Category: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Book Review
Sophia Perkins gives up her job as a teacher to realise a life-long dream of owning a second-hand bookshop. Free from the wearying monotony of marking until the early hours and swallowing the disappointment of trying to educate disinterested young minds, she embraces her new life.
This new story with a warm vintage feel brings to mind the age-old saying: Be careful what you wish for…
Mr Portobello’s Morning Paper is a lovely story. I saw it featured on Joanne’s blog and scooted off to Amazon straight away. It centres around Sophia Perkins. Still grieving the loss of her parents, as well as feeling disillusioned with trying to teach classes of seemingly indifferent children, she gives notice, leaves her job and fulfils a long held dream of owning her own second hand bookshop.
The previous tenant of the building, eccentric eighty year old Mr Portobello, takes to calling into the bookshop each morning for a chat as he walks past after collecting his morning paper, and the two build up a special friendship over several months. Then one morning Mr Portobello fails to arrive at his usual time, and for the rest of the week there’s no sign of him. Worried, Sophia decides to find his house and make sure he’s not ill. She discovers all is not as she believed.
She had seen Mr Portobello out and about — who hadn’t? He was, as the phrase went, a real character; someone who stood out, a man everyone recognised, but knew little about. He kept himself to himself, but was one of those people who was like the local war memorial, the fancy library steps or the Gothic fountain in front of St John’s, part of the fabric of the street, someone you expected to see, although usually didn’t look too closely.
Amanda Prowse is an author whose books I enjoy very much and Mr Portobello’s Morning Paper is no exception. I loved the descriptions of the book emporium and the customers that found their way there. For all this is a novella Mr Portobello’s Morning Paper is quite a touching and insightful story, tinged with sadness, the characters brought to life beautifully. I could empathise with Sophia and enjoyed the friendship between her and the lovely Mr Portobello—he talked a lot of sense trying to make Sophia understand that life was for living and not to waste a moment living in the past, and also that happiness can be found in places you least expect.
Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author who has had twenty novels published in dozens of languages. Her chart topping No.1 titles ‘What Have I Done?’, ‘Perfect Daughter’ and ‘My Husband’s Wife’ have sold millions of copies around the world. Published by Lake Union, Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres.
A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s ‘The Jeremy Vine Show’ and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She makes countless guest appearances on BBC national independent Radio stations including LBC and Talk FM, where she is well known for her insightful observations and her infectious humour.
Category: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Book Review
Escape to the Highland Coral Beach – where broken hearts can be healed
Beatrice Halliday needs a break from life. Booking a trip to the Highlands on a whim, Beatrice hopes learning Gaelic in a beautiful Scottish village might help her heal her grief after losing her baby, her husband and her much loved job in a space of months.
For the past two of her ten year marriage, Beatrice Halliday has been getting progressively more broody. Now, at last, she has a positive pregnancy test and can’t wait for her husband, Rich, to get home.
Throwback Thursday this week is looking back at book five in one of my favourite series.
Despite my preference for starting a series from book one, I’m beginning with this one, which is actually book five. I’ve watched and enjoyed each season of the TV series, Shetland, and so I’m very familiar with the cast of characters. There are some differences between the two, mainly in Jimmy Perez’s looks and back story. Kenny Blyth, the narrator, is excellent and has a lovely Scottish lilt, which fits in well with the story and adds authenticity. Other accents are convincing too. The narrator of the four previous books has a middle to upper class English accent which I didn’t find engaging or appropriate for the setting.
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Published: April 2014 by William Morrow Paperbacks
Category: Dual Timeline, Historical Fiction, Based on Fact, Contemporary, Book Review
Fourteen members of a small village set sail on RMS Titanic, hoping to find a better life in America. For seventeen-year-old Maggie Murphy, the journey is bittersweet. Though her future lies in an unknown new place, her heart remains in Ireland with Séamus, the sweetheart she left behind. When disaster strikes, Maggie is one of the few passengers in steerage to survive. Waking up alone in a New York hospital, she vows never to speak of the terror and panic of that fateful night again.
