The Silk Weaver – Liz Trenow

The Silk Weaver – Liz Trenow

With thanks to the publishers for sending us a copy of this book in exchange for review.  I was interested in the description of this book, which bought to mind the books of Dinah Jefferies that I’ve been enjoying recently and I was intrigued to take on another authors take on historical romance.

 

In the Silk Weaver Liz Trenow introduces us to Anna Butterfield, on the death of her mother she has given up the comforts of her peaceful life tending to her dad and sister and is thrown head first into London life with her aunt – her uncle a silk merchant has a social status which Anna finds she must also step into.  She must wear the right clothes and be seen with the right people for a young woman of her status.

However soon on arriving Anna meets French silk weaver Henri and soon through several twists of fates their lives become intertwined in a forbidden romance.

Trenow has managed to weave a wonderful story which immerses the reader in history, I did however find this book a bit slow going to start with and it takes a long time to get into the romance.  However once it began I was drawn into the relationship and the book was better for it.

 

The Silk Weaver Book Cover The Silk Weaver
Liz Trenow
Pan
Paperback
416

1760, Spitalfields. Anna Butterfield’s life is about to change forever, as she moves from her idyllic Suffolk home to be introduced into London society. A chance encounter with a French silk weaver, Henri, draws her in to the volatile world of the city’s burgeoning silk trade. Henri is working on his ‘master piece’, to become a master weaver and freeman; Anna longs to become an artist while struggling against pressure from her uncle’s family to marry a wealthy young lawyer.

As their lives become ever more intertwined, Henri realises that Anna’s designs could give them both an opportunity for freedom. But his world becomes more dangerous by the day, as riots threaten to tear them apart forever . . .

Inspired by real historical events and characters, The Silk Weaver is a captivating, unforgettable story of illicit romance in a time of enlightenment and social upheaval.

The Summer of Impossible Things – Rowan Coleman

The Summer of Impossible Things – Rowan Coleman

We were absolutely ecstatic to receive a very special bloggers copy of Rowan’s latest novel A Summer of Impossible Things and eager to get lost amongst it’s pages!

In a new turn for Rowan this story explores the possibility of time travel, but in a very clever way.  Luna and her sister have lost their mum and are visiting America to sell off her old family home, but the death of their mother has uncovered some major secrets about who Luna is and being back in her mum’s childhood home has some unsettling effects for Luna – she finds she is literally drawn back in time and it’s possible that it’s down to her to change the tragic events of the past and hopefully make a new brighter future for her family.

The plot was very cleverly put together for this story and despite the time travel it was never unclear where you were in time or the story and the plot unwound naturally.  I really enjoyed the relationship between Luna and her sister and how Luna supported her sister through her own issues.  Luna was selfless in her determination to resolve the issues from the past even though it was clear this could mean she lost herself and her own happiness in the process.

The subplot of Luna’s own love interest in the past was also well done – showing two people drawn together by fate and unexpected circumstance and how they can overcome barriers to find love.

There are very few time travelling novels that I’ve actually enjoyed but I can genuinely add this one to the list.  A beautiful book!

The Summer of Impossible Things Book Cover The Summer of Impossible Things
Rowan Coleman
Ebury Digital
29th June 2017
Paperback
400

This summer, get ready to believe in Impossible Things with the brand new book from international bestseller, Rowan Coleman. This is THE TIME TRAVELLER'S WIFE for a new generation of readers. Available to pre-order now!

If you could change the past, would you?

Thirty years ago, something terrible happened to Luna’s mother. Something she’s only prepared to reveal after her death.

Now Luna and her sister have a chance to go back to their mother’s birthplace and settle her affairs. But in Brooklyn they find more questions than answers, until something impossible – magical – happens to Luna, and she meets her mother as a young woman back in the summer of 1977.

At first Luna’s thinks she’s going crazy, but if she can truly travel back in time, she can change things. But in doing anything – everything – to save her mother’s life, will she have to sacrifice her own?

Blog Tour – Before the Rains – Dinah Jefferies

Blog Tour – Before the Rains – Dinah Jefferies

We’re really enjoying reading Dinah Jefferies at Compelling reads so were thrilled to be asked again to take part in the Blog Tour for her latest novel Before The Rains.

