Currently Reading

Currently reading: The Younger Woman by Mandy Byatt
Publication date: 2nd February2023

Monday, 27 March 2023

REVIEW: Christmas with the Ops Room Girls by Vicki Beeby

Christmas with the Ops Room Girls (Women's Auxiliary Air Force #2) by Vicki Beeby
Genre: Historical fiction, Sagas, WW2
Read: 26th March 2023
Published: 24th September 2020

★★★★ 4 stars


When there’s so much to be afraid of, can May help bring festive cheer to the Ops Room?

After failing to help evacuee siblings whom she witnesses being separated, May wishes she’d had the confidence to speak up. When Jess suggests a pantomime to boost morale on the station, May is desperate to help – but is held back by her own insecurities.

With her low self-esteem also affecting her relationship with Squadron Leader Peter Travis, May is fed up with being her own worst enemy and decides to take charge of her destiny. But the past she ran from, plus a crisis with one of the evacuees, throw May into the midst of a drama that will test all of her newfound confidence.

May, Jess and Evie must work together once again to help each other through the challenges of war and of their own hearts.


It has been quite some time since I read the first book in this series and I've quite honestly all but exhausted the genre of wartime fiction as they all get a little bit "samey" after a while. I enjoy the camaraderie of sagas that focus on the homefront with the war as merely a backdrop but anything that gets into the nitty gritty of war work such as this, I tend to glaze over now. I do remember that I enjoyed the first book but I can't recall anything except the ending, and even that is a fleeting memory.

I began this book in the hope that I would pick up the story and go with the flow but unfortunately I found the opening pages to be irritating with the poor evacuees and then a brother and sister having to be separated because one woman billeted refused to take both. Anyone could see the little things were scared and being together was their only security in an unknown and uncertain world. But no. She flatly refused and made it known that even taking one was at a stretch. She wasn't knocking back her rations that came with the little girl. Horrible woman.

So anyway with the evacuees having arrived in the village, the girls - May, Jess and Evie - decide to put on a pantomime for Christmas to help cheer the up. But war continues despite the festivities and the bombings continue to rain down around them.  With plenty of harrowing moments, the girls wonder if they can pull this off but then May receives a letter from home and things change.

A delightful heartwarming story in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) series, that focuses less on the war efforts and more on keeping the spirits up of those at home. Despite that horrible draper shop woman. 

Overall, an enjoyable read.

I would like to thank #VickiBeeby, #Netgalley and #Canelo for an ARC of #ChristmasWithTheOpsRoomGirls in exchange for an honest review.


Vicki Beeby writes historical fiction about the friendships and loves of service women brought together by the Second World War.

Her first job was as a civil engineer on a sewage treatment project, so things could only improve from there. Since then, she has worked as a maths teacher and education consultant before turning freelance to give herself more time to write.

In her free time, when she can drag herself away from reading, she enjoys walking and travelling to far-off places by train. She lives in Shropshire in a house that doesn’t contain nearly enough bookshelves.

Social media links:

Wesbite | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Saturday, 25 March 2023

REVIEW: The Younger Woman by Mandy Byatt

The Younger Woman by Mandy Byatt
Genre: Psychological thriller, Suspense
Read: 25th March 2023
Published: 2nd February 2023

★★★★★ 4.5 stars (rounded up)


The unputdownable new thriller from Mandy Byatt that will leave you reeling after the final twist…

She knows him better than anyone.
She doesn’t know him at all…

Lottie and Nick once had a dream marriage, but a series of failed IVF attempts has left Lottie feeling insecure, and her paranoia is further stoked by the arrival of a new starter at Nick’s firm. Tasha is the spitting image of a younger, more attractive Lottie, and Nick is paying her a lot of attention…

But then Lottie discovers she’s pregnant. A surprise getaway to their country cottage to celebrate Nick’s birthday will provide the perfect backdrop to give him the news and start to heal the rifts in their relationship.

