Category Archives: Fiction

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy. (Watersones Book of the Year 2019)

COVER

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy

 

Summary:

Enter the world of Charlie’s four unlikely friends, discover their story and their most important life lessons.

The conversations of the boy, the mole, the fox and the horse have been shared thousands of times online, recreated in school art classes, hung on hospital walls and turned into tattoos. In Charlie’s first book, you will find his most-loved illustrations and some new ones too.

 My Review:

Sometimes when you write a review for a book that is just so special there literally are no words you can write because no matter what you write it would not do justice to the book or the author. The same can be said of The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy (Ebury Press) The most beautiful book of the year.

Author

Our world is in a real mess right now and hope seems to be in short supply, many of us have been looking for something to cling to I guess call it a life raft for life itself and then comes along a book that is just so full of hope and is a real inspiration. It is a beacon for everything that is good in us and in our lives.

This is the story of Charlie’s four friends, it all started with a simple conversation with the horse confiding in the boy about the bravest thing he had ever said. ‘Help’ said the horse. Sometimes in life we all need to be brave and ask for help. It is not a weakness but it is a strength of character as well as brave.

The story is set in Springtime when the weather can be really strange a bit like life as we all know. The boy meets the mole. They set off on an adventure and soon meet the fox who is quiet for a reason that will become clear and then they meet the horse.

Throughout this beautiful story we meet ourselves in every character and there is nothing wrong with that. It is a book that will tug at your heartstrings and bring a few tears to your eyes and yet at the same time fill you full of hope. At times we are all fragile and doubt ourselves. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse will make your heart burst. We do sometimes forget the words love and also friendship then I recommend that you spend time with Charlie’s four remarkable friends and it is like a warm blanket on a cold winters night. I can feel my heart filling up as I write these words.

Voted as Waterstones Book of the Year for 2019 this will make the most beautiful Christmas gift for anyone of any age. Can I suggest that you go out and buy this book for yourself and one for anyone you know who is going through a difficult time. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

128 Pages.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy was published by Ebury Press and was published on 10th October 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

Violet by SJI Holliday

Violet Jacket

Violet by SJI Holliday

Summary:

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

 My Review:

The first things that strikes you is the cover. It really caught my attention. There is something about Orenda Books and not only their authors but the jacket cover designers. They really are outstanding.

I have to say that I loved The Lingering and before that The Deaths of December by SJI Holliday. They are worth checking out especially The Deaths of December as that is a Christmas crime novel worth reading. Now SJI Holliday returns with Violet a chilling novel perfect for this cold winter evenings.

Susi author photo.jpg

To say this is dark is an understatement, it really is a dark and twisting psychological thriller that will have you glued to the plot all the way through.

Violet has just broken up with her boyfriend Sam and now she meets Carrie and the two end up travelling the world together. Two strangers who happen to meet but this is not going to be any trip for either of them

They end up on the Trans – Siberian Express sharing a cabin. They soon start to get to know each other but this is about to be tested as dark secrets and tension start to emerge. There is something so gripping as a thriller set on a long train journey. It is all here. Shattered and broken characters and minds. The pace is as fast as the changing scenery from the cabin. What are the motives of the two women? Something tells me we are not being told the truth and you get the feeling of unease with these two characters and each has an agenda but what exactly is it? I felt quite uneasy with Violet. Something about her made the hair on the back of neck stand up. This is a captivating and also compelling thriller that I dare you to try and put down. One not to be missed. If you are planning a long train journey ahead of Christmas, then Violet by SJI Holliday is one book I would pack.

276 Pages.

 Thank you Karen (Orenda Books) and also to Anne Cater (Random Things Tours) for the review copy of Violet by SJI Holliday.

Violet by SJI Holliday was published by Orenda Books and was published on 2019 and is available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

Follow the Violet Blog Tour

violet 2019.jpg

 

 

The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott

cover

The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott

Summary:

1921. The Great War is over and families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. He was declared ‘missing, believed killed’ during the war, but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph in the post, taken by Francis, hope flares. And so she begins to search.

Francis’s brother, Harry, is also searching. Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, he has returned to the Western Front. As Harry travels through battle-scarred France, gathering news for British wives and mothers, he longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last conversation they ever had. 

And as Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they begin to get closer to a startling truth.

An incredibly moving account of an often-forgotten moment in history, The Photographer of the Lost tells the story of the thousands of soldiers who were lost amid the chaos and ruins, and the even greater number of men and women desperate to find them again.