This time Dinah takes us on a journey to India – Eliza is an aspiring photographer, who is widowed but determined to forge ahead in her career.  She has connections with India from her childhood, where she tragically witnessed the death of her father, murdered by a bomb from a freedom group.  This sets up the political undercurrent of the story, as old traditions struggle against British rule and the fight for freedom from it.

Eliza has returned to photograph the royal family of Rajputana where she meets and is attracted to Prince Jay, second in line to the throne, while he teaches Eliza about Indian culture she shows him the true poverty of his country and inspires him to take up a project of water irrigation. As Eliza grows closer to Jay it isn’t unnoticed by those around and she is discouraged from getting close to him as he is destined to marry well.  British diplomat Clifford also has designs on her and in using her to spy on the Royal family.

It’s a complex love story which is cleverly played out to highlight the politics of the time – both sides end up making sacrifices for love and in Eliza’s case she makes a few discoveries about her own identity, as a woman post widowhood and her family history.

It’s a novel which again blends history, romance and the exotic Indian landscape into a captivating story, it’s Dinah’s signature style which works so well and keeps us returning to her stories.

See our other Dinah Jefferies reviews and posts here: http://compellingreads.co.uk/?s=dinah+jefferies

Before The Rains Book Cover Before The Rains
Dinah Jefferies
Penguin
23rd February 2017
Paperback
400

1930, Rajputana, India. Since her husband's death, 28-year-old photojournalist Eliza's only companion has been her camera. When the British Government send her to an Indian princely state to photograph the royal family, she's determined to make a name for herself.

But when Eliza arrives at the palace she meets Jay, the Prince's handsome, brooding brother. While Eliza awakens Jay to the poverty of his people, he awakens her to the injustices of British rule. Soon Jay and Eliza find they have more in common than they think. But their families - and society - think otherwise. Eventually they will have to make a choice between doing what's expected, or following their hearts. . .

Who’s That Girl? – Mhairi McFarlane

Who’s That Girl? – Mhairi McFarlane

Another book purchased in the wake of Fab Mag’s Fabulous Night in – I’ve not read any of Mhairi McFarlane’s books before, but having seen her chat about her work I was intrigued in this book and grabbed a copy from the popular depleting pile.

In who’s that girl we encounter Edie as she attends the wedding of 2 work colleagues, everything is going wonderfully, embarrassing bridesmaid singing aside and then the groom kisses Edie and they’re caught by the bride.  The ensuing fall out sees Edie returning home to Nottingham side-lined on a copywriting project.  Here she finds ghost writing the autobiography of rising acting star Elliot Owen maybe more challenging than anticipated.

A heart-warming story that looks at the fallout and trolling of someone through social media along with an almost comparison of the negative aspects of fame.  The budding friendship between Edie and Elliot is genuine and was great to see the sharing of secrets between the two of them along with the sharing of advice.  Edie’s downfall turns out to be a learning experience as she takes a look at her life and learns about herself and her genuine friends, making a decision on how to deal with the future.

A genuinely laughed and cried at this book – the first book in a while that I couldn’t leave till the next day and had to finish in one go.  Will definitely check out more from McFarlane

Who's That Girl? Book Cover Who's That Girl?
Mhairi McFarlane
Harper
7th April 2016
Hardcover
448

When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues’ wedding, all the blame falls on her – turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. Shamed online and ostracised by everyone she knows, Edie’s forced to take an extended sabbatical – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen. Easy, right?

Wrong. Banished back to her home town of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a man who probably hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in a decade, but also suffering an excruciating regression to her teenage years as she moves back in with her widowed father and judgy, layabout sister.

When the world is asking who you are, it’s hard not to question yourself. Who’s that girl? Edie is ready to find out.

If He Really Loved Me… – Julia Roberts

If He Really Loved Me… – Julia Roberts

If He Really Loved Me sees us meet Holly firstly 2 years in the future, with a happy baby, son and apparently husband, but before her husband is revealed we travel back Picking up from where book one in The Liberty Sands trilogy left us as Holly tries to find a moment to reveal to son Harry that follwing her holiday romance she is pregnant.

Still avoiding Phillippe and determined not to reveal to him she is pregnant it seems history is set to repeat itself.  But with the relationship with his mum set to change Harry thinks it’s time to find out who his father is and that every child deserves to know their father.