Then, on the eve of Nick’s birthday, Lottie goes into the cellar, and what she finds makes her question everything. Because there, in the corner of the cellar, is the body of a young woman.

A young woman who looks just like Lottie…

A gripping, suspenseful thriller with a killer twist you won’t see coming! Perfect for fans of Adele Parks and Liane Moriarty.


"You shouldn't play around with people..."

What a delightful tension-filled twisted thriller THE YOUNGER WOMAN is! And definitely not what I expected at all. The author has cleverly constructed a complex plot that will have even seasoned readers like me fooled with each turn of the page, leaving us more stunned than Nick with Lottie's anniversary surprise.

Forty-somethings Nick and Lottie are off to Fairview, his parent's holiday cottage (which is anything but a cottage, I might add), to celebrate their tenth anniversary and Nick's birthday the following day. After several years of failed IVF attempts and their desperation to have a child, nothing has worked and Lottie's biological clock is ticking. But now Lottie has a big surprise for Nick...however, she is in for an even bigger surprise of her own.

Filled with excitement at Lottie's news, Nick braves the lashing rain and heads to the village for some champers. But an hour later and he still hasn't returned and Lottie is getting worried. Even more so when the storm cuts the lights in the cottage and she must use her mobile phone's flashlight (with its failing battery) to brave the cellar and its feisty inhabitants of the rodent kind in search of the fuse box (and hoping it is just a tripped switch). Of course she clocks a bottle of champagne on the shelf down there, but Nick claimed not to have known where the key to the cellar was. Yet Lottie found it on his own key fob. Strange? Or had he forgotten about it?

When she tries to retrieve the bottle, she unintentionally discovers the body of a young woman. A woman with red hair, like her own. Like Nick's new PA. Surely not?

Lottie's head is filled with questions. All those text messages; all those late nights "at the office"; his moodiness and snappiness; the lies she has uncovered and questioned him about...all of this and more. How did she get here? Why is she here? Did Nick meet her here? Were they having an affair?

But nothing will prepare Lottie for the answers when they are eventually revealed. Skeletons buried so deep, uncovering the lies and deception as the secrets of the past begin to resurface. And at the end of it all...what does it mean for Nick, Lottie and the baby they so desperately wanted?

With a handful of characters, a cleverly woven plot and a twisted tale that will keep you guessing who to believe and who not to, THE YOUNGER WOMAN is a psychological thriller that will have you second guessing everything. Even the characters all seem a little untrustworthy. One in particular is just deviously nasty. But the story as a whole is just really well-plotted and by the end you will be left pondering what exactly you've just read. Because it will make you second guess how you perceived everything. Not confusing, when really you think about it, just complex and very cleverly done.

THE YOUNGER WOMAN was nothing like I expected and I enjoyed every minute of it! Figuring out the twists and reveals never spoils the story for me, but when you get one that comes along and still has the ability to surprise and shock you, then you know you have a winner! I love the complexity of the story and its subplots that when I look back at it and see just how cleverly the author has woven the tale, I am just so impressed I'm speechless.

Overall, a thoroughly twisted tale and an enjoyable psychological thriller with plenty of tension and an abundance of secrets that are so cleverly hidden not even the seasoned reader will pick them! 

I would like to thank #MandyByatt, #Netgalley and #AvonBooks for an ARC of #TheYoungerWoman in exchange for an honest review.


Born and raised in the Staffordshire Moorlands, Mandy studied languages at university and spent a year in Munich where she refined her German-speaking and Stein-clinking skills.

Mandy has been shortlisted in the Gransnet/HQ novel competition and Woman & Home short story competition as well as longlisted in the HWA/Sharpe Books Unpublished Novel Award and Orange Pathé screenwriting competition. She was also a winner of a Radio 5 Live monologue competition. Just Another Liar was her debut novel, The Younger Woman is her second.

Mandy's love of writing led to a day-job in marketing and a night-job in novel writing. She lives in Cheshire and is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, whilst working in marketing communications. 

