WARNING: You’ll need a strong stomach for this book!
Dark, disturbing and gripping. This is not for the faint of heart.
Nurse. Protégé. Murderer.
Marcus Gove has been all these things. He’s reached the pinnacle of his art and now it’s time for him to take a protege. Lovely Lucy is perfect for the role, or she will be . . .
Artist. Teacher. Daughter.
Lucy Williams is just like everyone else. She’s had some success as an artist, not so much success in love, but she’s getting by. But soon she’s going to have to become something else if she wants to be a survivor.
Detective. Ex-husband. Underdog.
Ray Lewis’s career isn’t heading anywhere. But he’s a solid detective and he’s determined to find Lucy no matter what the upper brass throw at him.
Three people. Ten days. Who will live and who will die?
John Nicholl is the bestselling author of numerous psychological thrillers and detective series, previously published by Bloodhound, and inspired by his real-life experience as an ex-police officer and child protection social worker. Boldwood will be publishing the next title in his Galbraith series and a new psychological thriller in autumn 2022, and will be reissuing his bestselling backlist from May 2022.
This is the fourth book in the Bellbird Bay series and I enjoyed the previous books, so I was looking forward to reading the latest release by Maggie Christensen – Christmas in Bellbird Bay.
This book tells the story of Libby Walker. Widowed in her fifties, she lives in a cottage facing the ocean in Bellbird Bay with her dog Milo. She has settled into the community, has a job in the library and good friends around her.
The novel begins in November, but being set in Australia, it’s coming up to summer. Libby’s daughter Emma rings to tell her that she has split up from her husband, so she goes to Brisbane to be with Emma and her daughter Clancy (4).
Meanwhile, Adam Holland has to go to Bellbird Bay to fulfil the wishes of his friend. He rents a seaside cottage and plans to continue his work there, writing political thrillers.
Libby returns, Emma and Clancy accompanying her. (I loved Clancy, she’s so cute, but boy, could Emma be annoying!)
Of course, Libby and Adam meet. They are a similar age, both dealing with the loss of someone close. Can they become friends and help each other? Or even more than friends?
You’ll run into some familiar faces if you’ve read any of the previous books in the series. Ailsa, Martin, Bev, Ruby, Cleo and Will all feature here, as Adam gets to know the residents of Bellbird Bay. It was good to catch up with characters from earlier books and find out how they are getting on.
I do enjoy reading books that feature characters of my age, so with both Libby and Adam being in their fifties like me, I liked being able to relate to them in this way. They are both interesting and realistic characters and their stories kept me reading to find out what would happen.
Maggie Christensen’s writing is very accessible, it’s easy to get into the story and you’re interested in the main characters straight away. I enjoyed this being a Christmas book too and reading how festive traditions are in Australia.
The romances Maggie writes about are always very respectful, just the kind I enjoy. Libby’s deceased husband Bernie is remembered beautifully in the story and Libby explains how she will always love him, but after two years, feels it is time to consider moving on. I also love how the relationships are slow romances, not sudden bursts of passion, which feels much more believable. I am personally not a fan of reading details about characters’ actions in the bedroom, another aspect Maggie gets perfectly right in her novels. I much prefer the “behind closed doors” scenes in both my own writing and my reading and Maggie does this all beautifully.
Overall, a lovely read!
Christmas in Bellbird Bay
Libby Walker never imagined she’d be moving into the dream house she and her husband had purchased for their retirement as a widow. Intent on making a new life for herself in the quiet coastal town of Bellbird Bay, Libby’s life is upended by an unexpected call from her daughter.
Adam Holland’s unhappy childhood and broken home has left him scarred. Content with the life he has built for himself as a journalist and author of political thrillers, Adam arrives in Bellbird Bay to fulfil the deathbed request of an old friend.
When Libby and Adam meet, there is an initial attraction. But Libby is grieving for her late husband and trying to help her daughter sort out her life, and Adam has no intention of forming a relationship, wary of commitment because of how his family was torn apart.
