Blog Tour – The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

Published June 16, 2019 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth…

Emma Maria Rossini appears to be the luckiest girl in the world. She’s the daughter of a beautiful and loving mother, and her father is one of the most famous film actors of his generation. She’s also the granddaughter of a rather eccentric and obscure Italian astrophysicist.

But as her seemingly charmed life begins to unravel, and Emma experiences love and tragedy, she ultimately finds solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theorem on the universe.

The Space Between Time is humorous and poignant and offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost.

What did I think?:

Firstly, thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and Accent Press for providing me with a complimentary digital copy of The Space Between Time in exchange for an honest review. I very much enjoyed reading Charlie’s previous novel, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead and jumped at the chance to read something else by him. I have a personal interest in the settings of Charlie’s books, being a Scottish lass myself and so each foray into his writing becomes almost like a nostalgic experience, taking me back to my own adolescence and childhood. The author also has a real talent and intuition for writing believable female characters and for myself as a reader, I have great admiration for any author who makes their female leads authentic and refreshingly non-stereotypical.

Charlie Laidlaw, author of The Space Between Time. 

In similarity to his previous novel, the author chooses to focus on a female protagonist, Emma Rossini. From the very beginning, we delve into her interesting upbringing with a famous Hollywood actor for her father and a (celebrated in certain circles) Italian astrophysicist for a grandfather – with his own infamous theorem and book in addition to his highly intelligent and enquiring mind. We follow Emma from a young girl as she sees her father for the first time in film at the local cinema, to her relationship with both her parents, the effect on her life when tragedy strikes and how the fractured moments of her past affect the decisions she makes in her present and potentially, her future.

Aside from our female lead Emma, I think one of my favourite things about The Space Between Time was the perceptive way in which Charlie Laidlaw explored the intricacies of relationships. It evidenced the cold, hard fact that no family or friendship is perfect and we all have our little quirks and foibles that we must muddle through to become a well-rounded person in our adult life. I enjoyed that it didn’t shy away from the darker side of life – it’s challenging, it’s unpredictable and it’s vital that we all have some kind of support network around us, whether that’s family or friends so that we can make it out the other side.

Image from: https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/780101/Dark-matter-mystery-deepens-DROUGHT-universe

The author presents the murkier depths of Emma’s coming of age beautifully, with sensitivity and a light-hearted touch of humour that never feels forced or unnecessary. I thought it portrayed some difficult subjects in a sensible, thoughtful way that certainly had me thinking about the characters and their situations long after I had finished the final page. Furthermore (and very strangely), for someone who had to give up Physics at Standard Grade level (GCSE in England), I really connected with the more mathematical parts of the novel where black holes and the secrets of the universe are discussed. Anyone who knows me well might have their eyes popping out of their head right now as Maths and I do NOT get on. Somehow in this book, it worked for me and I found the ideas presented incredibly interesting and insightful.

The Space Between Time is a fascinating contemporary novel for anyone interested in family dynamics, the universe and female protagonists you can’t help but root for.

Would I recommend it?: 

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Charlie Laidlaw was born in Paisley and is a graduate of the
University of Edinburgh. He has been a national newspaper journalist
and worked in defence intelligence. He now runs his own marketing
consultancy in East Lothian. He is married with two grown-up
children.

Find Charlie on Goodreads at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16124556.Charlie_Laidlaw

on his website at: https://www.charlielaidlawauthor.com/

on Twitter at: @claidlawauthor

Thank you so much once again to Anne Cater and Accent Press for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, I’ve had a wonderful time doing it. The Space Between Time is due to be published on 20th June 2019 and will be available as a paperback and a digital e-book. If you fancy more information don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops on this blog tour for some amazing reviews!