Social media links:

Friday, 24 March 2023

REVIEW: The Hidden Letters by Lorna Cook

The Hidden Letters by Lorna Cook
Genre: Historical fiction, WW1
Read: 24th March 2023
Published: 2nd March 2023

★★★★★ 5 stars


On the eve of a world war, a forbidden love will blossom in the garden of a stately home and one young woman will make a choice that will change her life forever…

As the storm clouds of war gather, Cordelia seeks refuge in the grounds of her family estate.

Handsome landscaper Isaac has recently arrived to tend to the gardens, and the connection between him and Cordelia is as immediate as it is forbidden.

Isaac begins to secretly teach her how to cultivate the gardens, so when he and all the young men are called away to war, Cordelia takes over.

From the battlefields of Europe, Isaac sends her letters, that give her hope for their future in peacetime.

But when these messages abruptly cease, Cordelia must face up to the worst and take her future – and the fate of the garden they both loved – into her own hands…

An epic, sweeping tale of love, war and the strength of the human spirit. Fans of Lucinda Riley and Kate Morton will be absolutely gripped by this historical page-turner.


A world at war...a forbidden impossible choice...

Oh my! It's been some time since I've read a Lorna Cook novel and upon leaving those final pages and closing the book, I remember now why I love them so much. It's like coming home. A feeling of completeness. Of having lived, loved and survived. Everything about her tales are just all encompassing, sweeping you away and back to another time far away and long forgotten. But this tale is one that will not be forgotten. It is one that will stay with you long after you have finished the final page.

It's the summer of 1914 and the Carr-Lyons family have returned to the Pencallick House estate after the close of the London season. And with them they've brought change in the form of a landscape architect who has redesigned their formal gardens as well as their sustainable ones, such as the kitchen and herb gardens. Isaac Leigh may not be from money but he is educated at Cambridge and he has dreams beyond the next commission.

One night he is enjoying the stillness of the gardens when he sees Cordelia flee in the direction of the lake. She is so quick, a vision in ivory, that he imagines he has dreamed it. He follows this vision and sees her fling her all-too-real self into the lake's inky depths. Almost at once he dives in after her as she clambers about screaming for her younger brother Clive, panicking that she's too late, as together they search for him. 

And then Isaac hears a titter behind him...and turns. There stands Clive, very dry and very much alive, snickering at the joke he has played on his older sister. Cordelia is understandably angry at him whilst at the same time relieved that the waters had not claimed him after all. But now she stands there cold, shivering and soaking wet. Isaac drapes his pullover around her shoulders and carries her back to the house, where the party she had left was still underway. She does not return, instead going to her room where her maid draws her a bath and she falls into a slumber with the memory of Isaac's arms around her.

When Cordelia takes up an interest in the gardens, her mother's only arguement being that it's "unladylike" while her older brother Edwin wonders if this is something she will stick at for more than a week. Cordelia is determined to prove them wrong. And so she seeks out Isaac's guidance in cultivating and maintaining the gardens from vegetables and fruit to roses and flowers. Their close proximity rekindles the flame they both felt initially whilst still maintaining some level of propriety. After all, he was "a gardener of sorts" and she, a lady of leisure, brought up to marry well and produces heirs and spares for the estate. But class divides mean nothing compared to love in the face of war.

And when that summer is over and war has reached their shores, Cordelia is heartbroken that Isaac has signed up as an Officer, shipping out in days with the rest of the menfolk in the village. With tear-filled farewells, no one knew when they would see their loved ones again...if ever. And Cordelia suffered in silence as her love was a forbidden one that they had kept secret.

Cordelia goes back to the gardens of Pencallick and assists elderly gardener Gilbert whilst she and an Isaac correspond and dream of a life beyond the trenches together. Rumours cited it would all be over by Christmas but that in itself must have just been wishful thinking because Christmas for Isaac was spent in the trenches in a temporary truce with the enemy along the battlelines whilst for Cordelia, hers was spent longing for the day to end and for the week she will spend with Isaac on leave. But when he doesn't arrive as planned nor leaves no word for her, she fears the worst. She checks the papers daily for his name in the list of casualties only to find it absent.