Will the peace and tranquillity of Bellbird Bay help these two move on from old hurts and make this a Christmas to remember, or will events conspire to keep them apart?
A heartwarming tale of family, friends, and how a second chance at love can happen when you least expect it.
After a career in education, Maggie Christensen began writing contemporary women’s fiction portraying mature women facing life-changing situations, and historical fiction set in her native Scotland. Her travels inspire her writing, be it her trips to visit family in Scotland, in Oregon, USA or her home on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast. Maggie writes of mature heroines coming to terms with changes in their lives and the heroes worthy of them. Maggie has been called the queen of mature age fiction and her writing has been described by one reviewer as like a nice warm cup of tea. It is warm, nourishing, comforting and embracing.
From the small town in Scotland where she grew up, Maggie was lured to Australia by the call to ‘Come and teach in the sun’. Once there, she worked as a primary school teacher, university lecturer and in educational management. Now living with her husband of over thirty years on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, she loves walking on the deserted beach in the early mornings and having coffee by the river on weekends. Her days are spent surrounded by books, either reading or writing them – her idea of heaven!
Earlier this year, I read Anita Faulkner’s debut novel A Colourful Country Escape, which I absolutely loved. So I was thrilled to hear her latest novel was out – The Gingerbread Café. The first thing to mention is the beautiful cover – a gorgeous house (the café of the title) in a navy blue background with trees, flowers, hills and snow. Just lovely! Plus gingerbread is one of my favourite foods!
The Gingerbread Café is a special place, festive all year round. When Nell (the owner of the café) dies, Gretel Rosenhart inherits it, along with Nell’s nephew Lukas. It’s not the perfect match – Lukas hates Christmas, Gretel loves it. He’s a Head Chef at a restaurant and insists he isn’t interested in the café. How will this ever work?
Gretel is 26, she is originally from Austria and now lives with her pet ferret Angel Gabriel in a small maisonette in Mistleton, Gloucestershire. Since Nell died, she doesn’t really have anyone left to care about. She has a talent for making beautiful Christmas ornaments from glass, which she sells online. But is her crafting and her ferret really enough?
I loved Gretel right from the start. I love her clothes and how she takes her ferret with her – in his matching outfits! I like the fact she has obvious issues to deal with; she isn’t perfect at all. She’s not comfortable around people and has had a tragic past. I really wanted her to make a success of The Gingerbread Café and find some happiness.
I loved all the characters in the book – well, nearly all of them. Francesca Whimple deserves a big panto-style BOO HISS! But everyone is interesting, some hold plenty of secrets and you are intrigued to find out more about them. What’s Amber hiding? Will Grumpy Lukas thaw with the snow?
It’s not just a romance novel, there are so many layers and fascinating characters with their own stories to tell. Gretel and Lukas are both grieving and lonely, so although they seem to be opposites in many respects, the reader can see they have a lot in common.
Anita’s writing style is just beautiful – easy to get into, fun, warm and witty with some brilliant lines! (One of my favourites was “Gretel had run out of steam and had gone home to sob into her ferret.”) The festive theme is gorgeous, I could literally smell the gingerbread and cinnamon! (Remember those Scratch ‘n’ Sniff stickers? We need Scratch ‘n’ Sniff books!) The chapters are just the right size too and always tempting to read “just one more”… Plus there are some wonderful little touches like the café’s unpredictable jukebox.
This is the second of Anita’s books I have read and I’m happy to add her onto my list of favourite authors, as both novels have been perfect! Highly recommended.
The brand-new Cotswold romance from Anita Faulkner, author of A COLOURFUL COUNTRY ESCAPE. Cosy up for chilly winter nights, falling snow and heart-stopping romance – the perfect festive read!
Can Gretel find the recipe for the perfect Christmas?