Link to The Space Between Time on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45448136-the-space-between-time

Link to The Space Between Time on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Space-Between-Time-Charlie-Laidlaw/dp/1786156946/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+space+between+time&qid=1560702038&s=gateway&sr=8-1

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Beth And Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2019 – MAY READ – The Enchanted Wood (The Faraway Tree #1) – Enid Blyton

Published May 31, 2019 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Jo, Bessie and Fanny move to the country and find an Enchanted Wood right on their doorstep. In the magic Faraway Tree live the magical characters that soon become their new friends – Moon-Face, Silky the fairy, and Saucepan Man. Together they visit the strange lands (the Roundabout Land, the Land of Ice and Snow, Toyland and the Land of Take What You Want) atop the tree and have the most exciting adventures – and narrow escapes.

What did I think?:

The Faraway Tree series will always have a very special place in my heart. I remember it fondly from childhood (and I think it was probably one of the books I read to my sister Chrissi on a regular basis) yet I was almost petrified to read it again, just in case it didn’t live up to those delicious memories and expectations. Luckily, when reading it again I could definitely confirm why I rated Enid Blyton so highly as an author. Reading it as an adult is an interesting experience as parts of it do feel very much “of the time,” however I truly believe that the fantasy and adventure aspects of the story will still continue to delight and appeal to younger children today.

Enid Blyton, author of The Enchanted Wood, the first book in The Faraway Tree series. 

In a nutshell, The Enchanted Wood is the first book in which we meet three siblings (who strangely enough, seem to have had their names changed from the last time I read this book). Their original names in the story I read were Jo, Fanny and Bessie and in this edition it’s Joe, Frannie and Beth. On reading up a bit on it, it’s not the first time Enid Blyton has been censored and altered to protect the delicate minds of future generations of children. However, I’ll try not to get on my soap box (too much) about it and just accept that this has happened. Even if I don’t agree with it!  If you’re interested in reading about this further, there’s a fantastic article HERE. Our three children have just moved house and discover the magical Enchanted Wood, filled with talking animals, elves, goblins and helpful red squirrels. Best of all, there is an enormous tree that they can climb up, reaching other lands through the clouds at the top of the tree and meeting new friends that live within its branches.

Enid Blyton never fails to write an exciting adventure story filled with imaginative worlds and unforgettable magical events. Although her characters don’t seem to vary too much between her different series i.e. none of them have outstanding or memorable features, I don’t think it’s really necessary. As a child reading this, it was much more about the adventures that the children had and the amazing lands that they visited at the top of The Faraway Tree compared with how complex or interesting their personalities were! I loved the sense of tension that Blyton builds up when the children enter a precarious situation and equally appreciated the more joyous moments when they visited worlds like The Land Of Birthdays or The Land of Take-What-You-Want. I remember clearly as a younger reader feeling desperate to visit such lands myself and having such a cosy, warm feeling at Blyton’s descriptive narrative which brought everything alive for me in full, colourful detail. To be honest, I felt exactly the same as an adult and that’s why I can’t give it any less than the full five stars – both for the nostalgia and for how the author seems to know what children want so perfectly.

For Chrissi’s fabulous review, please see her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

imagesCAF9JG4S

COMING UP IN JUNE ON BETH AND CHRISSI DO KID-LIT: What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge

Banned Books 2019 – MAY READ – Crazy Lady by Jane Leslie Conly

Published May 29, 2019 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Increasingly alienated from his widowed father, Vernon joins his friends in ridiculing the neighborhood outcasts’Maxine, an alcoholic prone to outrageous behavior, and Ronald, her retarded son. But when a social service agency tries to put Ronald into a special home, Vernon fights against the move.

Logo designed by Luna’s Little Library

Welcome to the fifth banned book in our series for 2019! As always, we’ll be looking at why the book was challenged, how/if things have changed since the book was originally published and our own opinions on the book. Here’s what we’ll be reading for the rest of the year:

JUNE: Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture– Michael A. Bellesiles

JULY: In The Night Kitchen- Maurice Sendak

AUGUST: Whale Talk– Chris Crutcher

SEPTEMBER: The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins

OCTOBER: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Mark Twain

NOVEMBER: To Kill A Mockingbird- Harper Lee

DECEMBER: Revolutionary Voices- edited by Amy Sonnie

But back to this month….

Crazy Lady by Jane Leslie Conly

First published: 1993

In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2005 (source)

Reasons: offensive language.

Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: I don’t know why I put myself through this each month – as soon as I see the reasons for books being challenged/banned, I get cross! Haha. This book was originally published in 1993 which feels occasionally like a million light years ago but strangely enough, at the same time, it feels not long ago at all for me, it’s a year I remember quite well. Attitudes have changed quite dramatically from the nineties, especially regarding children with special needs (thank goodness!) but as for the reason this book was challenged? I just don’t get it. It states offensive language and well, there are many moments in this book where the characters “cuss,” but no mention is ever made of the particular words they use. All that is said is the word “cuss,” which isn’t offensive by itself – not to me, anyway. So I’m left feeling slightly confused as to where the offensive language was?!

CHRISSI: We never agree with the reasons for things being challenged and I really don’t see the problem with any language in this book. As I’ve said before, children and young adults hear and see much worse in their family home. Even in the 90s! I don’t think offensive language is reason enough to challenge a book. I really don’t!

How about now?

BETH: Nowadays I would hope that the mere mention of the word “cuss” or “swear,” wouldn’t send people running for the hills but sadly, that still appears to be the case. Well, when it was challenged in 2005 that is! Fair enough, not everybody appreciates bad language, I personally don’t use it in my reviews because I don’t want to offend anyone but I understand and enjoy the fact that everyone is different. However, I don’t understand why when the “bad words,” aren’t even mentioned that some people still have an issue with this book? Perhaps I’m being incredibly naive.

CHRISSI: I can’t believe that this book was challenged in 2005, especially when TV and the media have much worse language occurring. I mean, seriously?! If the language was more explicit, then I could probably get why it was challenged, but it’s really not that bad at all. I’ve read worse and I’m sure teenagers/young adults have heard worse too. I think we can censor our children/young people too much and it makes them curious to seek out what is being challenged.

What did you think of this book?:

BETH: Crazy Lady was a quick and easy read for me but nothing I really want to shout from the rooftops about. It was interesting to see the depiction of a special needs child written in the nineties (but set in the eighties) and how far we’ve come as a society since then in our attitudes and treatment. I thought the alcoholic character of Maxine was an interesting addition but I have to admit, she frustrated me slightly especially as it seemed like she wasn’t making any effort to really help herself or her son Ronald.

CHRISSI: It has an interesting story-line and one I’m pleased is represented in children’s literature. It wasn’t a book that I’d rave about. I found the ending to be a bit of a let down. Mainly, like Beth, it made me appreciate how our treatment with people with special needs has progressed. We still have a way to go, but we’re definitely taking steps in the right direction. I liked how it didn’t try and talk down or be condescending.

Would you recommend it?:

BETH: Probably!

CHRISSI: Yes!

BETH’s personal star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

COMING UP IN JUNE ON BANNED BOOKS: Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture by Michael A. Bellesiles

Blog Tour – Never Be Broken (DI Marnie Rome #6) – Sarah Hilary

Published May 22, 2019 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Children are dying on London’s streets. Frankie Reece, stabbed through the heart, outside a corner shop. Others recruited from care homes, picked up and exploited; passed like gifts between gangs. They are London’s lost.

Then Raphaela Belsham is killed. She’s thirteen years old, her father is a man of influence, from a smart part of town. And she’s white. Suddenly, the establishment is taking notice.

DS Noah Jake is determined to handle Raphaela’s case and Frankie’s too. But he’s facing his own turmoil, and it’s becoming an obsession. DI Marnie Rome is worried, and she needs Noah on side. Because more children are disappearing, more are being killed by the day and the swelling tide of violence needs to be stemmed before it’s too late.

NEVER BE BROKEN is a stunning, intelligent and gripping novel which explores how the act of witness alters us, and reveals what lies beneath the veneer of a glittering city.