And so she continues her plans to visit an old friend Tabitha in the Lakes District, the perfect place for her rest and relaxation. The perfect place to come to terms with what will be will be...but if that means a life without Isaac, what is she to do? How can she go on without him?

THE HIDDEN LETTERS is a beautiful tale that is a slight departure from her usual offerings. I was fully expecting a dual timeline but this story is focused solely on the past, taking place at the outset of the Great War with the promise of forbidden love. It is beautiful, poignant and touching and had me in tears at times...especially those final pages.

The first part of the story builds with the developing relationship between Cordelia and Isaac. At times, it seems a little slow but there is a also a sense of urgency with the threat of war hanging over the country. And yet with hindsight, would they have done anything different? The story sees Cordelia also posing that very question, particularly in light of the direction it takes. With the waving off of their loved ones, the second part begins and thus do Cordelia and Isaac's correspondence. Also interspersed are letters from her brother Edwin and his fiance Millicent, who became a VAD when war was declared, and her dear friend Tabitha from the Lakes District. The letters bring a life of their own to the story as they detail conditions at the Front whilst life continues back in Cornwall. Until it doesn't. And Cordelia finds herself in the Lakes District on a journey she never thought would be hers. Her life changes dramatically and her devastation is heartbreaking. 

It's when the men went off to the Front and through the letters that I felt the story really came alive. Even when everything changes for Cordelia, the writing is thus a return to the style I've come to know and love from Cook, that I was just completely and wholly immersed within the story there was no escaping.

Though it was a departure from Cook's usual dual timeline narrative, I ended up thoroughly enjoying THE HIDDEN LETTERS far more than I thought I would. The final chapters had me on tenterhooks, the final pages in tears. Just beautiful and everything I have come to love about Cook's stories.

I would like to thank #LornaCook, #Netgalley and #AvonBooks for an ARC of #TheHiddenLetters in exchange for an honest review.


Lorna Cook is a former journalist and publicist who now writes historical fiction. Her debut novel "The Forgotten Village" was a Kindle #1 bestseller and the recipient of both the Romantic Novelists' Association Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award and the Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers. Her favourite authors are Kate Morton, Lucinda Riley, Liz Fenwick, Jenny Ashcroft, Iona Grey and Holly Miller. She now he owns more cookery books than one woman should, but barely gets time to cook.

Lorna lives in coastal South East England with her husband, daughters and a Staffy named Socks.

Social media links:

Wesbite | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

SPOTLIGHT: The Good Patient by Alex Stone


The Good Patient by Alex Stone
Genre: Psychological suspense
Read: 22nd March 2023
Published: 22nd March 2023


Appearances can be deceptive...

I was taught that life is pain. That love is pain. It was unavoidable. Acceptable. I never had anything, or anyone I could count on. Not really. Not even myself.

Until I met Dr Menon...

To the outside world Lauren Taylor’s relationship with her boyfriend Josh is perfect. He is supportive and loving and has been there for Lauren during her darkest moments. But behind closed doors, secrets and lies can be hidden…

And when Lauren wakes up in a hospital bed and is told Josh is missing, those secrets come bubbling up to the surface.

Because the police think Lauren knows exactly what’s happened to Josh; that she could even be capable of his murder…

The only person who believes in Lauren's innocence is Dr Menon, who has cared for Lauren as his patient for the last few weeks. He can't believe she's capable of murder.  He knows just how good she really is.

Isn’t she? 


Alex Stone, originally an accountant from the West Midlands, is now a psychological suspense writer based in Dorset. This beautiful and dramatic coastline is the inspiration and setting for her novels. She was awarded the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2019 and her debut thriller The Perfect Daughter was published by  Boldwood in October 2021 and The Other Girlfriend in July 2022.