The Gingerbread Café is always full of Christmas magic. Come rain or shine (or even a July heatwave), there’s always a hot chocolate bursting with cinnamon and marshmallows waiting for you. For introverted Gretel, it’s been the perfect escape from ‘real life’. The owner, Nell, is Gretel’s last link to her late mum, and hiding out at the café feels so much safer than making new friends.
So when Nell suddenly passes, Gretel is left heartbroken. Then she discovers that Nell has left the café to her – but there’s a catch. Gretel has to share the running of The Gingerbread Café with the least festive person ever: Nell’s nephew, Lukas. Head chef at the local fancy restaurant, Lukas makes it clear he has no time for the café, Gretel or even Christmas itself, and Gretel’s too busy struggling to save her burnt batches of gingerbread to work out why.
Gretel is determined to keep Christmas alive and make the café a success before Lukas hands the keys over to the scrooge-like developers. But she can’t do it alone; besides an over friendly ferret and a waitress with a secret, the only person she has now is Lukas. Will it take a Christmas miracle to get the pair to finally see eye to eye, or could the ice already be melting?
Packed full of sugar and spice, The Gingerbread Café will tick all the wishes off your Christmas list this festive period. Perfect for fans of Heidi Swain, Jo Thomas and Bella Osborne.
I have really enjoyed this series of the Just One Day books by Susan Buchanan, so I was excited to read her latest installment – Autumn. This is the fourth book in the series and although it can be read as a standalone, I would definitely recommend reading all the books and starting from Book One (Winter).
I love Louisa! I can really relate to her being a busy mum and rarely finding time for herself. In this book, she’s pregnant with twins – her fourth and fifth children. She’s also an older mum. (I had my fifth child at 42, I’m sympathising here, ha ha!) It’s written in the first person, so you really get to understand Louisa.
It’s always great to read the next in a series and catch up with familiar characters you come to know and love. There’s Louisa’s husband Ronnie, their three children (Gen, Hugo and Aria) and their gorgeous dogs Patch and Bear. Louisa also has a wonderfully close relationship with her sisters Wendy and Jo.
As usual, Louisa ends up running round and looking after everyone. There are so many things going on with her family and friends, life is never boring – nor for the reader. I love catching up with Sam, Martha, Nicky and everyone from the previous books. It’s great to follow their stories as well as Louisa’s.
Susan Buchanan has a lovely style of writing. It’s accessible, warm, chatty and friendly. It feels like Louisa is talking directly to you, the reader, which takes you right into her life. You feel like she’s a friend and care what happens to her and her loved ones. I always love Susan’s books and plan to read everything she ever writes. Highly recommended.
Just One Day – Autumn
Pregnant Louisa is just getting back on track when life throws her another curveball. Now, it’s not a case of how she’ll get through her to-do lists but how she’ll manage being a mum again.
No one seems to understand. How will she run her company, be partner in a new venture, look after her three kids and handle a newborn? And why does everyone think this will be easy? Except her.
All Louisa wants is to be a good mum, a good wife and have a bit of time left for herself, but sometimes that’s too big an ask. Can she find the support she needs, or will she forever be pulled in too many directions, always at the mercy of her to-do lists?
Susan Buchanan has published eight books in the romantic comedy and contemporary romance genres: Sign of the Times, The Dating Game, The Christmas Spirit, Return of the Christmas Spirit, Just One Day – Winter,Just One Day – Spring, Just One Day – Summer, and now Just One Day – Autumn.
As a freelance developmental editor and copy editor, if she’s not reading, editing or writing, she’s thinking about it. She loves romantic fiction, psychological thrillers, crime fiction and legal thrillers.
She lives near Glasgow with her two children and a Labrador. Oh, and her husband.
She’s a member of the RNA, the SoA, ALLI and SAW.
When she’s not editing, writing, reading or caring for her two delightful cherubs, she likes going to the theatre, watching quiz shows and eating out, and she has recently discovered a love of writing retreats.
I love Sue Moorcroft’s books, they are always such a treat – warm and welcoming. So I was really looking forward to reading her latest release – A White Christmas on Winter Street. This is a standalone, though regular readers of her work will recognise the setting of Middledip.
