Monday, 16 October 2017

Review of The Murderess by Jennifer Wells



PUBLISHER’S BLURB

The Murderess is a heart-stopping story of family, love, passion and betrayal set against the backdrop of war-ravaged Britain. Perfect for fans of Lesley Pearse and Dilly Court.
1931: Fifteen year old Kate witnesses her mother Millicent push a stranger from a station platform into the path of an oncoming train. There was no warning, seemingly no reason, and absolutely no remorse.

1940: Exactly nine years later, Kate returns to the station and notices a tramp laying flowers on the exact spot that the murder was committed; the identity of the victim, still remains unknown.

With a country torn apart by war and her family estate and name in tatters, Kate has nothing to lose as she attempts to uncover family secrets that date back to the Great War and solve a mystery that blights her family name.

REVIEW 

I enjoyed Ms Wells ‘The Liar’ and this book was just as well written, also intriguing in that at first, I couldn’t tell where the story was going.. The author left me guessing as to which character I was supposed to feel empathy with. The betrayed Millicent whose only wish was to bear her husband’s child, Kate, who had been lied to for so long that when the secrets started to unravel, as they always do, was left to make sense of it all.

Or was Rosalie the one who deserved pity, the one who betrayed and was eventually betrayed? Halfway through the story I had a sense of inevitability which even though it played out, did not detract from the impact of the story.


Ms Wells certainly has a knack for portraying women whose obsession for motherhood changes their personalities and in some cases is used as justification for the things they do.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Flora No 4 Coming Soon


No 4 in the Scheduled for release on 1st November
from Aria Fiction

The Flora Maguire Mystery Series 

Flora Maguire was raised by , Riordan Maguire, the head butler on the country estate of Earl Trent on the edge of the Cotswold countryside where she shared an attic apartment with her father at night and the schoolroom with the daughters of the house during the day. 

Questions have always surrounded her mother’s death, whom Flora lost at the age of six. Vague memories return in disturbing dreams which have always haunted her, but Lily Maguire’s fate remains a mystery.

At eighteen, Flora became governess to the youngest child, Edward, where her status as neither family nor servant in the household taught her to be both discreet and observant in a Victorian atmosphere of secrets and half-truths.

Flora’s story begins in New York after a family wedding when she is charged with escorting Edward home to England on a transatlantic steamship. When a body is discovered on deck, Flora has questions for both the ship’s doctor and crew appear unwilling, or unable to answer.  
Enlisting the help of a charming young man on board called Bunny Harrington, Flora’s instincts are proved correct when a killer is revealed. 

Book 2 contains the revelation of family secrets during a personal tragedy which change Flora’s perception of herself forever, while in Book 3, her marriage to Bunny gives her more freedom to seek out murderers. 
In the 4th Book in the series, Flora and Bunny’s pursuit of wrongdoers take them into the darker sides of life, where a chance encounter during a case of child trafficking sends Flora on a personal quest to discover what really happened to her mother.


US Version

Kindle   -    Kobo   -   Google Play   -   I Books   


Monday, 19 June 2017

Cover Reveal

Aria Fiction have designed a beautiful new cover for the fourth book in the 
Flora Maguire Mysteries.


This new adventure takes Flora into the south of the city of London, where she and Bunny are invited to a charity hospital for children as prospective patrons. During their visit, a nurse is found dead in the grounds, raising questions as to whether she was killed accidentally in a botched robbery, or was she murdered? It s not long before Flora discovers that several children have mysteriously disappeared after leaving the hospital, though no one appears overly concerned as they have not been reported missing.

Flora and Bunny set out to discover the whereabouts of the children, but time is of the essence. If the trail goes cold, Flora feels they might never be seen again.

Scheduled for release in November 2017 from Aria Fiction

Saturday, 13 May 2017

The Flora Maguire Mysteries Locations

I am often asked if I use actual locations for my Flora Maguire Mysteries, and the answer is - definitely.  As an historical fiction writer I always try to place my stories in places which exist and try to create the nostalgia for a past time.


FLORA'S SECRET

Stateroom on the SS Minneapolis

The first story was set on an actual steamship called the SS Minneapolis which left New York on a sort of test run with under a hundred passengers before the actual maiden voyage which left from London a few weeks later. The ship was a min-Titanic, but according to the promotional material of the times was just as luxurious, with a glass roofed dining room, electric lighting, and one of the first ships to carry wireless telegraphy.
BETRAYAL AT CLEEVE ABBEY

Pittville Gates, Then and Now

Although the family Flora worked for lived in a real place, I invented the actual house they lived in. However the setting of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in the summer of 1902 when the town was celebrating the coronation of King Edward VII, was as authentic as I could make it. Flora travels by tram past the gates to the park which then charged a penny entry. She also seeks advice from a building that is now a wine bar, but was once a pharmacy.