What did I think?:

First of all, thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and to Headline Books for providing me with a complimentary hardback in exchange for an honest review. I have to admit, when the email first came through from Anne, I practically bit her hand off for the chance to be involved in this tour. The DI Marnie Rome series remains one of my absolute favourites in crime fiction and unlike series from different authors in the past (where I’ve sadly lost interest as the series continued) in my opinion, these books just keep getting stronger and stronger. Like my other favourite crime author Cara Hunter, Sarah Hilary dives into the heart and soul of her fascinating characters and as each book continues, you really start to believe not only that these characters exist but that you understand and care about them on a much more intimate level.

Sarah Hilary, author of Never Be Broken, the sixth novel in the DI Marnie Rome series. 

I would urge anyone reading this review with an interest in contemporary UK crime fiction to seek out and devour these novels right from the beginning. Although each book could theoretically be read as a stand-alone, you will understand much more about our protagonists’ pasts, hopes, dreams and fears from enjoying it from the start. There are a few particular threads I’m thinking of involving Marnie and her colleague Noah, specifically their individual family situations that just HAVE to be experienced from Someone Else’s Skin onwards. Although it may feel overwhelming to catch up on seven books in a series, I can confidently confirm that it will be worth every single page you read. Sarah Hilary manages to capture not only the authenticity of her characters as I’ve mentioned previously, but the current situation in London today. I found this particularly poignant in Never Be Broken as topics explored included Brexit, the tragedy of Grenfell Tower and violent crime amongst young people.

The devastation of the fire at Grenfell Tower, mentioned in Never Be Broken.

DI Marnie Rome and her sidekick, DS Noah Jake are our two main protagonists in the series and the author has chosen to explore their lives intricately through previous books in the series. In Never Be Broken, the main focus is on Noah which I was delighted by as I have a particular soft spot for him as a character. Well – I wasn’t expecting joy and happiness in a novel that mentions “broken” within the very title but I seriously wasn’t prepared for how much drama, heart-break and havoc I would be facing as a reader. Sarah Hilary expertly merges the exploration of her characters personalities with tense, gut-wrenching moments of action. The result is that you get a story with slower, beautiful and more thought-provoking passages combined with parts that literally kept me on the edge of my seat as I continued to read. As I alluded to before, because the author spends so much time letting us get to know the characters on a personal level, you champion and root for them even more so because you feel that special connection.

I’m thrilled to confirm another stellar outing from Sarah Hilary with Never Be Broken but I never expected any less, to be honest. She is truly becoming a “must read” author in the crime fiction genre that everyone should be aware of if they aren’t already familiar with her. I’m so excited to see where she’s going to take our characters next!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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AUTHOR INFORMATION

Sarah Hilary’s debut, Someone Else’s Skin, won Theakstons Crime Novel of the
Year 2015 and was a World Book Night selection for 2016. The Observer’s
Book of the Month (‘superbly disturbing’) and a Richard & Judy Book Club
bestseller, it has been published worldwide. No Other Darkness, the second in the
series was shortlisted for a Barry Award in the US. Her DI Marnie Rome series
continued with Tastes Like Fear, Quieter Than Killing and Come And Find Me.

Find Sarah on Goodreads at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3418841.Sarah_Hilary

on her website at: http://sarah-crawl-space.blogspot.co.uk/

on Twitter at: @sarah_hilary

Thank you so much once again to Anne Cater and Headline Books for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, I’ve had a wonderful time doing it. Never Be Broken was published on 16th May 2019 and will be available as a hardback and a digital e-book. If you fancy more information don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops on this blog tour for some amazing reviews!

Link to Never Be Broken on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43527422-never-be-broken

Link to Never Be Broken on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Never-Broken-D-I-Marnie-Rome/dp/1472249003/ref=sr_1_1?crid=GIZKJVZ5ODE9&keywords=never+be+broken&qid=1558464618&s=gateway&sprefix=never+be+broken%2Caps%2C135&sr=8-1

Personal Post – bibliobeth – the end?

Published May 18, 2019 by bibliobeth

Hi everyone! Hope you’re all well. Gosh, I don’t know where to even begin with this post. Here goes…

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but for a little while now (perhaps since the start of the year?) I’ve been in the biggest blogging slump. I even wrote a post about it recently HERE. There’s been a number of reasons for it but at the moment, there’s a couple of things that are standing out and making my whole blogging experience not as fun anymore. I’ve recently been promoted into quite a stressful job and at the moment, it’s taking up quite a lot of brain space and time. It’s the best job I’ve ever had and I’m really loving it but it’s making it quite difficult to carry on blogging too.

