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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

A Little Birdie Told Me... by Sharley Scott #AuthorPost

 I am pleased to welcome author Sharley Scott to the blog today to talk about the 1980's when she set her latest novel, A Little Birdie told me... Before we hear from her, here's a little about the story:


It’s 1988. The era of young love, with Scott and Charlene melting hearts in Neighbours, and a new princess for the Royal Family. With Bros, Madonna and Wet Wet Wet in the charts, and children hoping for Ghostbusters’ toys in their stockings.

But it’s not all fun for Belinda. If her life was a board game, she’s losing at snakes and ladders. Once she’d been working her way up one of those ladders but, thanks to her snake-like polytechnic lecturer, she’s toppled from the rungs. Now she works in an old people’s home, where her chief duties involve cleaning toilets and emptying commodes.

At least her lovely colleague, Joe, offers excitement in her otherwise dreary life. But Belinda can’t believe he'd be interested in someone like her. Not when her pretty friend, Tracey, only has to glance at a man to have him fall for her.

But just when it seems things are looking up for Belinda, the residents’ precious possessions start to go missing. Then she witnesses a disturbing incident and doesn’t know what to do. Luckily, Belinda has Joe to guide her – until she discovers that he’s hiding a secret, one that forces her to make an agonising decision.

Will she continue to hide in the shadows, never speaking out – or will she put her future on the line to stand up for what is right? After all, she’s caring for a generation that's lived through two wars. Now it’s time to fight for them.

 Welcome to Books, Life and Everything, Sharley! It's over to you!



‘It’s 1988. The era of young love, with Scott and Charlene melting hearts in Neighbours, and a new princess for the Royal Family. With Bros, Madonna and Wet Wet Wet in the charts, and children hoping for Ghostbusters’ toys in their stockings.’

The blurb for A Little Birdie Told Me… places the reader in this wonderful year. The Ghostbusters’ reference confused a few people, as the film came out in 1984, but the new cartoon series in 1988 made the toys a roaring success. As a friend said, “Every child wanted the fire station headquarters play set.”

I’d never understood my friend’s desire to reminisce about the ‘best years of their lives’, as I was glad to get my teenage years over and done with. But many people hark back to their youths. After all, people of my generation are told by their parents that the sixties were the time to live – and it was the best era for music too. But, it seems to me, all post-war teenagers believe ‘their’ decade was the best. 

When I started delving back into the eighties, I was surprised to remember what a wonderful period it was for films, music and TV. Okay, there are always going to be bits that don’t age well, but Only Fools and Horses is still topping the comedy charts and the top films of 1988 included Rain Man, A Fish Called Wanda and Twins. Not all of them are incredible – some have cringeworthy parts – but they are watchable, and they’re still being shown (but that may be to do with TV penny pinching).

Some things I’d forgotten. Some things never change, such as the tabloids inflaming readers, as with the case of the Crying Boy paintings where, in the mid eighties, The Sun had encouraged their readers to burn the supposedly cursed prints.

I’m glad I was a teenager long before the internet and social media. Coming from a poorer family, it would have been harder to fit in without all the gadgets. But when I watch the old shows and cringe at the portrayal of different groups, I’m thankful that society has moved on to become a little more accepting. Section 48, which prohibited promoting sexuality by teaching or publishing material, was a big issue in 1988. It’s mentioned in A Little Birdie Told Me… but the characters didn’t dwell on it too long as they had other problems to tackle.

Sadly, the issues facing some of the residents in the care home in A Little Birdie Told Me… are still being highlighted today. They’re not the norm now, and they weren’t then. But each terrible case proves that we still have a way to go to make life better for vulnerable members of society. 

It’s hard to believe that the eighties are now history. Margaret Thatcher, the first Prime Minister for the whole of the eighties was also the first female PM. The Berlin Wall fell late in its final year. One day my children will look back at the early 2000s and announce that it was the best decade ever. But I can’t believe that. 

Well thanks for dropping by, Sharley! I well remember the 1980's with Mrs Thatcher and that stunning day I heard that the Berlin Wall had been taken down. It seems like a whole other age. 

About the Author


Sharley Scott is the author of the Devon Seaside Guesthouse novels – Bedlam & Breakfast and B&Bers Behaving Madly – and the Maddie Meadows series.

Sharley is a guesthouse owner in South Devon. She is thankful to have been blessed with lots of amazing and kind-hearted guests, who are nothing like some of the fictional characters featured in the Devon Seaside Guesthouse series.

The Two Lives of Maddie Meadows – and its sequel The Gift of a Rose – portray the life of a working single mum. Some of the mischief Maddie's little one, Josh, gets up to will be familiar to all parents. In real life, Sharley has carried out the threats she made to her son decades ago and now gets her own back him by telling tales to his girlfriend (some of the incidents in the books are inspired by him), although he returns the favour by recounting utterly embarrassing stories about his mum.

Sharley's latest novel ‘A Little Birdie Told Me…’ is being published in February 2021. This book goes back in time to the late eighties: a time of fun music, interesting fashion, strange hairstyles and no internet or mobile phones. Fancy having to talk to each other! (Says the author who frequents Facebook too often).

W ith that in mind, Sharley can be found on Facebook at:

Or follow Sharley on Twitter: @SharleyScott

 You can read my review of  Bedlam and Breakfast here. and The Two Lives of Maddie Meadows here


Book link: Amazon UK  |  Amazon US

Thanks to Sharley and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for the guest post and a place on the tour.

Check out the rest of the tour!




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