My first experience of Hazel Gaynor’s books was The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, based on the life of Grace Darling, which I loved. I enjoy the fact there’s truth mixed in with fiction and The Girl Who Came Home is no exception. It tells the story of Maggie Murphy from Ballysheen, Ireland, who was travelling with a group of women from the village, bound for New York and booked on the Titanic for the ship’s maiden voyage in 1912. The story was inspired by events surrounding the true story of the Addergoole Fourteen, Irish emigrants from County Mayo.
This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who’s been searching for the truth all these years . . .
When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.
Fourteen years ago the community of Sweetbay was rocked when sixteen year old Angela Wong went missing, never to be seen again. Now all these years later her remains have been discovered near her best friend, Georgina (Geo) Shaw’s childhood home where Geo’s father still lives. Geo and Angela, along with Kaiser Brody, now a Detective with the Seattle PD, were as close as friends could be in high school. Until Calvin James came on the scene. His presence changed, not only the dynamics of the trio but also their lives. What Geo carries with her from then on will affect her for years to come with devastating consequences.
This week’s Throwback Thursday looks back at The Last Gatekeeper—not my usual genre but I did enjoy this one. Ticks all the boxes for a young adult fantasy novel.
Up until the day of her 17th birthday, Zanzibar MacKenzie lead a very sheltered life. She always knew she was different, home schooled, no electrical appliances whatsoever in her life or environment and isolated by her EHS. Just how different, she was about to find out. While spending time with her only friend, Em, who lives nearby, and Em’s boyfriend at the beach, Zan thinks she spots a stranger on the cliff watching them.
Category: Contemporary Gay Fiction, Romance, Book Review
Long ago Andrew made a childhood wish. One he has always kept in a silver box with a too-big lid that falls off. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn’t…
Long ago Ben dreamed of going to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally goes there, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…
Ben is fulfilling a long held dream, and a promise he made years ago, although he never could have envisaged the circumstances that finally brought the dream to reality. Nevertheless here he is, a volunteer at the Liberty Lion Rehabilitation Project in Zimbabwe and it seems he isn’t the only one escaping from love and life.
Category: Southern Fiction, Family Saga, Book Review
Southern Culture … Old Friendships … Family Tragedy
One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.
For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed.
Three childhood friends, Ava, Renny and Celia, grew up together and are now scattered around the country. Even though their lives have taken different directions, the ties of a deep friendship remain. When Ava is having serious doubts about her marriage and needs support, the three women get together for a few days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas. Ava has arranged to see her ex boyfriend, Mark while she’s at the cabin, unbeknownst to Celia and Renny, and he brings Celia’s ex fiancé over, which stirs up memories and emotions Celia had long since hoped would stay buried.
ThrowbackThursday this week features a book I enjoyed very much. It was published in 2012.
It’s the latter half of the nineteenth century and Annie Haddon is travelling across America in a stagecoach, corseted, with layers of petticoats and to make matters worse, wearing hat and gloves. The heat is stifling, not to mention the company. Her Aunt Bea and cousin Charlotte included. Annie didn’t even know why they were making a side trip to Texas when they were bound for New York. Not that Annie was in any hurry to reach New York, as the man her aunt intended to marry her off to awaited them. At twenty-seven Annie was considered almost beyond hope in the marriage stakes. A woman of her age who reads and holds her own opinions and especially one who is a cripple, had to take what she could get, according to her ‘loving’ relations.
There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst.
And then, after 48 hours, she came back.
But she couldn’t – or wouldn’t – say what had happened to her.
Something happened to my sister. I can’t explain what.
I just know that when she came back, she wasn’t the same.
She wasn’t my Annie.
I didn’t want to admit, even to myself, that sometimes I was scared to death of my own little sister.
Life hasn’t been particularly kind to Joe Thorne. He was a loner as a youth, content to spend time with his young sister, until he became involved in the local gang lead by a cruel bully, Stephen Hurst, which was really when things began to go wrong for Joe. A schoolfriend’s tragic death, his sister’s disappearance and then the traffic accident that left him with a shattered leg, and that wasn’t the worst of it.