Social Media links:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Thursday, 23 March 2023

REVIEW: His Fatal Legacy by Heather Atkinson

His Fatal Legacy (The Alardyce series #3) by Heather Atkinson
Genre: Historical thriller, Victorian Era
Read: 21st March 2023
Published: 20th March 2023

★★★★★ 4.5 stars (rounded up)


Edinburgh 1897

Amy Alardyce's once-perfect life is in tatters. Her eldest son, Robert, has come of age, become the master of his own home, and married his childhood love Jane.  But with maturity has come a terrible legacy, and the dark desires Robert inherited from his evil father Matthew, are fighting to get loose.

Whilst Jane is working hard to get her and Robert accepted into fashionable society, poor women are being hunted on the streets of Edinburgh, and Amy fears her son is to blame.  And once the infamous Inspector Murphy takes up the case, Amy has to face a stark choice - denounce her son as a monster or risk her own safety to protect him from the consequences of his lethal actions.


"We were going to announce this at dinner," said Robert, wrapping an arm around Jane. "But I can't keep it in any longer. I'm very happy to announce that Jane is with child."

"Oh, that's wonderful," beamed Amy. "Congratulations," she said, kissing Jane's cheek before hugging her son.

"Yes, really wonderful news," said Henry, shaking his stepson's hand.

"With child?" repeated a confused Lydia. "What does that mean?"

"It means I'm going to have a baby," replied Jane.

Lydia clapped excitedly while her brothers still looked puzzled.

"For dinner?" said John.

"What a disturbing notion," commented Andrew.

"I have a baby growing inside my tummy," said Jane, pressing a hand to her abdomen.

"How did it get there?"

"There's a question for your parents," smiled Andrew, sipping his Scotch.

"Your brother put it there," Henry told John.

"Robert or Stephen?" he replied.

"Robert," he quickly replied while Andrew chuckled.

"How did he put it there?"

Henry's mouth opened and closed as he became increasingly flustered, Andrew grinning like a Cheshire cat.

"I'll tell you when you're older," was his reply.


"Because it's grown up knowledge."

"The curious minds of the young," smiled Andrew. "How about another magic trick, children?"


A dark heart or an honourable man...only one will prevail...

The third book in the Alardyce series has readers swept back to Victorian times as a darkness sweeps over Edinburgh once more, picking up soon after the end of the second thrilling installment "The Cursed Heir". While it can be read as a standalone, this is one series that can only be fully appreciated in all its ruthless glory from the very beginning. I highly recommend going back to "The Missing Girls of Alardyce House" first, which I found to be the most brutal of the three. It lays the foundations of the the second and third books, carrying a dark and atmospheric chill throughout. Think Jack the Ripper but on a greater scale...and what if Jack the Ripper had a son to take up his legacy?

Edinburgh 1897: Life has not always been kind to Amy Alardyce. But now she has found love with Henry, remarried and they have three beautiful children together. But Amy eldest child continues to worry her. Born from a liaison with an Alardyce footman when she was just just a teenager herself, Robert revealed his proclivities to be just like his father's before him thus prompting Amy and Henry to attempt to take matters into their own hands to prevent him from marrying his childhood sweetheart Jane. Alas, they were too late and the couple were wed.

Now a few short months later, Robert is proving to be a devoted husband, his love for Jane never wavering and as clear as night and day. And Jane continues to be blissfully oblivious to her husband's true nature, encompassed as she is in the throes of newlywed happiness. But how long can he keep his secret from her? He vows that she will never know...but how can one claim to know what the future holds?

When news reaches Henry and Amy that young maids have been attacked in alleyways late at night, they know at once that Robert is responsible and are dismayed. They had hoped that marriage might be the making of Robert but sadly too much of his father's blood runs through his veins. Henry confronts Robert who of course denies any knowledge of the attacks. But Henry has a proposition for his stepson...if he loves Jane and his mother enough.

And then Jane falls pregnant. Robert is excited, certainly, but he is also fearful. What if their child is a son? And he too shares his father's proclivities? What then?

