister by Rowan Coleman to be won!

17 Nov

One of my favourite Rowan Coleman books is being re-released today with a new title and beautiful new cover! Previously released as Lessons in Laughing Out Loud, the new title is The Other Sister and if you haven’t read this book yet, I can highly recommend it – please read my review if you need further convincing!

To celebrate release day, Rowan’s lovely publisher has given me five copies of The Other Sister to give away to lucky readers!

other sister

 

Every family has its secrets…

Willow and Holly are identical twins, as close as two sisters can be. But while Holly has gone through life being the ‘good twin’, Willow has always been the less than perfect one. Holly is happily married, Willow is divorced and almost twice her twin’s size. And while she puts on a brave face to the world, Willow knows she’s been hiding her unhappiness for far too long.

So when the past catches up with her, Willow realises it’s finally time for her to face her fears, and – with her sister’s help – finally deal with the secrets of their childhood before it’s too late.

To enter this giveaway just leave comment in the box below or re-Tweet one of my tweets about this giveaway 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 Monday 21st November. Good Luck!

Giveaway! Win a Yankee Candle Advent Calendar!

14 Nov

 

Pleasse note – this giveaway is now closed.

Today I’m very excited to be kicking off The 12 Days of  Not Just for Christmas blog tour with a fantastic giveaway in celebration of Alex Brown’s lovely new festive short story Not Just For Christmas. Each day from now until 25th November you’ll have the chance to win a festive prize or read a special post from Alex.

NJFCblogtour

Today’s prize is the beautiful Yankee Candle advent calendar pictured below.

yankee-candle-holiday-party-advent-calendar-p7200-5494_medium

To enter this giveaway just leave comment in the box below or re-Tweet one of my tweets about this giveaway 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 Friday 18th November. Good Luck!

not just forKitty, who runs the Spotted Pig Tea-rooms in the picturesque village of Tindledale, thinks she’s come to terms with her husband Ed’s death on active duty. When she learns that Ed’s army dog, a black Labrador named Monty, is being retired and needs rehoming, it awakens her heartache once more.

Amber runs the pet parlour, but her love of dogs extends to rescuing abandoned pooches and now her tiny cottage is overflowing with homeless hounds. The only answer is to open a proper rescue centre but where will the money come from?

Kitty knows she could never take on Monty – it would be too painful, but with more than one dog needing a home this Christmas, is a miracle too much to hope for?

Not Just for Christmas is a lovely short story read – just perfect for curling up with on a cosy winter afternoon. Fans of Alex’s books will enjoy being back in the country village of  Tindledale and if you’re new to the village and its residents, don’t worry at all – Not Just for Christmas is a perfect taster and introduction to the village and reads perfectly as a standalone.

I loved meeting Kitty and her daughter Teddie and their story was a particularly poignant one to read given the military angle as Armistice was remembered this weekend. Readers will have their heart stolen by Monty the army dog – he certainly stole mine. Not Just for Christmas is a lovely story of new beginnings that made me thankful and hopeful.

This giveaway has now closed.

Author interview: Jo Platt

9 Nov

Please join me in welcoming author Jo Platt to One More Page today on the latest stop of her It Was You blog tour. Jo was born in Liverpool and has lived in Wiltshire, London, Seattle and St Albans, before settling in Bristol with her husband and two children. She studied English at King’s College London and worked in the City for 10 years before becoming a pre-school teacher in the US and then a mother and secretary. Her debut novel Reading Upside Down was self-published in 2013, selling over 15,000 copies and has since sold to publishers internationally. Jo Kindly let me ask her some questions about her new novel. Welcome Jo!

Jo_PlattYour new novel, It Was You has just been released. Please could you tell us a little about it and your inspiration for it?

It Was You is a romantic comedy focusing on 32 year-old Alice Waites and her friendships, in particular within The Short Book Group.  Alice has been happily, or perhaps apathetically, single for almost two years, but when her book group friends question her reluctance to meet a man, even for a no-strings coffee, she decides it’s time to start dating again.  Along the way, she uncovers secrets kept hidden by friends and family, and also learns something quite devastating about herself.  It’s a story which made me both laugh out loud and shed a few tears as I wrote it and I hope readers will find it equally funny and touching.

There were so many real-life inspirations for the story that it’s difficult to pick just one.  But obviously, my membership of a very lovely book group hugely influence my decision to make a book group central to the plot.  My Bristol group is, in fact, almost three times the size of Alice’s in It Was You but the group’s friendship, warmth and pathological fear of any novel over two inches thick, is exactly the same.

