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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 fiancĂ©e 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

Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton ** Blog Tour Review**

I am pleased to be featuring Claire Fullerton's Mourning Dove. A historical novel set in 1970's Memphis, it portrays the nuances of life there at the time. Claire has agreed to answer some of my questions but before we get to her answers, here's a little about the book:

The heart has a home when it has an ally. 

If Millie Crossan doesn't know anything else, she knows this one truth simply because her brother Finley grew up beside her. Charismatic Finley, eighteen months her senior, becomes Millie's guide when their mother Posey leaves their father and moves her children from Minnesota to Memphis shortly after Millie's tenth birthday.

Memphis is a world foreign to Millie and Finley. This is the 1970s Memphis, the genteel world of their mother's upbringing and vastly different from anything they've ever known. Here they are the outsiders. Here, they only have each other. And here, as the years fold over themselves, they mature in a manicured Southern culture where they learn firsthand that much of what glitters isn't gold. Nuance, tradition, and Southern eccentrics flavor Millie and Finley's world as they find their way to belonging. But what hidden variables take their shared history to leave both brother and sister at such disparate ends?

Welcome to Books, Life and Everything. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing. 

Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself and how you started as a writer? I grew up In the Delta, in Memphis, Tennessee. I now live in Malibu, California with my husband, two German shepherds, and one black cat. My career has been in one facet of the communicative arts or another. I have a background in ballet, enjoyed a nine-year career on-air in radio, and worked in the Los Angeles music business where I took bands to record companies. All along, I have been a writer. I have 3 published novels and a fourth in the hands of my literary agent.

Without spoiling the plot, please could you tell us a bit about The Mourning Dove ?

Mourning Dove is a coming of age, Southern family saga set in 1970’s Memphis. Millie Crossan tells the story of growing up alongside her brother, Finley, who is charismatic and musically gifted. The siblings were uprooted from their home in Minnesota and moved to the Deep South, so they are outsiders in a nuanced Southern culture. Their mother, Posey is a socialite from Memphis, so the siblings have to learn to navigate their new surroundings. Mourning Dove is a story of siblings who share a history yet come to disparate ends. 

Mourning Dove is set in the 1970’s and 1980’s in Memphis. How do you go about researching detail and ensuring your books are realistic?

Because I grew up in Memphis, I retained impressions and images that are telling of the culture. The people, I found, were dynamic and fabulous, so I wanted to portray what, to me, was the old South, in that much of it is now changed. I took notes when I began Mourning Dove of scenes and particular turns of phrases I wanted to work into the story as the arch grew. Because I knew the point I wanted to make in the story, all aims were toward realistically setting the environment. 

What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?

When I am writing a novel, I am committed, and don’t want to lose the thread. I go to my office first thing in the morning and pretty much write all day, every day until the first draft is finished. Then I review the manuscript repeatedly, looking at continuity, dialogue, and setting. When I am satisfied I’ve done my best, I send it to my editor. 

If you hadn’t become a writer, what would you have done as a creative outlet?

Something in the arts. I loved being in radio, but I didn’t pursue it when I moved from Memphis to California, as I speak with a Delta accent! I still teach ballet barre and Pilates mat. Because I love dogs, sometimes I think, “Maybe I should drop everything and become a dog trainer!” 

Do you base any of your characters on people you know?

Yes, but I veil it when I do. I am fascinated by people and like to capture their idiosyncrasies, celebrate their uniqueness, if you will. Some characters in Mourning Dove are composites intended to portray Southern culture and the wonderful characters that comprise the South.

Finally, do you have three words which sum up The Mourning Dove? 

Nostalgic, introspective, confessional.

Thanks so much for dropping by today, Claire, and good luck with your writing!

My Thoughts

I found the style of writing to be calm and unhurried and it had the flavour of a memoir to me. Written in the first person, through the eyes of Millie Crossan, you see how disregarded young people must have felt at that time. The subtleties of life in Memphis at that time, in their mother's world, are conveyed throughout, as Millie and her brother look on from the periphery. 

  Family dynamics  are examined and pulled apart and the relationship between the siblings is fascinating. At times, it feels claustrophobic and although I thought the relationship between the siblings was centre stage, it is actually that between Millie and her mother which rivetted me the most.  Similarly, they never fall out of love with their father despite his faults.

In short: A lyrical tale of family dynamics.  
About the Author

Claire Fullerton grew up in Memphis, TN and now lives in Dancing to an Irish Reel," set in Connemara, Ireland, where she once lived. Dancing to an Irish Reel is a finalist in the 2016 Kindle Book Review Awards, and a 2016 Readers' Favorite. Claire is the author of "A Portal in Time," a paranormal mystery that unfolds in two time periods, set on California's hauntingly beautiful Monterey Peninsula, in a village called Carmel-by-the-Sea. Both of Claire's novels are published by Vinspire Publishing. Her third novel, Mourning Dove, is a Southern family saga, published in June, 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction. She is one of four contributors to the book, Southern Seasons, with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, to be published in November 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction. Claire is represented by Julie Gwinn, of The Seymour Literary Agency, and can be found on WordPress, Twitter (cfullerton3) Goodreads, Instagram ( cffullerton) as well as the website under her name.
Malibu, CA. She is the author of contemporary fiction, "

You can follow Claire here: Website   |  Facebook   |  Twitter 
                                           |  Instagram   |  Pinterest 

Book links: Amazon US   |  Amazon UK

Thanks to Claire Fullerton and Emma Green of for a copy of the book and a place on the tour. 

                  Find out more by checking out the rest of the tour!


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