Meanwhile, the Alardyces have been shunned by society for the past decade due to the shame brought on the family name by Henry's younger brother Edward and Amy's dalliance with their footman, of which Robert is the product. But with Robert and Jane's marriage, suddenly they have become accepted within society again, propelling Robert forward as master of his own destiny at the tender age of seventeen years. 

Suddenly there are murders in the Old Town and young women are being attacked. And this time, they do not go unnoticed. An Inspector Murphy is on the case and he will stop at nothing to uncover the truth behind these crimes. Is Robert a guilty man and has he gone too far this time? Is there any coming back from this? And will Amy protect her son till the end?

HIS FATAL LEGACY is something of a sad tale as Amy's story almost comes full circle and Matthew's legacy lives on in Robert. It also raises the question of nature vs nurture. I'm a firm believer in nurture but sometimes people really do bear the sins of their fathers before them through no fault of their own. This series belies the nature edict as is seen over the course of each book, though none have been as graphic or as brutal as that first one. But each are just as equally chilling. Though I did feel this one lacked some of what the previous two had, it was still dark and disturbing as we watched like voyeurs relishing our delight as Amy and Henry attempt to take back some control before it's too late. Robert is just as pathological and yet in this book we begin to see a different side to him and we find ourselves sympathising with him.

This book also differs in that it has a small police procedural side to it, though it is very minimal with the focus mainly on the Alardyces rather than the investigation. I mean, to us as the reader, there is no mystery. We know who did what...we just don't know whether the police will get there with what they've got. Or how long it will take them.

I am thoroughly enjoying this series and part of me doesn't want it to end. Although this had initially been a trilogy, a fourth book - "Evil at Alardyce House" - is to be published in July. And I can't wait!!

Overall, HIS FATAL LEGACY is a deliciously dark tale following on from the previous two books in the series that is atmospheric and chilling throughout. The entire series would make a brilliant TV series. But it's dark and it's chilling...who would be brave enough to undertake it? 

I would like to thank #HeatherAtkinson, #Netgalley, #BoldwoodBooks and #RachelsRandomResources for an ARC of #HisFatalLegacy in exchange for an honest review.


Heather Atkinson is the author of over fifty books – predominantly in the crime fiction genre.  Although Lancashire born and bred she now lives with her family, including twin teenage daughters and a cat called Mavis, on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. 

Heather's tastes in all things are eclectic, which extends to her writing. Although she primarily write crime books - especially gangland thrillers - she also write paranormal, historical romance and fantasy. She publishes on Amazon Kindle and some of her novels are available in paperback too. She has also signed my first traditional publishing contract with Boldwood Books for the gangland Gallowburn series, set in Glasgow. As well as the republication of the Alardyce Trilogy, beginning with "The Missing Girls of Alardyce House".

When she's not writing - which isn't very often - she enjoys reading, especially the Assassin's Creed novels, Agatha Christie, Oscar de Muriel and Edgar Allan Poe, among many others. Heather also enjoys walking, exercising and spending time with her family.

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Wednesday, 22 March 2023

REVIEW: The Good Patient by Alex Stone

The Good Patient by Alex Stone
Genre: Psychological suspense
Read: 22nd March 2023
Published: 22nd March 2023

★ 1 star


Appearances can be deceptive...

I was taught that life is pain. That love is pain. It was unavoidable. Acceptable. I never had anything, or anyone I could count on. Not really. Not even myself.

Until I met Dr Menon...

To the outside world Lauren Taylor’s relationship with her boyfriend Josh is perfect. He is supportive and loving and has been there for Lauren during her darkest moments. But behind closed doors, secrets and lies can be hidden…

And when Lauren wakes up in a hospital bed and is told Josh is missing, those secrets come bubbling up to the surface.