The story focuses on Alice and her friendships and relationships. What would her Twitter bio say?

Interior designer, daughter and friend.  Doing my best and, fingers crossed, very little harm.

Which character did you find hardest to write and which was your favourite?

Ooh… That’s tricky because I want to say that Stephen was the most difficult to write, but I don’t want to spoil anything for the reader by explaining why.  I think I’ll just have to let everyone draw their own conclusions as to why that was, once they’ve read the book!

As to my favourite character, It Was You is very much an ensemble piece, so I have huge affection for all the characters – even the dreaded Eleanor.  David and Sophie were probably my favourite to write as a pair and if you twisted my arm to pick just one, I’d probably plump for David.  He was written with one of my earliest bosses in mind and he was a man of enormous intelligence, kindness and diffidence.

How do you feel your own experiences fed into the story and what would you like readers to take away from It Was You?

I am blessed with a wonderful family and wonderful friendships and I think It Was You is a celebration of both of those things.  I’d like readers to come away feeling entertained and uplifted, with a sense that there are more good things and good people in the world than bad.  All of the characters in It Was You are flawed, and a few are deceitful and disreputable, but only one gives no hint of having any redeeming qualities whatsoever.  And it’s important to remember that that kind of person is, in my experience at least, very much the exception.

We see Alice venture into dating again during the book; what’s the strangest date you’ve been on? Cover

I once went on a date with my trousers on back to front and no opportunity to sort that out for the first hour or so.  I had a huge bulge of fabric at the front, which made me look pregnant, and every time I tried to sit or bend down, I suffered dreadful workman’s bum at the back.  Not the best start to things, but the evening improved and we’ve now been married for twenty-four years.

It Was You features a book group; what are your top three tips for setting one up?

I have no doubt that our Bristol book group breaks all the rules. But the following approach has worked for us.

  1. Try to have a mix of personalities and backgrounds.  It’s great to have something in common (in our case, we each had a child in Year 6 when we established the group), but don’t feel you have to share the same outlook, or sense of humour.  An eclectic mix of people results in an eclectic choice of books and a broadened reading experience.
  2. As far as practically possible, don’t turn people away.  There are seventeen of us in our book group.  It is, admittedly, a bit of an unwieldy number, but we average about twelve at each meeting and the sense of inclusion is great.
  1. Insist that everybody does their best to read the book, but don’t make it a stipulation for coming along.  I have one friend who is too terrified to attend her book group meetings if she hasn’t read the book.  That isn’t the case in our group and, actually, we have had a meeting where only one person had read the entire book.  The evening therefore consisted of that person telling the story to the rest of us, while we all sat quietly, sipping wine and looking thoroughly ashamed of ourselves.  To be fair, we did all pull our socks up a bit after that.  A very little bit.

And finally … what can we expect next from Jo Platt?

Well, I am currently making myself laugh over Book 3 and hope to have the first draft of that finished by Christmas.  It’s about a tortured, and highly confused, author whose longsuffering agent gives her a good shake and tells her to pull herself together.  And before you ask, it’s not at all based on anyone I know…

It Was You was published by Canelo on 31st October priced £1.99 as an ebook. 

Find out more at: http://www.canelo.co/books/it-was-you/

 

Book review: Mistletoe on 34th Street by Lisa Dickenson

7 Nov

mistletoeOlivia has never experienced a snow-covered, ‘traditional’ Christmas before. Having grown up in a family that chose winter sun over decking the halls, she’s not sure what all the fuss is about. So when she and her colleagues are stranded in New York after a work trip, Olivia is perfectly happy spending the holiday season in the Big Apple.

Jon, Olivia’s friend, on the other hand is desperate to get home in time for his big family get-together. Nevertheless, determined to make the best out of the situation, he sets out to show Olivia how enchanting Christmas in New York can be. And when handsome New Yorker Elijah is added to the mix, could the magic of the season finally be working its charm on Olivia? As 25 December draws closer, Olivia suddenly finds herself with a decision to make: who does she really want to kiss under the mistletoe this Christmas?

If Mistletoe on 34th Street doesn’t put you in the mood for Christmas, I don’t know what will. Set between wintry New York and snowy London, Lisa Dickensen’s latest Christmas novel is a tinsel bright story filled with so much Christmas spirit you’ll be tipsy after reading it! The combination of my favourite city with my favourite time of the year is enough to have me swooning already but throw in one smart and sassy heroine, a little romance interests and a some truly cringeworthy but hilarious moments and you have the perfect recipe for a Christmas read that will leave you smiling.

