Sunday, 29 January 2012

Review of A Gathering Storm by Rachel Hore

A Gathering Storm is set between present day Cornwall and the early 1930s through to London during the Blitz and war torn France.

Lucy Cardwell is grieving for her father when she comes across a file researching an Uncle that she had never heard of before. Visiting Cornwall soon after, Lucy finds herself standing in the ruins of Carlyon Manor, her father’s childhood home and decides that she must unlock the secret that he was looking for.

Beatrice Ashton grew up near Carlyon and spent much of her childhood with Lucy’s grandmother; Angelina Wincanton. Much of the novel is spent hearing Beatrice recall her life and her connection with the Wincantons to Lucy and there are a lot of surprising revelations. The majority of the story is told from Beatrice’s point of view and follows her desire to help the war effort. Beatrice had a hard life and found herself in many dangerous situations. I did feel that she was the main character and not Lucy, but I think this worked very well in the context of the book.

This is such a fantastic book, I was completely enthralled from the beginning and couldn’t put it down. I particularly enjoyed the way that it moved between the past and present day and I will definitely be on the look out for more titles from Rachel Hore. Recommended for fans of historical fiction.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy to review.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Review of Miracle on Regent Street by Ali Harris

Miracle on Regent Street is the first novel from debut author Ali Harris. I was instantly struck by the beautiful cover and was not at all disappointed by the magical content.

The heroine is Evie Taylor, a hard working but unnoticed employee at Hardy’s department store on Regent Street where she runs the Stockroom. Hardy’s was once one of the top shopping destinations in London full of old fashioned glamour. However, it has now fallen on hard times and when Evie finds out that the stores days may be numbered she sets out on a mission to save Hardys.

I loved the descriptions of Hardy’s and the way that the characters looked back at its heyday in such a nostalgic manner. The store really comes alive to the reader and I found I could really visualise the beautiful sweeping staircase and the old fashioned perfumes and hats for sale. The book counts down to Christmas and I really enjoyed the way that it makes the reader feel that Christmas is creeping up. All of the characters were interesting and quirky in their own way, I adored Evie and Lily who works in the tea room.

Harris is a remarkable writer and has created a fascinating array of characters in this novel. I am really looking forward to future works from this author. Miracle on Regent Street is definitely a novel to go under the tree this Christmas -5 stars from me!

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy to review.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Review of The Silver Locket by Margaret James

Beginning in 1914 and set against the backdrop of the Great War, The Silver Locket follows the story of Rose Courtenay and Alex Denham.

Rose Courtenay has been brought up in a beautiful manor house in Dorset, the only expectations that her parents have set upon her is that she should make a good marriage – a view taken by almost all upper class parents of that generation. For Rose, however, this is not enough and when she is forbidden to take up a place at Oxford she flees to London alone to train as a nurse and help with the war effort.

Alex Denham is everything that the Courtenay’s do not want for their daughter. Denham is an officer in the Royal Dorset Regiment, but a dubious past sheds a shady light over him. Alex and Rose seem to harbour feelings for one another that neither will admit, but wartime changes everything. What will the consequences be for Rose and Alex?

This is a real tearjerker of a novel, so have your tissues ready. James has created a wonderful love story which spans countries, war torn battle fields and many customs of the time. I loved this novel and once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down. It is beautifully written and the description of life during the First World War is brought to life and made to seem so real.

From rural Dorset to the horrors of frontline trench warfare and onto Russia this is a wonderful love story showing the lengths that two people will go to be together against all odds.

Thank you to Choc Lit for sending me a copy to review.