Because the police think Lauren knows exactly what’s happened to Josh; that she could even be capable of his murder…

The only person who believes in Lauren's innocence is Dr Menon, who has cared for Lauren as his patient for the last few weeks. He can't believe she's capable of murder.  He knows just how good she really is.

Isn’t she? 


I think this is the third thriller I've read by Alex Stone and I have found her to be a bit hit and miss. Unfortunately, this one was a complete miss for me. I couldn't even see the point of it. It is meant to be a psychological thriller...even a domestic thriller would suffice...but it reads more like a messed up romance/love triangle. I made it through 20% of it before I wondered what the hell was going on as nothing was going anywhere. It was just a bunch of back and forth between the past and the present, and a slow build with a speed that was glacial. After 20% I want there to be some direction at least. But all I had was an unsure patient who ended up in a relationship with her treating ED doctor. Um...boundaries, people?

Lauren has had a tough life. She grew up being taught that love was pain. And now she's an adult in the casualty department with a suspected broken wrist. Staff have seen her come through their doors on a number of occasions with similar injuries, and the frequency of them noted. Dr Menon sees through her facade, the wall she has built up around herself. 

Lauren's medical history is extensive, going back to her childhood with a mother suspected of harming her suffering Munchausen by Proxy syndrome. Her boyfriend Josh has always known about Lauren's "illnesses" and when her mother died when she was 15, she moved in with Josh and his family...and they became her second family. They gave her a sense of belonging. Until Josh told her she would always be "just a guest".

Now Lauren wakes up in hospital after a head injury following a jet ski accident. And Josh is missing. The police are there to question her, believing she had something to do with his disappearance. But Lauren swears that Josh was not with her the day she took the jet ski out. So where is Josh?

Throughout the course of the investigation, and the to-ing and fro-ing of the story, Lauren and Dr Menon (Abhilash) have developed a friendship that grows closer despite the boundaries that should separate them. Not only that, Abhilash is due to return to India in a few months to marry a bride his family have chosen for him. What I don't understand is why they continue this affair or relationship or whatever it is, when they know it isn't going to last. That he is just going to leave for India and marry another woman he hasn't even met. I don't get arranged marriages but I do respect that it is part of their culture. What I really don't get is they both knew this and yet they still continued seeing each other. To me, it was pointless. In fact, that is just how I pretty sum this book up - pointless. The whole book to me just seemed pointless.

Maybe I'm in the minority but I just don't get what the author was trying to communicate with this book. What the whole point of it even was. To me, it was just a waste of a few hours I can never get back.

I would like to thank #AlexStone, #Netgalley, #BoldwoodBooks and #RachelsRandomResources for an ARC of #TheGoodPatient in exchange for an honest review.


Alex Stone, originally an accountant from the West Midlands, is now a psychological suspense writer based in Dorset. This beautiful and dramatic coastline is the inspiration and setting for her novels. She was awarded the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2019 and her debut thriller The Perfect Daughter was published by  Boldwood in October 2021 and The Other Girlfriend in July 2022.

Social Media links:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Monday, 20 March 2023

REVIEW: Elsie's Wartime Wish by Carol MacLean

Elsie's Wartime Wish (The Kiltie Street Girls #2) by Carol MacLean
Genre: Historical fiction, Saga, WW2
Read: 19th March 2023
Published: 26th January 2023

★★★★ 4 stars


While WW2 rages, Elsie must battle for her family

Elsie Weir is trying hard to keep her family together. Living in Kiltie Street tenement in Glasgow with her mother and little sister, Jessie, isn’t easy – not least because her mother spends most days in a drunken stupor.

But life gets harder still when their mother dies suddenly, leaving Jessie and Elsie broken-hearted. When Elsie’s meagre wages won’t stretch to supporting them, they’re thrown out of their home. The future looks bleak, until their mother’s estranged family deigns to take them in.

But their relief is short-lived as it becomes clear the Mearns family have taken in the orphan sisters only for appearances, treating them cruelly behind closed doors.

When Elsie discovers the devastating secret her mother kept from them, it seems that they may have a lifeline – until that dream too, is cruelly dashed.