My Review:

We all know of the horrific stories of the battlefields of World War One but what of the those who were lost. The Photographer of the lost by Caroline Scott (Simon & Schuster) tells this part of the story. The war is over and now the search for the missing begins.

author

It is impossible for me to sit here and try and imagine what life must have been like to be told that your loved one has been killed or missing and then to find out that his body has not been found. Caroline Scott has written a powerful and hugely emotive novel based on one families search for answers. This is an incredible debut novel that Caroline Scott has researched and poured her heart into.

Three years after the war ended so many families have been left broken by the loss of their loved ones but in this story it focuses on one of the missing. It is May 1921 and Edie is distraught still after losing Francis her husband who is missing presumed dead. Edie receives a letter in the post and a photo of her beloved husband. This completely throws Edie. But there is no news. Has he been found alive or has his body been located?

What Edie does next is to head to the battlefields of France to seek answers but when she arrives she realises that there are many who are searching for answers as to what happened to their loved ones. We also meet Harry who is the brother of Francis. Harry survived the war but the scars remain and now he wants answers to what happened to his brother and won’t rest until he does. But the scars of the war have been taking their toll on Harry.

Harry is not only searching for answers about his brother but has been tasked by so many families to seek answers to their own lost. Harry is the photographer of the lost by taking photographs of the last resting place for those who have been killed so that the families have some closure and can grieve and start the long of moving on with life even with the pain in their hearts.

The tone is sombre all throughout as you would come to expect from such a storyline. There is so much pain that pours from each page as you travel with Edie through France and to the grave sights and also with Harry tasked with finding those who were lost and to try and find his brother. The silence of France as it too grieves for those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Caroline Scott has written a beautiful story of the lost and asks so many questions that the reader will ask of themselves. It is hard to imagine the pain and hardship of the families left without their loved ones as they begin the journey of looking for answers. I have been thinking a lot about this book since I have finished reading and the story of Edie, Harry and Francis has touched a part of me.

So many books have been written about WWI but this is the first novel focusing on the aftermath of the war and the search for answers. If you enjoy reading historical fiction, then I would look no further than The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott. Highly Recommended.

512 Pages.

Thank you Simon & Schuster for the review copy of The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott

The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott was published by Simon & Schuster and was published on 31st October 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

 

Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver

Nothing Important Cover .jpeg

Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver

Summary:

Nine suicides
One Cult
No leader

Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But at the same time, they run, and leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.

That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of the People Of Choice: A mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.

Thirty-two people on that train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People Of Choice are appearing around the globe; it becomes a movement. A social media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers. The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader that does not seem to exist.

How do you stop a cult when nobody knows they are a member?

My Review:

Back in December 2018 I raved about Good Samaritans by Will Carver but now he has returned with the dark and sinister Nothing Important Happened Today (Orenda Books). It can at times easy to refer to a writer as a genius but what Will Carver has given us in nothing short of jaw dropping. A storyline that made me at times gasp for air and made me sit bolt upright even on my journey to the office.

Will Carver 2

I have written this review not once or twice but this is now my third attempt at writing a review worthy of such an outstanding piece of work but here goes. The story really does not let up from page one until the very last so be warned you may want to lock the door and ignore your phone. This is one book you will need to read this Christmas. How would I describe Nothing Important Happened Today? One word. Sensational. This is not going to be your book that has Christmas written all over it but one that will grab hold of you and take you on a journey. Imagine you are one of nine people who wake up one morning and decide that today will be the day when they head to Chelsea Bridge and jump into the River Thames and for each of them this is where their lives end. But this is where the story begins.

I am not going to say this is an easy topic and some may find the content disturbing. What made all nine want to end their lives in what was a mass suicide. Who and what is behind what has just happened and are their other ‘chosen’ ones to end their lives. This is why I was left gasping for air. Carver has carefully sculptured a novel that takes hold of you and twists your mind and thoughts in a way like no other book I have read in a very long time.

There was one time when I was left with my head in my hands but I know I wanted to know what was going to happen. I wanted answers and wanted to know there and then.