I’ve been blogging now for over six years and when I first started, I absolutely adored it. It’s everything – the chance to read advance review copies, the opportunities to work with some fantastic publishers and authors but most of all, it’s the interaction with the blogging community that I’ve found the most valuable part of my experience. I’ve treasured the special moments, like blogging with my sister Chrissi Reads, making some wonderful new friends and being able to chat everything bookish with people who feel exactly the same way as I do about books. I’ve even got the chance to meet some of you at blogger events, buddy read with you and message you regularly which has given me the opportunity to get to know you not only as a blogger but as a person. I’m overwhelmed to call some of you genuine friends.

More recently, I’ve started to feel a little bit different about blogging. Please let me stress it’s NOTHING to do with the community – as I’ve already mentioned, you’re the best part! It’s a “me” thing rather than a “you” thing, I promise. Personally, every time I’ve set down to write a review, it’s not felt the same. It hasn’t been fun, I haven’t been excited about doing it and to be perfectly honest, occasionally I’ve been dreading it. As I have a busy work life at the moment, I really don’t want to be getting home and feeling like I’m still working which sadly, has turned out to be the case. Blogging is supposed to be a hobby and is meant to be fun right? If I’m not enjoying myself, why am I still pushing myself to continue?

I’ve tried different things just to check if it might be a slump. I’ve gone on hiatus, I’ve dialled down the number of review copies I accept but it hasn’t improved the situation. I’m starting to get miserable when I look at the hundreds of books (yep, hundreds!) waiting for me on my bookshelves to read. These are books I’ve been really excited about but keep getting pushed to the back of a seemingly never-ending list. The books I push to the front are books I’ve received recently and feel compelled to review because I’m a blogger.

So I thought long and hard about this and I’ve decided to give up blogging. I’m not putting this post out as a means of getting sympathy or for you guys to persuade me to come back, I’ve pretty much 99% made up my mind that this is the right decision. I want to leave that 1% there because I’d like to think I might change my mind in the future and come back, perhaps when work has calmed down or when I’ve retired (haha!). It’s funny though, I knew I had made the right decision when I felt an overwhelming sense of relief, like a weight had been lifted as soon as I had said it out loud to my sister, my blogging besties Janel @ Keeper Of Pages, Jennifer @ Tar Heel Reader and my long-suffering partner Mr B.

I’ve got a couple more review commitments that of course I will stick to – one this month, one in June and one in July. I’ve also promised to carry on my Kid-Lit and Banned Book series with Chrissi until the end of the year as our books were already agreed so you won’t be getting rid of me just yet! However, posts will be very much reduced from August onwards (just Kid-Lit and Banned Books) with a view to stopping completely at the end of December.

At the moment, I’m absolutely loving coming home from work and not having to worry about writing a review. I can settle down, watch a TV show or lose myself in my books and it feels nice. I know it’s the right decision for me right now. I did want to write this post to get it all out there and even though you’ll see posts a couple of times a month until December, I wanted to say a proper thank you and goodbye, just in case it is the end.

I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all your support for my little blog over the past six years. The blogging/bookish community is the best and I’ll miss you all. I am still going to be active on Instagram and Goodreads (maybe Twitter, haven’t decided yet) so if you want to follow me over there and see what I’m up to, I’d be delighted to have you along for the ride! Thank you for the nominations for blog awards over the past couple of years which has been unbelievable and really warmed my heart. Thank you for all your likes, shares and comments and every single interaction we’ve had, no matter how small – it’s meant the world to me. Thank you for reading my reviews, sharing your own thoughts and feelings and making my time in this community so special. Thank you also to all the publishers and publicity people who’ve been kind enough to send me review copies, I’ve felt like such a lucky girl every time a package drops on my doormat!