Phillippe meanwhile is set on tracking down Holly and finding out if they can make things up, but it seems he will get a surprise when he does find her.  Can they be honest with each other and make a go of things, or are there too many secrets in the way of the relationship?

There are plenty of twists in this saga and a few characters are developed a little more, with secrets being unhidden and new information revealed – there are some nice surprises in the way that take this away from the holiday romance of the first book and make the characters much more three dimensional with their own problems and histories.

The end of the book leaves you guessing and hanging on to delve straight into book 3 to find out exactly who Holly is going to end up with in her happily ever after!  I can’t wait for more!

If He Really Loved Me... Book Cover If He Really Loved Me...
The Liberty Sands Trilogy
Julia Roberts
ripped Ltd
25th November 2015
Kindle
334

Book one in the Liberty Sands Trilogy, Life's a Beach and Then..., introduced us to Holly, Harry and Philippe; If He Really Loved Me... continues their captivating story, from love to heartbreak. trust to betrayal, and back again.

Single mum, Holly Wilson, and her twenty-year-old son,Harry, have an enviably close relationship but when Harry finds out that she is pregnant and, for reasons unknown to all but herself, intends to raise the baby alone again, he begins to question her decision not to tell him about his own father, who abandoned them before his birth.

Upon discovering his father's name, Harry secretly embarks on his search for the truth, a search which takes him to Los Angeles where he uncovers a tragic story. Still reeling from what he has learned, an extraordinary twist of fate brings Harry and Philippe, the father of Holly's unborn child, face to face. Should Harry tell him about the baby and risk damaging his relationship with his mum forever? If he does, will Philippe want to be a husband and father? And will Holly be prepared to give Philippe a second chance?

On The Other Side – Carrie Hope Fletcher

On The Other Side – Carrie Hope Fletcher

Having watched Carrie’s YouTube videos for a while now we were intrigued when she announced she was publishing a book and even more excited when we read the blurb for what sounded like a great story.  Cut to release day and the book has been burning a hole in my kindle pile for some time whilst I cleared my reading backlog, but finally I’ve done it!

When Evie Snow reaches the door of her old apartment and the key doesn’t turn at first she is puzzled, even more puzzling is that she’s back in her 27 year old body.  Soon however her old friend and apartment manager is on hand to help her understand… Evie has passed away, and now she has arrived at her personal heaven.  But there’s a problem her body is too heavy to pass into that heaven at the moment as it’s weighed down with the secrets she left behind.

In order to enter her heaven Evie has to work out how to reveal her secrets to those she left behind and that involves 3 secrets & some orange sweets.The book shows us Evie’s life as a 27 year old trying to create a life doing something she loves (art) whilst being controlled by her mother who wants to force her into marriage with a guy she doesn’t love.  When Evie encounters a busker on the journey home from work she embarks on a love story that will last her lifetime but unfortunately is doomed to fail.

The premise of the story was great and a truly wonderful idea, I did however find that at times the story felt too much based on the author herself.  If you read the book as a new reader not familar with Carrie, this won’t be a problem, but as someone who is familar with her I couldn’t help but see Evie as her and Vincent as her partner Pete which was a bit off putting when trying to get in to the story.

Carrie does really well in building some magical imagery into the plot – the black bird that isn’t a black bird is just one wonderful example.  Along with Evie’s glass drawings that move along the walls of Isla’s room when she restores them.  I did however get a bit lost at the tree planting on Evie’s wedding day as for me that particular moment was a little too out there.

Overall a very good debut fiction story and I’m certain that Carrie will continue to shine in her writing to come.

 

On The Other Side Book Cover On The Other Side
Carrie Hope Fletcher
Sphere
14th July 2016
Kindle
352

Your soul is too heavy to pass through this door,
Leave the weight of the world in the world from before

Evie Snow is eighty-two when she quietly passes away in her sleep, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. It's the way most people wish to leave the world but when Evie reaches the door of her own private heaven, she finds that she's become her twenty seven- year-old self and the door won't open. Evie's soul must be light enough to pass through so she needs to get rid of whatever is making her soul heavy. For Evie, this means unburdening herself of the three secrets that have weighed her down for over fifty years, so she must find a way to reveal them before it's too late. As Evie begins the journey of a lifetime, she learns more about life and love than she ever thought possible, and somehow , some way, she may also find her way back to her long lost love...

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