Firstly, I would like to thank Joe Thomas and Isabel Smith at HarperCollins for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review and for inviting me to join the blog tour.
Karen, a city girl at heart, and her husband Nick are just emerging from a serious breach of their marriage vows and a move to the country is apparently just the new start they need. Nick is enthusiastic but a fragile Karen isn’t so sure. With a beautifully furnished cottage set in idyllic countryside the London rat race seems just a distant memory. Despite this being a new start, the couple are still treading on eggshells and are still ill at ease in each others company. The narrative is written in such a way that the tension between husband and wife is palpable which adds to the readers interaction with the story. Nick is displaying suspicious behaviour which causes Karen’s anxiety and insecurities regarding their marriage to return, but is it all in her head? Despite this, they settle somewhat awkwardly into their new life and their neighbours on the whole seem a decent bunch of people, unfortunately for an already suspicious Karen; Nick seems to be taking too much of an interest in some of them. And just who is that watching from them from the hillside?
This is a well written novel and I really enjoyed the plot and the characters, I felt absorbed in all their lives and I enjoyed how the details of their lives were revealed in a well-paced story. I do wish there had have been slightly more drama, I was waiting for a sinister twist that unfortunately didn’t materialise but that didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the book at all. It is a book that explores the varying degrees of people’s lives, we all have secrets which over time we share with those who get close to us. It is a great exploration of society and begs the question, just how well do you know your neighbours?
I flew through the book in no time at all and I would definitely read more by Felicity and I would urge you to do so as well!
Published by Hodder & Stoughton available now (hardback)
As someone who has studied the Brontë sisters and their works extensively I was a little apprehensive about reading this. I was concerned that someone had come along and written a silly mystery novel and attached the good Brontë name to it just to sell books. Well, I was wrong, thank goodness as this is clearly written by a Brontë admirer.
First off, the story is a good one, it keeps you engaged and involved. Elizabeth Chester has gone missing in apparently violent circumstances. Her room was found full of blood and she has vanished into thin air, presumed dead, or at the very least, badly injured. Along come the Brontë sisters to investigate, Charlotte’s friend Mattie is in service at Chester Grange and naturally they come to offer their support at such a tragic time. Charlotte decides she will be unable to sleep until she knows the full truth behind what happened to the unfortunate Elizabeth, naturally Emily and Anne follow suit and the sisters become detectors. The story unfolds and as they gather the evidence they find themselves travelling from Haworth to Scarborough and from Leeds to Hebden Bridge but they will not let up until the truth is out, no matter how devastating the truth might be. The pacing of the story is very good and you never think it is a drag, the clues lead nicely and plausibly on to one another until finally the dramatic truth is uncovered.
It is clear from reading this novel that the author has a strong love for the sisters and that her knowledge of their lives is substantial. The story is set in 1845 so just before the sisters publish their first novels and one thing I loved was the little snippets of the supposed inspiration used to write these novels. Throughout reading I thought to myself ‘ah that is Jane Eyre right there’ or ‘ I see a similarity with The Tennent here’ making it a very cleverly written book.
It is also a witty book, I loved Emily and her great one-liners. Her relationship with Charlotte can be tetchy which often saw sweet Anne caught in the cross fire and Branwell miserably attempting to keep tabs on his sisters, but they do let him come along in the end. Despite the bickering the siblings love for each other is resolute. All in all, I really enjoyed this book and it was fun to think of the sisters taking on the detector roles scampering across the Yorkshire countryside to solve all sorts of crimes! I loved the story, I loved the characters, I loved how the lives of the Brontë’s was cleverly woven into the story and I loved the concept of the book, I hope it is the first of many in this series.
I have to admit to being a huge fan of these wonderful poetry pamphlets and have read many of them before. The idea behind them is that they are to be sent instead of a card, there is a lovely bookmark included that is left blank for your own personal message along with an envelope.
These are two new pamphlets from Candlestick Press that have been released for this Christmas. Ten Poems about Snow evokes memories from childhood of wishing for snow on Christmas morning, of pulling back those curtains and seeing the lush white undisturbed bed of snowy goodness. Memories of running out of the house in to the crisp crunchy icy snow to build snowmen and snowballs to pelt at one another. The collection contains both old and newly commissioned poems bringing together a wonderful collection of poems that really bring to life the enchanted world that a snowfall can bring. A donation to Shelter is also made with the purchase of this pamphlet.
Christmas Spirit is a brand new collection of poems that have been brought together to celebrate the many sides of Christmas. From the shopping trips to the presents and from putting up the decorations to the wonderful Christmas food this collection is a celebration not just of our modern Christmas but also of more traditional times. My personal favourite is The Golden Bough by Rosie Jackson which tells us the origins of mistletoe and about bringing people together. All in all this is a wonderfully heart warming collection that will bring joy to whoever receives it. Whether you decide to treat yourself or send it to a loved one, it will bring all the warmth of Christmas with it. Both pamphlets, like all the others from Candlestick, are beautifully illustrated and a delight to own.
So, when you are out doing your Christmas shopping have a look for these little treasures, there are many pamphlets that have already been published and I would heartily recommend having a browse through the collection on the website http://www.candlestickpress.co.uk/ or at your local bookshop.
I would like to thank Candlestick Press for kindly sending me these two pamphlets.