Now, more than ever, the sisters only have each other. But can Elsie and Jessie find some hope in a life full of heartbreak?

A heartwarming and compelling family saga that fans of Rosie Hendry and Annie Murray will love.


Can she keep her family together...or will secrets tear them apart...?

I read and loved the first book in this wonderful heartwarming series "Jeannie's War" and it was wonderful to revisit some of the minor characters from that first book. But this time they were the focus of the story. Jeannie popped in and out a couple of times but was mostly a mention in passing. ELSIE'S WARTIME WISH is just as delightful and as easy read as the first one that I enjoyed my time on Kiltie Street once again.

Glasgow 1943: War has raged for four years and by now Britons and its Allies have grown weary with the constant death and losses that ravage those left behind. After the Glasgow Blitz in which many children were evacuated to the country, Elsie's younger sister Jessie (now 13) had settled in Perthshire with a lovely family who loved her as their own. However, the time has come that Louise Weir wants Elsie to make the journey and bring her youngest daughter back home where she belongs. Upon arriving at the sprawling house owned by the Cranstons, Elsie can hardly see Jessie wanting to return to the slums and tenements of Glasgow. And she doesn't. Jessie pleads with her sister to let her stay. The Cranstons beg her also and stating that it is their wish to adopt Jessie. For two years, this has been Jessie's home. She is fed, clothed, loved and above all, safe here. But her mother wants her home, and go home she must. The train journey back to Glasgow is a silent one.

Annie had once worked alongside her friend Jeannie at Fearnmore Munitions Factory, where Elsie also works, but upon marrying Paul Thom she had then fallen pregnant. Now she has given birth to a hefty baby boy they have named Davey. Annie should be happy. But all Davey seems to do is cry and it wears on her nerves. Paul is barely home and when he is he is drunk and argumentative. What happened to her kindly husband? The man she fell in love with? He came back from the war a changed man and it has made him bitter. But when Paul falls in with a wrong sort, Annie fears he will land himself in more trouble and then what will become of them?

And then there is Doris. She by no means pretty, with her thick lens glasses and plain features, but she is clever. She lives with her mother Leila who spends her days fretting about just about everything which wears on Doris' nerves, often sending her into a panic and thus making her asthma worse. Doris longs for her dearest friend to see her as more than a little sister but fears with her plain looks that will never happen.

The three women become friends when they meet by chance on Kiltie Street, despite each of them working, or having worked, in the Munitions factory though in different roles. And then when Elsie's mother dies suddenly her entire world falls apart and she finds herself homeless but for a secret her mother kept from them until she was on her deathbed.

Thrust into a home where they are not wanted, Elsie and Jessie make do the best they can, despite being ignored for the most part until they are required to undertake chores to earn their keep. Both girls cannot wait until the day they can escape these cruel walls. But it seems their mother had yet another secret or two she kept from her daughters...and when Elsie discovers them, she does her utmost to make her greatest wish come true.

ELSIE'S WARTIME WISH is an easy read that will sweep you up and take you back to the tenements of wartime Glasgow. I loved taking the journey with each of the women and hoped that each of their wishes would come to fruition. There is plenty of heartbreak, secrets, lies and of course friendship and love. A truly wonderful heartfelt read. 

I can't wait for book 3 which I believe will focus on Jeannie's wayward sister Kathy.

I would like to thank #CarolMaclean, #Netgalley and #HeraBooks for an ARC of #ElsiesWartimeWish in exchange for an honest review.


Carol MacLean lives in the Glasgow area. She began by writing pocket novels, having 18 published before deciding to write an historical saga. She enjoys weaving social history into fiction and imagining how life must have been for ordinary people living through different times.

When she’s not writing, Carol can be found visiting museums or walking around the city looking for traces of old Glasgow to inspire her next novel.
Carol is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

She has written 18 pocket novels published by DC Thomson and Linford Romance Series (Ulverscroft). 
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