Blogging has been such a life-altering and awesome time in my life and I’ve had an amazing and unforgettable journey. I wish EVERYONE all the best with their own blogs – you’re all incredible and I know how hard you work and how much time the whole experience takes out of your lives.

I can’t say thank you enough. Please keep in touch!

Love, Beth xx

Blog Tour – Death And The Harlot by Georgina Clarke

Published May 15, 2019 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

A gripping historical crime debut from an exciting new voice.‘It’s strange, the way fortune deals her hand.’

The year is 1759 and London is shrouded in a cloak of fear. With the constables at the mercy of highwaymen, it’s a perilous time to work the already dangerous streets of Soho. Lizzie Hardwicke makes her living as a prostitute, somewhat protected from the fray as one of Mrs Farley’s girls. But then one of her wealthy customers is found brutally murdered… and Lizzie was the last person to see him alive.

Constable William Davenport has no hard evidence against Lizzie but his presence and questions make life increasingly difficult. Desperate to be rid of him and prove her innocence Lizzie turns amateur detective, determined to find the true killer, whatever the cost.

Yet as the body count rises Lizzie realises that, just like her, everyone has a secret they will do almost anything to keep buried…

What did I think?:

First of all, thank you so much to Ellie Pilcher at Canelo Publishers for getting in touch via email and offering a spot on the blog tour and a digital copy of Death And The Harlot in exchange for an honest review. I was instantly compelled by the intriguing synopsis and pleased to discover a heady mixture of crime, mystery and historical fiction, set in one of my favourite time periods, 18th century London. Furthermore, it was wonderful to read about such a fascinating female protagonist, Lizzie Hardwicke whose personal back story becomes all the more intriguing as the story continues and certainly piqued my interest for reading further novels about her, if this becomes a series.

Georgina Clarke, author of Death And The Harlot. 

Georgina Clarke has provided a story steeped in curiosity, from the previously mentioned female lead who works as a prostitute in one of the higher end brothels, to the engrossing mystery that surrounds one of her customers’ rather sudden and suspicious death. Lizzie becomes embroiled in the case, having been one of the last people to speak to the unfortunate man and before long, heads into a whirlwind plot of blackmail, secrets and danger. In 18th century London, it is difficult enough to be a woman, especially if you have a character as determined and independent as Lizzie Hardwicke, but she sets her mind firmly on unravelling the mystery and unmasking the villain, no matter what the personal cost may be to herself.

A Harlot’s Progress (1732) by William Hogarth depicting 18th century London. 

Image from: https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/static/London-life18th.jsp

The author does a wonderful job of bringing all the squalor and atmosphere from London in this period of history to life in glorious detail. I’ve mentioned in previous reviews that I appreciate when an author can capture a setting so vividly and imaginatively. As a result, I certainly felt as if I walked the same paths as Lizzie, seeing everything she saw and feeling everything she felt. As a character, I loved her stubborn doggedness in pursuit of justice, the way in which she never gave up despite how hopeless the situation may have seemed and the size of her heart when she was faced with other characters within the story that needed her help or advice. I did feel occasionally that it would have been nice to have the same level of development with other individuals in the novel – for example, Sallie and the lead male protagonist William Davenport, but perhaps this is all in the works for future books in the series?

I think if you’re a fan of historical fiction, crime and beautifully detailed settings, you’ll definitely enjoy this book and I have to admit, I am curious to find out where Lizzie’s life may take her next. I’m even crossing my fingers for a change in her circumstances in the future – a clear sign that her character got under my skin.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Georgina Clarke has a degree in theology and a PhD in history but has only recently started to combine her love of the past with a desire to write stories. Her Lizzie Hardwicke series is set in the mid-eighteenth century, an underrated and often neglected period, but one that is rich in possibility for a crime novelist.

She enjoys running along the banks of the River Severn and is sometimes to be found competing in half marathons. In quieter moments, she also enjoys dressmaking.

She lives in Worcester with her husband and son, and two extremely lively kittens.

