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The Fascination by Essie Fox #Review #Giveaway

   Today be prepared for a dark, Victorian gothic novel! The Fascination by Essie Fox is published on June 22nd by Orenda . For the chance to win a print copy of The Fascination see the foot of this post for details. Victorian England. A world of rural fairgrounds and glamorous London theatres. A world of dark secrets and deadly obsessions… Twin sisters Keziah and Tilly Lovell are identical in every way, except that Tilly hasn't grown a single inch since she was five. Coerced into promoting their father's quack elixir as they tour the country fairgrounds, at the age of fifteen the girls are sold to a mysterious Italian known as ‘Captain’. Theo is an orphan, raised by his grandfather, Lord Seabrook, a man who has a dark interest in anatomical freaks and other curiosities … particularly the human kind. Resenting his grandson for his mother’s death in childbirth, when Seabrook remarries and a new heir is produced, Theo is forced to leave home without a penny to his

The Madonna of Bolton by Matt Cain ** Blog Tour Review**

I am delighted to welcome The Madonna of Bolton to the blog today as part of the celebrations for Matt Cain's novel. Published by Unbound, it is their fastest - ever funded novel, with pledges from David
Walliams, S.J. Watson, and Mark Gatiss, as well as from countries where to be gay is currently still illegal. It has been published to coincide with Madonna's 60th birthday.

Charlie Matthews’ love story begins in a pebble-dashed house in suburban Bolton, at a time when most little boys want to grow up to be Michael Jackson, and girls want to be Princess Di. Remembering the Green Cross Code and getting out of football are the most important things in his life, until Auntie Jan gives him a gift that will last a lifetime: a seven-inch single called ‘Lucky Star’…

On his ninth birthday, Charlie discovers Madonna, and falls in love. His obsession sees him through some tough times in life: being persecuted at school, fitting in at a posh university, a glamorous career in London, finding boyfriends, getting rid of boyfriends, and family heartbreak. Madonna’s music and videos inspire him, and her fierce determination to succeed gives him the confidence to do the same – and, ultimately, to let go of his idol, and find his own voice.

                                                                                  My Thoughts

 This is a great, coming- of- age book which I thoroughly enjoyed. I found it to be touching and funny by turns and particularly appreciated the references to Bolton of the 1970's and 80's. You see Charlie's early life through his eyes and it is only later that you come to see that there are other reasons behind his family's responses to him, which as a child he did not understand. You go through events with him as he grows up and leaves Bolton for Cambridge University and later London. Family always has a pull on his heart.

    Exploring issues of identity and sexuality there are some lessons hidden in there about what is important in life and ultimately, I found it to be an uplifting read. Matt's writing style flows easily and there are numerous cameos which light up the pages. His University friends provide lots of humour, and the later episodes with Charlie's family strike me as a celebration of what it is to be human. Set against the backdrop of his love for Madonna's music, it captures the spirit of an age and I found it to be an exceptionally enjoyable read.

In short: One young man's coming to terms with his self.  

                                                                             About the Author

Matt Cain was born in Bury and brought up in Bolton. He spent ten years making arts and entertainment programmes for ITV before stepping in front of the camera in 2010 to become Channel 4 News’ first ever culture editor. His first novel, Shot Through the Heart, was published in 2014 and his second, Nothing But Trouble, followed in 2015. As a journalist he has contributed articles to all the major UK newspapers and is currently Editor-in-Chief of Attitude, the UK's biggest-selling magazine for gay men, and its sister publication, Winq. In 2017 he was voted Diversity in Media’s Journalist of the Year. He lives in London.

You can follow Matt here: Website   |   Twitter   |  Instagram

Book link: Amazon UK 

Thanks to Matt Cain and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for a copy of the book and a place on the tour. 

Check out the rest of the tour!



  1. Thanks so much for this wonderful Blog Tour support xx


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