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A Christmas Miracle in the Little Irish Village by Michelle Vernal #Review

  Michelle Vernal's A Christmas Miracle in the Little Irish Village was published on September 27th by Bookoutre . Ava Kelly loves returning to Emerald Bay for Christmas. Snowflakes fall on the green rolling hills and mulled wine fills The Shamrock Inn with the smell of winter spice. But this year, the Kelly family is hoping for a miracle… When twenty-four-year-old Ava Kelly and her adventurous twin Grace return home to The Shamrock Inn, their Ma’s favourite baubles bring back so many memories of Christmases past. They have always done everything together, even leaving their little Irish village for the excitement of London. But with the locket her handsome ex Shane gave her hanging just above her heart, Ava has just one wish this festive season… After a year stuck in a job she can’t stand and going on dreadful dates, Ava longs to be back with Shane. Curling up in front of the fire with him, the brooding fisherman everyone else sees melts away as his blue eyes meet hers.

My Mourning Year by Andrew Marshall

Andrew Marshall's My Mourning Year is published on April 20th and it is my pleasure to be taking part in the Blog Tour to celebrate its publication. The book started life in diary form, never meant for publication as Andrew tried to come to terms with the loss of his partner, Thom, to illness. As he lived through the year following Thom's death, he found solace in surprising places. He experienced rebound relationships. He struggled to communicate with his family. Through his life as a journalist, Andrew met a huge variety of people- psychics, spiritual gurus, survivors and famous people with whom he discussed life and death. Twenty years after Thom's death, he has decided to publish his diary to help others who are bereaved. For more detail on My Mourning Year, you can visit Andrew's website, here.

My Thoughts 

Although gently written, this is a book with a capacity to direct its reader inside their own memories and to question events in their own past. It certainly had that effect on me. It feels like a brutally honest account at times, although there is humour to be found in even the grimmest circumstances. You can't help but admire Andrew for his tenacity as he tries to work through his anguish at losing Thom. 

    I found Andrew's relationship with his immediate family to be most interesting. Distant and buttoned up by nature, his parents have to find a way to express their feelings to Andrew and this is not an easy path.  His relationship with his sibling seems equally difficult. This is a book as much about communicating with someone who has been bereaved as it is an account by the bereaved himself. 

    Don't imagine that this is a sombre, depressing read. It isn't. It is touching at times but also full of humour. Andrew looks after a boisterously behaved, but affectionate dog, Tyson and finds a degree of companionship in that. The glossary of characters who have appeared in the book is long and varied yet the author is able to include them throughout. Andrew finds his interviewees to be more insightful at times than his counsellors. There is a degree of authenticity in this.

In short: a poignant but also uplifting look at dealing with grief and bereavement.  

About the Author 

Andrew was born in Northampton and went to Bedford School and Warwick University. His original career was in radio where he was a journalist at BRMB Radio in Birmingham. He has presented daily programmes on Essex Radio and Radio Mercury (where he was also Programme Controller). He was Deputy Programme Controller of Talk Radio UK. His plays have been performed at the West Yorkshire Playhouse (Coming Around Again) and have toured all over the UK (Caruso and the Quake, Caruso and the Monkey House Trial, Madam Butterfly Returns).  In 1985, he was selected and trained by Relate as a couple counsellor but is now in private practice.
    Under the name of Andrew G. Marshall, he has written eighteen self-help books about relationships, including the international best-sellers I Love You but I’m Not in Love with You and How Can I Ever Trust You Again? His books have been translated into over twenty languages. He still writes for a variety of newspapers including The Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, The Telegraph and The Guardian.
You can follow him on Twitter, on Facebook or subscribe to his newsletter at

Thanks to Red Door Publishing for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour.

Look up the rest of the Blog Tour 


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