Olivia is an up and coming member of the team at Girls of the World. When her boss has an accident, Olivia gets the opportunity to lead the team at the annual winter conference in New York City. When I wasn’t envying Olivia’s very cool job, I was marvelling at Lisa’s comic timing and ability to create humour out of almost any situation. I’ve read all of Lisa’s books to date and I’m consistently impressed by the way that her characters are relatable, funny and likeable but also able to get a lot of very important messages across to readers. I think Mistletoe on 34thStreet is her best book yet and I love how Lisa has given her unique take on the Christmas novel with an uplifting and empowering dose of feminism!

Olivia’s family don’t really do the traditional Christmas; they usually head for the sun so she hasn’t grown up with the British family Christmas traditions that many of us know and love. I liked that Liv wasn’t a scrooge character but just wasn’t really that into Christmas – it made a nice change and I really enjoyed reading as New York and Chrostmas got under Olivia’s skin!

In three parts and following a diary-style format, the novel counts down to the big day from 5th December as we follow Olivia and the team before during  and after the big conference. Olivia’s colleagues are a lovely mixed bunch of characters and I liked that Lisa gave them each their own little quirks and that they all had their own little surprises to bring to the story.

This novel feels very current with lots of references to Christmassy songs and films and to tv and films set in New York. I enjoyed picking out the little mentions and now have a nice little list of ‘must watch’ films. I also have another little list of places I must visit if I ever get to go to New York at Christmas!

As events conspire to keep Olivia and her team in the city that never sleeps, Lisa Dickenson turns up the wow factor and creates a winter wonderland full of perfect New York moments that had me longing to visit again. Grab a box of quality street and a cup of eggnog, sit back and enjoy the magic!

5/5

Mistletoe on 34th Street is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

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

Find out more about Lisa and her writing at: http://www.lisadickenson.com/

Book review: Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

5 Nov

lyrebiShe will change your life forever…

In the south-west of Ireland, rugged mountains meet bright blue lakes and thick forests. Deep in the woods, a young woman lives alone, forever secluded from the world, her life a well-kept secret. She possesses an extraordinary talent, the likes of which no-one has seen before: a gift that will earn her the nickname Lyrebird.

When Solomon stumbles into Laura’s solitary existence, her life is turned on its head. Pulled from her peaceful landscape to the cacophony of Dublin, she is confronted by a world desperate to understand her.

But while Solomon knows the world will embrace Laura, will it free her to spread her wings – or will it trap her in a gilded cage? Like all wild birds, she needs to fly free…

Lyrebird is a thoughtful, deeply moving love story; a story of the wild heart in us all and the quiet that lies underneath the world’s noise.

In Lyrebird Cecelia tells a mesmerising story of love and secrets, shining a light on a world  obsessed with media and fame and asking the reader to consider what the world would be like without all the noise and trappings of our fast paced lives.

The Lyrebird of the title is a nickname given to lead character Laura, a 26 year old woman who has spent the last decade of her life living in a secluded cottage in a remote part of south-west Ireland. Discovered suddenly by a documentary film crew, Lyrebird is the story of Laura’s life as the modern world comes crashing in. She gains her nickname from her ability to mimic the sounds and people around her – just like the mysterious lyrebird.

I really liked the premise for this story and Cecelia sets the scene so well as the documentary crew of Rachel, Bo and Solomon return to Ireland to attend the funeral of one of their subjects.Award winning director Bo is looking for her next project and as she and her team stumble upon the mysterious girl in the cottage in the woods they know they’ve found it.

Bo is an intriguing character and I’ll admit that I didn’t like her very much from the start and for most of the story but I was fascinated by how her mind worked and the lengths that she’d go to to get her story.

Bo’s sound engineer Solomon is also her boyfriend but as he is the first to meet Laura, it’s immediately obvious that there is a connection between them and this sets up the romance angle to the story. I loved Solomon as a character and particularly enjoyed the scenes and banter he has with his big family.

Laura was my favourite character in this book and I loved seeing the world through her eyes and the different, thought provoking perspective that she gave me.  As Laura is swept up into a TV talent contest the contrast with her secluded life in the cottage couldn’t be more different and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what would happen to her.

Lyrebird 
is Cecelia Ahern’s fourteenth novel and I think it is up there with the best of them. I love how Cecelia continues to find the magic and mystery in the every day and give us different perspectives on our lives.

4/5

Lyrebird is our now in hardback, audio and ebook formats from HarperCollins.

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

Find out more about Cecelia and her writing at: http://www.cecelia-ahern.com/