A KNIGHTSBRIDGE SCANDAL

The Grenadier Public House, Old Barrack Yard, Knightsbridge

In No 3, Flora investigates a murder where the body of a young woman is discovered outside a public house. I went exploring and found the perfect location at the end of an alley called Old Barrack Yard off Knightsbridge. The Grenadier,  built in 1720 was known as the Duke of Wellington's Officers Mess and was frequented by King George IV.  It also houses a famous ghost called 'Cedric' which I couldn't resist including ion the story. [Click on the picture for their website]

THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN
[Scheduled for Release November 2017]

The locations below are included in the upcoming mystery story scheduled for release in November - but I leave these as a taster of what is to come.

The Evelina Children's Hospital


The Tower Subway

Thursday, 27 April 2017

REVIEW-The Second Chance Teashop by Fay Keenan

Fellow Aria author, Fay Keenan has brought out her debut novel, perfect to pack in your suitcase for your summer holiday


Publisher's Blurb

Following the tragic death of her beloved husband, Anna Hemingway decides it's time for a fresh start. So Anna and her three-year-old daughter Ellie move to a picture-perfect cottage in the beautiful village of Little Somerby, and when she takes over the running of the village tea shop, Ellie and Anna start to find happiness again.

But things get complicated when Matthew Carter, the owner of the local cider farm, enters their lives. Throughout a whirlwind year of village fetes and ancient wassails, love, laughter, apple pie and new memories, life slowly blossoms again. But when tragedy strikes and history seems to be repeating itself, Anna must find the strength to hold onto the new life she has built.

This beautiful, life-affirming debut novel marks the beginning of the Little Somerby series, and promises to make you smile, cry, reach for a cream tea, and long for a life in the perfect English countryside.

Review

An easy to read story where the main character, Anna, is getting over a sad loss but appears to have got her life sorted out and onto a new path to success – she has even met a handsome new man. I thought I knew where the story was going, however as it progressed there was a great deal more to the storyline which made it unputdownable.

This is the perfect light-hearted romance designed for a sunny day on a lounger with a cool drink, or   read curled up in front of the fire with a hot chocolate. A surprisingly well crafted debut novel, which tells me there will be more to look forward to from this author. The prose flows beautifully and the portrait of the village of Little Somerby, its characters and the celebration of blessing the apple trees is brilliantly authentic.

Anna and Matthew have a shaky start to their relationship, but instead of the misunderstanding/split scenario, what follows is a charming love story which takes a few bends and bumps but is always interesting and turns which keep you engaged throughout. I was delighted to see a sequel is in the mix and look forward to re-visiting this setting, in the hope of reading more about Anna, Matthew, Meredith and Ellie.


Fay's Website
Twitter @faykeenan

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Sticks, Stones and Bad Reviews

Negative reviews carry a sting which lingers whether an author likes to admit it or not.  A few sharp comments rushed off online can nullify months, even years of work as savaging an author takes little skill and a lot of venom - and to what purpose? To deliberately injure a writer they have never met simply because they can?

We have all read books we have hated - a character we didn't take to, a storyline we thought unbelievable and over simplified, or a plot which didn't work. However most of us choose not to air our views public at the expense of an author.

Trashing a book with scathing personal criticism or hyperbole against an author says more about the reviewer than the reviewed. It's also instinctive for a writer to respond to a bad review with an answering tirade but it’s best to remember that reviews are a single person's opinion and nothing more. Most of us have read an author’s response which have turned into online back and forth rant between attacker and attacked, and neither of them come out of it particularly well. 

We all read different things into books. They either touch us or they don't and what is one persons 'OMG best book ever' is another's 'This is rubbish'. And are they all bad? A negative review amongst a page of five star ones has piqued my curiosity on occasion and made me buy the book.  Authors cannot control a reader's expectation of a novel, so liking or disliking a book is often a question of personal taste.  

I don't claim to be a literary giant writing award winning books that carve a niche in society and touch souls. I write light-hearted stories with a beginning, middle and an end where the good triumph and the bad get their just desserts - mostly. I do know that anyone who has ever written a book is unlikely to deliberately and cruelly trash anyone else's work - we know too well what goes into producing one.

Therefore I take the stance that if readers don't like my books - don't read them. I can live with that. 

Here are some interesting links to some famous books which attracted unfavourable reviews. One from The Saturday Review which says of Harper Lee's 'To Kill A Mockingbird'

'Miss Lee's problem has been to tell the story she wants to tell and yet to stay within the consciousness of a child, and she hasn't consistently solved it.'

Even Classics Get Trashed

Shockingly Bad Reviews

Review of The Murderess by Jennifer Wells

PUBLISHER’S BLURB The Murderess is a heart-stopping story of family, love, passion and betrayal set against the backdrop of war-r...