The star of this story is Sky Terran, who is 39 years old. After resigning from her job, she goes to the house auction she’d planned to attend and ends up buying herself The Corner House on Winter Street in Middledip, the village she used to live in. But will this be the new start she so needs? When she meets Darragh ‘Daz’ Moran (42), initially it’s awkward as he lost out on buying the house to her, but later their friendship begins to grow. But is he really over his ex Abi?
You feel sorry for Sky straight away. She’s not had an easy childhood and the start of the book sees her having a hard time too, so you hope she has an easier time of things and gets the happy ending she deserves. She’s very much the star player, but there are a host of other characters to get to know. Daz is mates with Ismael and Vern. Since Daz’s friend Lewis is in prison for fraud, Daz looks out for Wilf (11) and his mum Courtney. I loved the relationship between Daz and Wilf, as the young lad seeks a father figure in his life.
Sky really hopes to make friends now she is back living in a village. When a neighbour called Jess tells her about the Cambridgeshire Christmas Street Competition, Sky agrees to join in, but being as environmentally friendly as possible. Another neighbour Marietta introduces herself shortly after, so things look optimistic for Sky in her quest for friendship.
I love Sue Moorcroft’s novels because they have a great setting and a fabulous sense of community. I love a village with its own ambience and how everyone fits in. I also love the Christmas backdrop to the novel and enjoyed seeing how the festivities brought out the decorations and lights around Middledip. Overall, a really lovely read!
A White Christmas on Winter Street
When Sky Terran returns to the village of Middledip after losing the job she loves, she anticipates a quiet Christmas getting used to her new life. However, the annual street decoration competition is coming up and this year, the residents of Winter Street are determined to win.
As she is pulled into the preparations, Sky quickly grows to love the quirky, tight-knit community she is now part of. Including the extremely handsome Daz, who soon becomes more than just a friendly neighbour.
But when Daz’s ex turns up determined to win him back and it seems he might not be the man Sky thought he was, she remembers how much allowing people into her life – and heart – can hurt. As the snow falls, will she and Daz find a way through – and help win a Christmas victory for Winter Street?
Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author and has reached #1 spot on Amazon Kindle UK as well as top 100 in the US. She’s won the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award, Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary. Sue’s emotionally compelling, feel-good novels are currently released by publishing giant HarperCollins in the UK, US and Canada and by other publishers in other countries. Her short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared around the world.
Born in Germany into an army family, Sue spent much of the rest of her childhood in Cyprus and Malta but settled in Northamptonshire, England aged ten. She loves reading, Formula 1, travel, time spent with friends, dance exercise and yoga.
Social Media Links – Website [www.suemoorcroft.com]
The first time I heard about this series of books, I was intrigued. What a great idea to have Her Majesty the Queen as a kind of Miss Marple figure – or Vera! Sadly the third book in the series was published after the sad loss of our Queen and fittingly, Murder Most Royal is dedicated to her. As I follow S. J. Bennett on social media, I know she is a genuine royalist and felt reassured that she would treat the Royal Family with respect.
The book itself is gorgeous – a bright red cover with inside cover pages featuring crowns, the Queen and Corgis. Just lovely!
The story begins in December 2016 when a girl finds a severed hand on Snettisham Beach, not far from the Queen’s Sandringham Estate. The Queen and Prince Philip are both full of cold, so have to fly to Sandringham instead of going by train.
Rozie Oshodi is 30 years old and the Queen’s assistant private secretary. While Sir Simon Holcroft is away on holiday for two weeks, Rozie is in charge. Her mother describes her as “like the first black Thomas Cromwell” but Rozie expects a relatively quiet time. Then the news breaks of the severed hand and surprisingly, the Queen recognises it. Will they be investigating another murder after all?