Someone is behind the suicides and through this thriller you get to meet the individuals who are chosen to end their lives as the book moves back and forth through time. You the reader will become entangled with each of the characters involved and this left my head spinning. Mr Carver clearly did a lot of research when he decided to write this book and how he has pulled this one off. All I will say is be prepared. Your mouth will go dry and your palms will sweat even on a cold day. Will Carver you have pulled it off. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

276 Pages.

#NothingImportantHappenedToday

@Will_Carver    @OrendaBooks

Thank you to Karen at Orenda Books and Anne Cater (Random Things Tours) for the review copy of Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver

 Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver was published by Orenda Books and was published on 14th November 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

Follow the Blog Tour

nothing happened poster 2019.jpg

 

The House Without Windows by Barbara Newhall Follett and Jackie Morris

Cover

The House Without Windows by Barbara Newhall Follett and Jackie Morris

Summary:

Little Eepersip doesn’t want to live in a house with doors and windows and a roof, so she runs away to live in the wild – first in the Meadow, then by the Sea, and finally in the Mountain. Her heartbroken parents follow her at first, bringing her back home to ‘safety’ and locking her up in the stifling square of the house. But she slips away once more, following her wild heart out of the door and far away…

Barbara Newhall Follett was just thirteen years old when she published The House Without Windows in 1927. The book went on to become a million-copy bestseller. Years later, as an adult herself, Barbara followed in the footsteps of her radical heroine – dissatisfied with the limitations of life as a respectable married woman, she walked out of her house one day and simply disappeared.

Penguin are delighted to republish Barbara Newhall Follett’s extraordinary feminist fable for the next generation of nature lovers and escapees to discover and cherish. Newly introduced by Jackie Morris, and filled with her beautifully inked artwork, The House Without Windows is an irresistible paean to the natural world and its transcendent effect on the human heart.

My Review:

Barbara Newhall Follett was born in 1914 in New Hampshire and a name that may be not be familiar to many people but by the age of twelve she had written a book that was timeless. I knew of her lost classic The House Without Windows from my younger days but lost over time. But now thanks to the publisher Hamish Hamilton and artist and illustrator Jackie Morris The House Without Windows has been re-issued. I can tell that that the embossed cover is just simply gorgeous and inside Jackie Morris has added illustrations that bring Barbara Newhall Follett’s story alive.

Barbara Hewhall Follett

Barbara Newhall Follett

The story actually starts a few years before she reaches the age of twelve and Follett had written the story to give to her mother on her own birthday. But tragedy struck when the family were all asleep and fire ripped through the house. The family survived but they lost nearly everything and Follett’s story was lost in the fire.

jackie-morris-credit

Jackie Morris

So what does the young Follett do next? She spends the next few years recounting every moment of the story and re-writes it almost word for word. It is a remarkable testament to a determined young girl so driven to tell this story of Eepersip trying to escape into the wilderness that is The House Without Windows. Little Eepersip does not want to live in a world of made of bricks and glass she wants to live outdoors and so one day she flees the family home out to the meadow, the sea and where the mountains are. Eepersip is free to walk and feel the fresh air, to see where the wild animals, birds and butterflies live after all they are free. This beautiful story as seen through the eyes of a young child who had a troubled start in life. Follett managed to get her book published and a run of 2,500 copies were printed and all sold.

Suddenly Barbara Newhall Follett’s book became a bestseller and at the age of just twelve she hailed as a bright new star in the world of literature. From here you would think that life would be full of great adventures for Follett she travelled as a new writing star would do. Follett continued to write stories and then in 1934 she married.

On 7th December 1939 she left her apartment that they lived in and was never seen again. There have been over the many year’s various stories as to why she walked out of the apartment. Was it the rejections of her stories or life she living between the four walls and a longing to be free as little Eepersip was, to run to the sea and the mountains. We will never know the answer as to why she disappeared but what Follett left was a beautiful story of a young girl escaping into the wilderness to live in nature.

The House Without Windows cries out not only to be read but to be read outdoors it is beautifully written and just enchanting. Highly Recommended.

The House Without Windows by Barbara Newhall Follett and Jackie Morris has made the 2019 shortlist for the Waterstones book of the year.

Special copies of The House Without Windows by Barbara Newhall Follett and Jackie Morris are available through Number Seven Tales Art and Play Bookshop, Dulverton.

https://www.numbersevendulverton.co.uk/ Jackie Morris has signed copies of the books and there is a silver Snow Hare stamped in the book by Jackie. These are just beautiful collector’s edition copies available and are perfect for Christmas gifts. Telephone the shop for availability and postage. 01398 324457.

