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Sunny Sundays at Primrose Hall by Jill Steeples #Review

  I am delighted to be on the tour to celebrate a return to Primrose Hall. Sunny Sundays at Primrose Hall by Jill Steeple was published by Boldwood Books on April 15th.   Primrose Hall is more than Jackson Moody and his fiancée Pia’s home – it’s the heart of the community. The Sunday craft fairs in the renovated stables are a popular draw for the locals and tourists alike, enticed by the beautiful surroundings of Primrose Woods as well as the irresistible goodies on display. But for Sophie Wright they’re a chance to forge a new life and a new business. After leaving behind a turbulent relationship, Sophie is starting again – and romance is the last thing on her mind. Drop dead gorgeous Tom Moody, Lord of the Manor Jackson’s newly-discovered older brother, is loving being a member of the Primrose Hall community. Content to muck in where he can be helpful, he’s just happy to be part of the family. But when tragedy strikes, Pia needs Tom more than he ever expected. And when Tom ne

Call of the Curlew by Elizabeth Brooks ** Blog Tour Review & Giveaway** #CalloftheCurlew

A rather special book is being featured on Books, Life & Everything today. Call of the Curlew by Elizabeth Brooks is described by the publishers, Doubleday, as 'an exploration of loss, guilt and how the unresolved past can haunt you for a lifetime...' 

They add it is perfect for readers who enjoyed The Silent Companions, The Loney and The Essex Serpent- quite a pedigree.

I also have a brilliant Giveaway for you- the chance to win a copy of the book! Details on how to enter are at the foot of this post. 


These words from the author might give you a hint about the feel of the book:

“The location, Tollbury Marsh, came to me first, the story second. The marsh is a place on the edge of normal life, which seems flat and accessible to the uninitiated, but is actually full of dangers. I wanted to capture the strong and pervasive sense of place that I felt when reading The Woman in Black and Great Expectations.”




Virginia Wrathmell has always known she will meet her death on the marsh.


It’s New Year’s Eve 2015 and eighty-six year old Virginia Wrathmell feels like the end is upon her. As she looks out on the dark and desolate marshes that surround the house she’s lived in since she was young, Virginia is overcome with the memories of one winter that have stayed with her since childhood.


It’s New Year’s Eve 1939 and Virginia is eleven, an orphan arriving to meet her new parents at their mysterious house, Salt Winds, on the edge of a vast marsh. War feels far away out here amongst the birds and shifting sands - until the day a German fighter plane crashes into the marsh. The people at Salt Winds are the only ones to see it. 


When her adopted father goes missing, and a mysterious stranger arrives in his place, Salt Winds becomes a very dangerous place to be. Virginia’s failure to protect the house’s secrets will leave her spending a lifetime dealing with the aftermath.


“The wind has dropped, but every now and then a gust will shiver in from the sea, carrying some fragment - a feather, a straw, a grain of sand, the scent of snow, the dainty bone of a bird - by way of an offering to the house.”
 
My Thoughts

This novel drips with the repressed atmosphere of the house and its surroundings. The story skips back and forth from the Second World War period to 2015 and has such a restricted number of characters that it feels almost claustrophobic as the story plays out. You can feel the homage to the novels of the Brontes as the remoteness of the setting envelops it. 

    The orphan child brought to the large isolated house where some are indifferent to her needs seems reminiscent of 19th century tales and all the time, you feel that there is something at work outside which you cannot understand. The book has something to say about the plight of women who are dependent on men for their home and about ruthless and arrogant people who think they can take what they want. 

    Virginia has never been able to shake off the events of her childhood and the loss of her adopted father Clem who showed her kindness cannot be healed. The house seems filled with secrets, its walls absorbing what has happened over the years. I enjoyed the use of symbolism which I recognised from the 19th century writing- the use of the mirror, the attic, the forbidding housekeeper who knows more than she lets on, the isolated house and I loved the atmospheric style of writing. The innocence of the child, Virginia, contrasts sharply with the evil, dark Deering and so much of the story shows her growing into maturity as she becomes aware of his exact motives.

In short: An arresting piece of historical fiction, packed full of atmospheric writing.
  
About the Author

 

Elizabeth Brooks grew up in Chester, and read Classics at Cambridge. She lives on the Isle of Man with her husband and children. Elizabeth describes herself as a “Brontë nerd”; Call of the Curlew is her homage to the immersive and evocative writing of Charlotte Brontë. 

You can follow Elizabeth here:  Twitter


Book link: Amazon UK

Thanks to Elizabeth Brooks, Doubleday and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for a copy of the book and a place on the tour. 

Don't forget these brilliant bloggers! 


Giveaway (UK only)



To win a copy of Call of the Curlew, just Follow and Retweet the pinned Tweet at @bookslifethings.  Closing Date is Friday 6th July 2018 and there is one winner.


*Terms and Conditions –UK only entries welcome.  The winner will be selected at random via Tweetdraw from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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