S. J. Bennett’s writing is beautiful. The dialogue is witty and a real delight! Her descriptions are gorgeous, her characterisation of the Queen and Prince Philip are authentic and sensitive. The Queen’s love of horses, dogs and the countryside shines through. Other members of the Royal Family pop up too and come across as very realistic. (I especially loved the Princess Royal!) Although fiction, the novel feels very well-researched and I loved all the detail.
Rozie is a great character too, clever and resourceful. She has a great relationship with the Queen, but is always respectful. She reminded me of the companion in Doctor Who – often does the leg work. Rozie and the Queen are a great team and in this novel, because the Queen knows the murder victim, it adds a personal side to the crime and an extra reason for trying to solve it.
I loved the Christmas background to the novel, especially the fun presents given out by the family. It is great to see this kind of side to the Royal Family and although obviously fictional, it did ring true in many ways and was a delight to read.
I’m not telling you anything more about the book, because I want you to read it for yourself. I absolutely loved it and I may have found not only the perfect book, but a new favourite author.
THE ROYALLY BRILLIANT THIRD BOOK IN THE HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN INVESTIGATES MYSTERY SERIES – NOW AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER IN HARDBACK, EBOOK AND AUDIOBOOK! ____________________
December 2016 – A severed hand is found washed up on a beach next to the Queen’s estate at Sandringham.
Elizabeth has become quite accustomed to solving even the most complex of murders. And though she quickly identifies the 70-year-old victim, Edward St Cyr, from his signet ring, the search for his killer is not so straightforward.
St Cyr led an unconventional, often controversial life, making many enemies along the way in the quiet, rural world of North Norfolk, where everyone knows each other’s business.
But when a second man is found dead, and a prominent local woman is nearly killed in a hit-and-run, the mystery takes an even darker turn.
With the Christmas break coming to an end, the Queen and her trusted assistant Rozie must race to discover how the pieces of the puzzle fit together. Or the next victim may be found even closer to home.
Agatha Christie meets The Crown in MURDER MOST ROYAL, the much-anticipated third book in the ‘Her Majesty The Queen Investigates’ mystery series by SJ Bennett – for fans of The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, Agatha Christie and M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin. ______________________
I read The Lodger by Valerie Keogh earlier this year and loved it, so I was keen to read the latest novel from the same author – The Widow.
It begins introducing John and Eve, who are the parents of Allison, Beth and Cassie. We then follow Allison’s story, how she met her husband Peter at a party and how their relationship develops.
We soon learn that Allison is rather a hard, selfish and manipulative woman, though we see her vulnerability too and sympathise with her. She decides to pursue Peter as a husband, because he is good looking, charming and rich. Allison has a secret in her past, which she is determined to keep hidden from Peter. Is all the deception worth it? When she sees Peter’s house, she decides it is…
Some time later, Allison makes an online friend called Jo. Allison doesn’t have many friends, so is keen to meet Jo when she says she has a meeting in London. But is this all as innocent as it seems?
Wow, this one is an intriguing story, full of twists and turns, power play and revenge – and definitely a page turner, because you want to find out what happens. It is really unpredictable, you can’t tell which way it’s going to go and I love that kind of book. It isn’t over complicated though, I didn’t get confused at all.
It all builds up, going one way then another, as you try to work out who has done what and why. It’s tense and exciting. I just hope people aren’t as bad in real life as they are in this book, or I’m going to be questioning everyone’s motives that I know!!!
But – an excellent read!
Grieving or guilty?
When Allison’s wealthy and charming husband Peter is found dead, she appears distraught, devastated….delighted?
Because despite an apparently picture-perfect marriage, Allison knows it was all built on a bed of lies.
And as the truth regarding Peter’s life and death are revealed, Alison must try to keep her own dark past buried.
Because if Peter was keeping secrets, then his widow is too…
Valerie Keogh is the internationally bestselling author of several psychological thrillers and crime series, most recently published by Bloodhound. She originally comes from Dublin but now livesin Wiltshire and worked as a nurse for many years. Her first thriller for Boldwood was published in August 2022.