240 Pages.

My thanks to the publisher Hamish Hamilton for the review copy of The House Without Windows by Barbara Newhall Follett and Jackie Morris. Published on 3rd October 2019 and is available to through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

Cage by Lilja Sigurðardóttir

cage-9781912374496_lg

Cage by Lilja Sigurðardóttir

Translated by Quentin Bates.

Summary:

As a group of foreign businessmen tries to draw Agla into an ingenious fraud that stretches from Iceland around the world, Agla and her former nemesis, María find the stakes being raised at a terrifying speed.
Ruthless drug baron Ingimar will stop at nothing to protect his empire, but he has no idea about the powder keg he is sitting on in his own home.
At the same time, a deadly threat to Sonya and her family brings her from London back to Iceland, where she needs to settle scores with longstanding adversaries if she wants to stay alive.

My Review:

Cage (Orenda Books) is the third and also final part in the Reykjavik Noir Series by Lilja Sigurðardóttir following on from Snare and Trap. Goodness how I love these tense edge of the seat thrillers and Cage delivers on all fronts as it was a review copy I was reading I found myself highlighting key parts throughout the book.

AUTHOR

Those that have read the previous two novels in the series know that that there are two main characters in Agla and her lover Sonja. For her part in a major banking scandal Agla was locking in prison and know she is out but there is no Sonja to meet her. Agla throughout was a tough no-nonsense character but locked away she has faced her own demons and now she is out she has to face up to life without her lover despite how she feels inside.

Agla has been recruited to look into a scam that spans borders across the world and requests the help of an old quittance in Maria but there is previous with the pair. When Maria realises just how big this fraud is and the scale and who is involved she decides to help Agla. But at the top of this fraud is one man who in in the previous books was the head man of the scams and he will not be stopped and will deal with anyone caught sticking their nose into his business. Ingimar will protect what he has built. All in all, this is an edge of the seat thriller that keep a pace all the way through. What Sigurðardóttir has delivered in the trilogy is a stunning read from book one to the last page of book three. It has everything from drug-smuggling, banking scandals, politics, murder and love. One aspect of Cage I like was that the chapters are short and this makes for a perfect read on the commute to work. (nothing worse than having to leave a chapter half way through). All in all, Cage delivers and I will miss the characters in the series. So now what Lilja Sigurðardóttir what on earth are you going to give us? Highly Recommended.

276 Pages.

My thanks to Karen (Orenda Books) for the review copy of Cage by Lilja Sigurðardóttir.

 Cage by Lilja Sigurðardóttir was published by Orenda Books and was published on 17th October 2019 and is available to through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

Eight Hours from England by Anthony Quayle

Eight Hours From England Cover Image

Eight Hours from England by Anthony Quayle

 

Summary:

Autumn 1943. Realising that his feelings for his sweetheart are not reciprocated, Major John Overton accepts a posting behind enemy lines in Nazi-Occupied Albania. Arriving to find the situation in disarray, he attempts to overcome geographical challenges and political intrigues to set up a new camp in the mountains overlooking the Adriatic.

As he struggles to complete his mission amidst a chaotic backdrop, Overton is left to ruminate on loyalty, comradeship and his own future.

Based on Anthony Quayle s own wartime experience with the Special Operations Executive (SOE), this new edition of a 1945 classic includes a contextual introduction from IWM which sheds new light on the fascinating true events that inspired its author.

My Review:

Many will know of Anthony Quayle the actor nominated for many awards for his roles in Lawrence of Arabia, Ice Cold in Alex and The Guns of Navarone to name just a few. But I had no idea of Anthony Quayle the author. In WWII Quayle was a British Army Officer and later served in the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and served in Albania. The experiences so affected him that he found it hard to talk about. In Eight Hours from England first published in 1945 the story became a fictionalised account of his time in the SOE.

Antony Qualye Author Photo .jpg

The story follows Major John Overton who is putting his personal life behind him and now has agreed to go behind enemy lines in Albania which is under the thumb of Nazi occupation.

When Overton arrives he is confronted by the task ahead of him, he has to organise the resistance and fight the German forces but there is plenty of in-fighting within Albania and too much focus on their own civil war. What our man Overton has to overcome is the terrain and the weather conditions and despite the promise of supplies these do not arrive.

What I found from Quayle’s words was that he was relieved to get out as he did in early April 1944. The situation was deteriorating with too many factions within the country and Partisans fearing not only certain death but total destruction of their villages. For Overton the need to get out of this situation and also Albania at the same time was real.

