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The Lost Queen by Carol McGrath #Review

  We travel back to the 12th Century for this gorgeous historical novel, The Lost Queen by Carol McGrath . It was published by Headline Accent on 18th July. 1191 and the Third Crusade is underway . .  It is 1191 and King Richard the Lionheart is on crusade to pitch battle against Saladin and liberate the city of Jerusalem and her lands. His mother, the formidable Eleanor of Aquitaine and his promised bride, Princess Berengaria of Navarre, make a perilous journey over the Alps in midwinter. They are to rendezvous with Richard in the Sicilian port of Messina. There are hazards along the way - vicious assassins, marauding pirates, violent storms and a shipwreck. Berengaria is as feisty as her foes and, surviving it all, she and Richard marry in Cyprus. England needs an heir. But first, Richard and his Queen must return home . . . The Lost Queen is a thrilling medieval story of high adventure, survival, friendship and the enduring love of a Queen for her King.   My Thoughts

Christmas at the Farmhouse by Rebecca Boxall #Review

 

I am delighted to be taking part in the celebrations for Rebecca Boxall's festive novel, Christmas at the Farmhouse. 

 
As the anticipation of Christmas builds in the Nielsen family’s cosy farmhouse, Jo, Magnus and their grown-up children begin to congregate for a hybrid Danish-Jersey festive season, each with a surprise of their own – though the surprise that arrives over Christmas is the most life-changing of all.

Fifty years earlier, in 1969, Susan Jones finds herself being pursued by Mr Jenners, her former English teacher, and at the age of seventeen is packed off to a Home for Unmarried Mothers in London by her uncompromising father. As Christmas approaches, all she can do is desperately hope to be rescued, but will anyone be able to reach her in time?


The two timelines of this festive story gradually weave together in a tale that examines whether love and hope can eventually triumph over even the deepest sadness.


Rebecca Boxall is the award-nominated author of five bestselling novels – Christmas at the Vicarage, Home for Winter, Christmas on the Coast, The Christmas Forest and Christmas by the Lighthouse.


 

My Thoughts

I always enjoy a dual narrative and as the two timelines in this novel come closer together, the focus on family becomes ever stronger. I must admit to being a little blindsided by the story and enjoyed the outcome very much. Life in 1969 seems a mile away from Jo's present day life and you cannot help but feel for Susan, whose innocent teens are so disrupted. The contrast between Susan's rather cold family and the slightly chaotic homelife which Jo has built is clear. Jo's children are all now grown up but bring their different situations home for Christmas- so different to the straightlaced life in Susan's home. 

    There are some emotional moments in the story and a good deal of suspense at one point but overall, the themes of love and hope prevail. I enjoyed the story very much with its ultimately comforting tone and I thought the pacing and interweaving of the two storylines were strong parts of the novel. All the characters stand out with their own personalities and all add something to the story.

In short: Family ties endure



About the Author


Rebecca Boxall was born in 1977 in East Sussex, where she grew up in a vicarage always filled with family, friends and parishioners. She now lives by the sea in Jersey with her husband, three children and Rodney the cat. She read English at the University of Warwick before training as a lawyer and also studied Creative Writing with The Writer’s Bureau. She is the bestselling author of Christmas at the Vicarage, Home for Winter, Christmas on the Coast, The Christmas Forest and Christmas by the Lighthouse and was nominated for the Romantic Novelist Association Awards in 2020.

You can follow Rebecca here: Website  |  Facebook 

Book links: Amazon UK  |  Amazon US 

Thanks to Rebecca Boxall, Wild Fox Press and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for a copy of the book and a place on the tour. 

  Check out the rest of the tour!
 
 

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