Last year, I read The People Next Door by Keri Beevis and really enjoyed it, rating it 9 out of 10. So when I heard her new book The Sleepover was out, I was keen to read it.
The book begins with the prologue, explaining that five children aged 13 became known as the Hixton Five – Lauren Bell, Jill Goldberg, Natasha Hogan (Tash), Rosie Emerson and Hannah Freemont. Twenty years later, they are saying the monster has been freed.
Onto the present day. Hannah Cole (nee Freemont) has moved to Wells-next-the-Sea on the North Norfolk coat to live in the flat she inherited from her nan. She has started up her Pawsome Pet Services business. She left Hixton at nineteen and is reluctant to return, but her mother is trying to persuade her to go there for her and Hannah’s stepfather’s silver wedding party.
We meet Hannah’s best friend Rosie Emerson and Hannah’s ex-husband Josh. There’s also the arrival of Liam Quinn, who arrives at Hannah’s flat to talk about Eileen Wickham (the monster). He is writing a non-fiction book on the events that happened twenty years ago. This coincides with Eileen Wickham (now 63) being released from prison after 20 years. She goes to live with her son Bill.
As strange things begin to happen to the Hixton Five, who is responsible?
There’s a lot going on in the book and I enjoyed trying to work it all out. I especially loved the character of Liam Quinn and trying to decide if he was a good guy or a bad guy, as well as enjoying his developing relationship with Hannah.
I didn’t find this to be as much of a page turner as The People Next Door, but it did hold my interest and I was keen to finish reading it and to be able to put all the puzzle pieces together.
When you’re a kid, you imagine monsters to have horns and fangs. That they hide under the bed or in the wardrobe. And you believe they can only come after you when it’s dark.
You don’t expect them to look like everyday people or that they may be someone you already know…
The summer in question started out with hot, fun-filled days and new friendships.
We had just turned thirteen and had our whole lives ahead of us.
But that was before her…
Before we became known as the Hixton Six and our lives become defined by one night.
It’s hard to believe twenty years have passed since she was locked away.
But now she’s free and strange things have started to happen.
When I close my eyes, the creeping anxiety and fear is overwhelming and all too real.
Because the monster is back, and I know she has a score to settle with us.
Keri Beevis is the internationally bestselling author of Dying To Tell, Deep Dark Secrets, Trust No One, Every Little Breath and The People Next Door. Dying To Tell reached no. 1 in the Amazon chart in Australia and was a top 25 hit in the UK. Keri wrote her first novel at age twenty, but it was a further twenty years before she was published, after winning a contract in a competition run by a small press. She lives in Norfolk, along with her two naughty kitties, Ellie and Lola, and a plentiful supply of red wine (her writing fuel).
I recently read I’m Not There by Rob Gittins and really enjoyed it, so when Hobeck Books announced another of his novels was coming out, I was excited to read it.
This is set in a town called Devil’s Bridge in mid-Wales, which has a scary legend attached to it about how the name came to be.
The chapters of this story are narrated from various points of view – Bex (The Wannabe), Nia (The Mum) and Al (the Dad) initially, later joined by Joel (The Husband), Kate (The Newbie), Megan (The Headteacher), D.I. McCarthy (The Cop) and Devil’s Bridge itself.
Ethan James is Nia and Al’s teenage son (15). Nia and Al have split up, Al is now with Kate. Tanya is Ethan’s English teacher, her husband is Joel, who is Al’s boss. There’s also Bex Hughes – Ethan’s old friend from primary school, who fancies him. So there’s a lot going on, but you soon get into it all. I don’t want to tell you anything more about the plot, because you’ll enjoy it more as a reader if you go into it not knowing any more than the blurb.
This novel has a bit of everything – there’s the background of a supernatural, spooky legend. There’s the family drama – separated parents dealing with a teenage son. Then there’s the crime aspect too.