Find Georgina on Goodreads at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18869213.Georgina_Clarke

or on Twitter at: @clarkegeorgina1

Thank you so much once again to Ellie Pilcher and Canelo Publishers for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, I’ve had a wonderful time doing it. Death And The Harlot was published on 13th May 2019 and will be available a digital e-book. If you fancy more information don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops on this blog tour for some amazing reviews!

Link to Death And The Harlot on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43923902-death-and-the-harlot

Link to Death And The Harlot on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Harlot-Lizzie-Hardwicke-Novel-ebook/dp/B07NBJKVZM/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=death+and+the+harlot&qid=1557861057&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Bitter Orange – Claire Fuller

Published May 8, 2019 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

‘A compulsive page-turner. Fuller creates an atmosphere of simmering menace with all the assurance of a latter-day Daphne du Maurier’ The Times

Frances Jellico is dying. A man who calls himself the vicar visits, hoping to extract a deathbed confession. He wants to know what really happened that fateful summer of 1969, when Frances – tasked with surveying a dilapidated country house – first set eyes on the glamorous bohemian couple, Cara and Peter. She recalls the relationship they forged through sweltering days, lavish dinners and elaborate lies, and the Judas hole through which she would spy on the couple.

Were the signs there right from the beginning?

Or was it impossible to avoid the crime that split their lives open like rotten fruit?

What did I think?:

I first came across Claire Fuller’s remarkable writing in Our Endless Numbered Days which remains one of my favourite books of all time and a signed copy sits with pride of place on my favourites shelf. After being quite frankly astounded by her debut novel, it was a very easy decision to read her second novel, Swimming Lessons which I also thoroughly enjoyed and hence to make sure I got my hands on the beautiful hardback copy of her third offering, Bitter Orange. Shamefully, it has been sat on my shelves for months now as I just haven’t been able to get my act together and prioritise it before now. Thank you so much to Jane Gentle from Penguin UK for letting me know that the paperback had been recently released and I thought it was a perfect opportunity to finally settle down with my copy and disappear into the author’s delicious writing style once more.

If I had to describe this novel in three words I’d probably choose the phrases sumptuous, evocative and captivating which I have now realised appears to be a pattern whenever I lose myself in a Claire Fuller story. She has a beautiful way of capturing characters, atmosphere and settings which pull the reader in immediately and makes them feel instantly part of the world that they are reading about. In Bitter Orange, we follow three characters staying in the same country house for research purposes. They are Peter and Cara, who are romantically involved with each other and Frances who arrives on her own after the death of her mother to survey some historical aspects of the building.

When the novel first opens, we encounter Frances close to death and the local vicar is trying to unlock the secrets of what really happened back in 1969 between the three main protagonists. We are immediately thrust into a world of secrets, mistrust, unreliable characters and a compelling mystery as the reader slowly begins to unravel not only what happened to Cara, Peter and Frances in the end, but what particular events unfolded to lead them there in the first place.

Bitter Orange is a incredibly rich and compelling narrative, gloriously packed with quiet moments with our characters, slow teasers and tasters of the personality of each one of our protagonists and the constant intrigue throughout that makes you want to keep turning the pages. Cara, Peter and Frances are all unique and fascinating in their own right and I adored the fact that they all oozed imperfection. At no point did I find any one of these individuals reliable but oh my goodness, that just made for an even more bewitching reading experience! It’s the sort of book I can’t tell you anymore about for fear of spoilers but it’s also the sort of book that once you finish it, you immediately want to go back to the beginning and read it again, fresh with the knowledge you possess by the end.

Everything is gorgeous in Bitter Orange, from the intricate characterisation to the way the orange was used to represent particular parts of the relationships and the way the setting felt so alive and vibrant that you could almost imagine yourself there. Through Claire Fuller, I walked through a building where parts of it were dilapidated and crumbling and other parts were filled with magnificence, I spied with Frances on Peter and Cara in the bathroom, I listened (or read!) with rapt attention when Cara told us some of her tragic back story and I wondered at Peter’s intentions. It’s very easy to become enraptured with a story like this if you allow yourself to sink in and enjoy it and I’ll certainly be remaining an avid fan of Claire Fuller’s work.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0