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The Wartime Book Club by Kate Thompson #Review

  The Wartime Book Club is a marvellous historical novel set on Jersey in World War Two. Written by Kate Thompson , it was published by Hodder $ Stoughton on February 13th. Jersey, 1943. Once a warm and neighbourly community, now German soldiers patrol the cobbled streets, imposing a harsh rule on the people of the island. Grace La Mottée, the island's only librarian, is ordered to destroy books which threaten the new regime. Instead, she hides the stories away in secret. Along with her headstrong best friend, postwoman Bea Rose, she wants to fight back. So she forms the wartime book club: a lifeline, offering fearful islanders the joy and escapism of reading. But as the occupation drags on, the women's quiet acts of bravery become more perilous - and more important - than ever before. And, when tensions turn to violence, they are forced to face the true, terrible cost of resistance . . . Based on astonishing real events, The Wartime Book Club is a love letter

Saturdays at Noon by Rachel Marks #Review

I am delighted to be taking part in the celebrations for the release of Saturdays at Noon, the debut novel by Rachel Marks. It is a book with some important things to say about inclusion and difference. Here's what the publishers have to say about it...

Saturdays at Noon is the funny and uplifting story of three people who meet at an anger management class and inadvertently change each other’s lives for the better. Rachel Marks brings to life an unconventional love story of family life and flawed relationships through characters whom readers will both identify and empathise with. 

Saturdays at Noon is about love, parenting, coming to terms with the past and learning that it is okay to be different. Inspiration for Saturdays at Noon came from challenges Rachel faced with her eldest son: testing and fascinating in equal measure. It wasn’t until she discovered Pathological Demand Avoidance, a poorly understood Autism Spectrum Disorder, that she could finally make sense of her son’s behaviour, and the idea for her first novel fell into place.  

One circle of strangers

Two people who’d rather be anywhere else

Three lives about to change for ever

 Emily just wants to keep the world away.
After getting into trouble yet again, she's agreed to attend anger management classes. But she refuses to share her deepest secrets with a room full of strangers. 

Jake just wants to keep his family together. He'll do anything to save his marriage and bond with his six-year-old son, Alfie. But when he's paired with spiky Emily, he wonders whether opening up will do more harm than good.

The two of them couldn't be more different. Yet when Alfie, who never likes strangers, meets Emily, something extraordinary happens. 

Could one small boy change everything?

My Thoughts
You can tell that the story of Jake and Alfie is rooted from experience of living with children who have different needs to most children. I loved the positives which you can draw from Alfie and how Emily can recognise in him some beautiful characteristics. You are also shown the effects that Jake's behaviours can have on everyday life when they are not understood and how through understanding his individual needs, you can help him to function within the world more successfully.

    Emily and Jake meet at the anger management group and there are some amusing moments to be found there, despite everyone's eccentricities, black moods and hidden rages. Emily has some bleak issues from her childhood but despite what she has done, you cannot help liking her, partly through her response to Alfie. She is able to understand him at an instinctive level.

This is a thought provoking book with some important lessons on difference and acceptance, yet it remains eminently readable.

In short: A great debut.  
About the Author

Rachel Marks (@Rachel1Marks) studied English at Exeter University before becoming a primary school teacher. Despite always loving to write, it wasn't until she gained a place on the 2016 Curtis Brown Creative online novel writing course that she started to believe it could be anything more than a much-loved hobby.  Saturdays at Noon is her first novel.  

You can follow Rachel here: Twitter 

Book link: Amazon UK

Thanks to Rachel Marks and Michael Joseph Publishers for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.

Follow the rest of the tour!



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