It’s a page turner! The chapters are often short, ending on a mini-cliffhanger which makes you want to keep reading. I read 100 pages in a day and would have kept reading if I hadn’t needed to go to bed. It’s a really intriguing storyline too, which has you thinking and rethinking, trying to work out who’s lying and who’s telling the truth, trying to decide what is going to happen. I found my loyalty shifting between various characters throughout and the first person narration really helps that, because you see inside their heads and read their thoughts. It’s a very clever novel in many ways.
I was very impressed by I’m Not There and this one was equally good, so I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more of Rob Gittins’s books to read in the future.
Devil’s Bridge, Mid Wales
A thousand years ago, the devil built the town a bridge.
But there was a price – he would return at different times and in different guises and each time there’d be the direst consequences for those living in its shadow.
To most in the town, it’s just a colourful local legend; a flight of fancy. Dark deeds have happened in Devil’s Bridge from time to time, but dark deeds can happen anywhere – and there’s no such thing as the devil anyway.
A community in conflict
But then a massive scandal, involving a schoolboy and his English teacher, hits the town. It drags to the surface an equally toxic scandal from years before.
And soon, even the most die-hard of sceptics begin to wonder if a devil-like figure is walking in their midst…
The novel is set in Great Grimsby and begins in April 1912. I have read and enjoyed Tracy Baines’s novels before and being from Lincolnshire myself, I do love the local area being featured. I am also a fan of historical fiction and sagas set in the United Kingdom in days gone by.
This is the story of newlyweds Letty (20) and Alec Hardy (23) who move from Lowestoft to Grimsby, along with Alec’s mother Dorcas. Letty has to get used to a new home, being a fisherman’s wife and living with her mother-in-law, who is a real piece of work. I was definitely cheering Letty on, in standing up to her! For his first trip, Alec is sailing on the Black Prince to Russia and Iceland and he is due to be away for at least three weeks.
I really enjoyed getting to know Letty and her neighbours and other fishermen’s wives. It’s one of those good, solid, working class communities where the men go out to work (often away) and the women stay at home, looking after the house and the kids and keeping things going until their husbands return. But Letty doesn’t want to do that, she gets a job in a shop and plans to contribute to the household income – pretty modern for 1912!
It’s a very atmospheric book with a really good description of place and time. As well as the interesting working class setting, I enjoyed seeing how Letty makes friends as well as following the difficult relationship between Letty and Dorcas. I also love Norah and Percy at the shop – we’ve all met couples like that. Strong women are usually at the centre of Tracy Baines’s novels and I enjoy reading about them.
Tracy’s writing is really easy to read and I was into the story straight away, caring about Alec and Letty and hoping their marriage would be a long and happy one. There’s enough going on to keep you turning the pages, without it ever becoming too complicated. I really enjoy Tracy’s novels and will definitely be reading more of her work in the future.
The Women of Fisher’s Wharf
Great Grimsby, 1912
After the death of his father and brother, newlywed fisherman Alec Hardy decides to make a fresh start with his young wife Letty and move from Lowestoft to the thriving fishing port of Grimsby in search of a brighter future.
Young Letty is from farming stock and knows nothing of the hard life as a fishermen’s wife but is willing to leave behind her warm hearted and loving family and embrace the challenge.
But where Alec goes, so does his widowed mother, Dorcas and she has yet to come to terms with taking second place in her son’s life. She resents her son’s choice of wife and the two women clash.
With Alec at sea for weeks on end and with her grieving and bitter mother-in-law as her only companion Letty seeks escape among the streets of Fish Dock Wharf.
Can Letty help them break free from the shadows of the past or will she be bound by Dorcas’s insistence that they cling to the old ways?
Tracy Baines is the bestselling saga writer of The Variety Girls series, originally published by Ebury, which Boldwood will continue with. She was born and brought up in Cleethorpes and spent her early years in the theatre world which inspired her writing. The first title of her new saga series for Boldwood – set amongst the fisherfolk of Grimsby – will be published in October 2022.