This is a compelling account of real life SOE agent although fictionalised it really becomes clear to the reader just what agents had to face when they were sent to the Balkans.

Anthony Quayle went on to continue to serve with the armed forces until the war ended and then went on to star in many films and also many stage productions and was Knighted in the New Year’s Honours in 1985. Sir Anthony Quayle died at his home in October 1989.

212 Pages

Thank you to the Imperial War Museum and also Anne Cater (Random Things Tours) for the review copy of Eight Hours from England by Anthony Quayle.

Eight Hours from England by Anthony Quayle was published by Imperial War Museum and was published on 5th September 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

Follow the Blog Tour

Eight Hours From England BT Poster

Plenty Under the Counter by Kathleen Hewitt

Plenty Under The Counter Cover Image

Plenty Under the Counter by Kathleen Hewitt

 

Summary:

London, 1942. Flight-Lieutenant David Heron, home on convalescent leave, awakes to the news that a murder victim has been discovered in the garden of his boarding house. With a week until his service resumes, David sets out to solve the murder. Drawn into a world of mystery and double-dealing, he soon realises that there is more to the inhabitants of the boarding house than meets the eye, and that wartime London is a place where opportunism and the black market are able to thrive. Can he solve the mystery before his return to the skies?

Inspired by Kathleen Hewitt s own experience of wartime London, this new edition of a 1943 classic includes a contextual introduction from IWM which sheds light on the fascinating true events that so influenced its author

 My Review:

There is something about an old wartime classic murder mystery unlike any other similar murder mystery of any other time period. Plenty Under the Counter by Kathleen Hewitt was originally written at the height of WWII and is now re-released by The Imperial War Museum for a new generation to discover.

Kathleen Hewitt - Author Picture 2 .jpg

London during the blitz and FL David Heron is resting at one of the many boarding houses after rescued from the channel. A body has been discovered in the back garden of a man and it is murder.

What does David Heron do, does he let the police investigate or does focus on his health and get back to fighting the Germans in the skies above London. The city is in the mist of the blitz and London at night is a dark and sinister place. Ideal for criminals and crime is rife especially in the black market. So now David decides to take on the investigation for himself and the owner of the boarding house Mrs Meake is convinced the house was all locked up and secure and David slept through. There are a few red herrings in the story to keep you guessing as well as a host of great characters who each play their part in this crime caper. This is wonderful crime story of the time and our intrepid investigator really does play the part very well.

The storyline keeps the reader entertained all the way through. Kathleen Hewitt (1893 – 1980) wrote 23 books and many were of the crime genre. With the release of four Wartime Classics by the Imperial War Museum to commemorate the outbreak of World War Two. A chance for a new generation of readers to read novels from writers who came through the war years either in the forces or living through the blitz.

#wartimeclassics

240 Pages.

Thank you to the Imperial War Museum and also Anne Cater (Random Things Tours) for the review copy of Plenty Under the Counter by Kathleen Hewitt.

Plenty Under the Counter by Kathleen Hewitt was published by Imperial War Museum and was published on 5th September 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

Follow the Wartime Classics Blog Tour 

Plenty Under The Covers BT Poster.jpg

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

The Secrets We Kept Cover .jpg

The Secrets We Kept – Lara Prescott

Summary:

  1. A celebrated Russian author is writing a book, Doctor Zhivago, which could spark dissent in the Soviet Union. The Soviets, afraid of its subversive power, ban it.But in the rest of the world it’s fast becoming a sensation.

    In Washington DC, the CIA is planning to use the book to tip the Cold War in its favour.

    Their agents are not the usual spies, however. Two typists – the charming, experienced Sally and the talented novice Irina – are charged with the mission of a lifetime: to smuggle Doctor Zhivagoback into Russia by any means necessary.

    It will not be easy. There are people prepared to die for this book – and agents willing to kill for it. But they cannot fail – as this book has the power to change history.

My Review:

One of my all-time favourite films has to be Dr Zhivago, so what an absolute thrill to have received a review copy of The Secrets We Kept (Hutchinson) by Lara Prescott. This is the secrets about how Boris Pasternak’s masterpiece was eventually smuggled out of the old Soviet Union.

Lara Prescott Author Pic.png

This is a historical fictional account of how Dr Zhivago came to the West and to think it could have never seen the light of day. We head back to the time of the Cold War during the 1950’s when the West and the Soviet Union had a real mistrust of each other that could have spilt over to WWIII at any moment.

The story switches between Olga who is Boris Pasternak’s mistress who is picked up and sent to the Gulag and two typists from the CIA who assisted the smuggling of the book out of the USSR. The extraordinary lengths many went to get Pasternak’s masterpiece out of the country before the Communist authorities got hold of it. This is a compelling novel and a story that will have you reading long into the night.

With the story moving from East to West you get a real perspective of how each side was desperate to get the book out or find the spies and stop the book from leaving the country. You have to feel for Olga and the appalling way she was treated in the Gulag despite her condition at the time. But Olga was strong a lot stronger than many of the other woman there.

It is an incredible story behind Dr Zhivago that I had no idea even existed. The sheer impact of the novel both here in the West and then when the book was published and later sent back to the USSR and read by many. The impact this must have had on its citizens. Boris Pasternak went on to receive the Nobel Prize in October 1958 and was warned by the Soviet’s that if he travelled to collect his award he would never be allowed back into the country.

For anyone who loves the story of Dr Zhivago I can only highly recommend The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott. This is a real eye opener. I will not reveal any details of the end of the book. This you will have to discover for yourself. When I next watch the film I will be thinking back to the story of how it was smuggled out and the people involved.

#TheSecretsWeKept

Thank you to Hutchinson Books and also to Anne Cater (Random things Tours) for the review copy of The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott.

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott was published by Hutchinson and was published on 5th September 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

Follow the Blog Tour

FINAL The Secrets We Kept BT Poster.jpg

From the City, From the Plough by Alexander Baron

From The City Cover Image

From the City, From the Plough Alexander Baron

 

Summary:

Spring 1944, the south coast of England. The Fifth Battalion, Wessex Regiment, wait patiently and nervously for the order to embark. There is boredom and fear, comedy and pathos as the men all drawn from different walks of life await the order to move.

With an economy of language that belies its emotional impact, From the City, From the Plough is a vivid and moving account of the fate of these men as they embark for the beaches of Normandy and advance into France, where the battalion suffers devastating casualties.

Based on Alexander Baron s own wartime experience, From the City, From the Plough was originally published to wide acclaim and reportedly sold over one million copies. This new edition of the 1948 classic includes a contextual introduction from IWM which sheds new light on the dramatic true events that so inspired its author.

My Review:

The Imperial War Museum has just released four wartime classics as part of the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of Second Wold War and I delighted to be reviewing all four of these classic wartime stories. The first is From the City, From the Plough (IWM Wartime Classics) by Alexander Baron.

Alexander Baron Author Picture

First released in 1948 and went on to sell over a million copies. War stories tell of bravery but also the shock and horror of war. And here Alexander Baron tells the story of the Fifth Battalion, Wessex Regiment as they prepared in the run-up to D-Day and the storming of the beaches.

Like any wartime story or film we come to know the leading characters and you know instantly some are not going to make it. This is the horror of war. A generation of young men ready to take on the Nazi war machine on the coast of Normandy. This is a powerful story told in under 200 pages. You come to know each of the men and how they interact with each other. These are ordinary men who were leading a normal working class life now they have left their families and their homes to fight. This novel is based on Baron’s own experiences of the battle for Normandy so he not only writes with incredible prose but from experience. Some of the storyline is meant to shock, but tells the story as it should be told. It is no surprise that Baron went on to be a successful writer and screenwriter. The men become a band of brothers as they stand side by side and storm the beaches and the horrors that wait as the beach comes closer.

Make no mistake this is no ordinary war story but one that is told as it was. A country at a time when it was still rebuilding and lives rebuilding now they could read a novel based on what it was really like. What must it have been like as they started to board the landing craft seeing the beaches ahead and shells exploding on the beaches. It is here in the story.

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity of reviewing all four of these wartime classics that the Imperial War Museum have now released to a new generation of readers in a year when we have commemorated the 75th anniversary of D-Day back in June. Over the next few weeks look out the three other titles in the IWM Wartime Classics Series. Highly Recommended.

192 Pages.

Thank you to the Imperial War Museum and also Anne Cater (Random Things Tours) for the review copy of From the City, From the Plough by Alexander Baron.

From the City, From the Plough by Alexander Baron was published by Imperial War Museum and was published on 5th September 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 Follow the Blog Tour

From The City BT Poster .jpg

%d bloggers like this: