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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

Another Life by Jodie Chapman #Review

I am delighted to feature this impressive debut novel by Jodie Chapman, Another Life. A Coming of Age story, it was published on April 1st by Michael Joseph

‘A modern day Atonement meets David Nicholls. Beautifully written – I couldn’t put it down’.  Emma Gannon

 She could be the girl dancing on tables one night, and the next she'd be hiding in the shadows.

Just when I thought I understood her, she would melt away and become a completely new person, and I'd have to start all over again.

That's how it was with Anna.


Nick and Anna work the same summer job at their local cinema. Anna is mysterious, beautiful, and from a very different world to Nick.

She's grown up preparing for the end of days, in a tightly-controlled existence where Christmas, getting drunk and sex before marriage are all off-limits.

So when Nick comes into her life, Anna falls passionately in love. Their shared world burns with poetry and music, cigarettes and conversation - hints of the people they hope to become.

But Anna, on the cusp of adulthood, is afraid to give up everything she's ever believed in, and everyone she's ever loved. She walks away, and Nick doesn't stop her.

Years later, a tragedy draws Anna back into Nick's life.

But rekindling their relationship leaves Anna and Nick facing a terrible choice between a love that's endured decades, and the promises they've made to others along the way.

My Thoughts

Jodie Chapman certainly has created a distinctive story which spans four decades and which centres on Nick Mendoza, his family and friends. It is a complicated tale which moves backwards and forwards through the years, filling in parts of the picture, detail by detail. Anna seems like an elusive character, torn as she is by her upbringing in a strict religious movement and her desire to mix outside it. There are some shocks along the way and as Nick's and Anna's feelings seem to fluctuate, other people's expectations seem to get in the way. 

    As you read the novel, you feel as though you are taking a deep dive into Nick and Anna's feelings and throughout you are not sure what will be the outcome. There are family secrets to be uncovered. Nick shies away from commitment but you also see others' points of view as they long for it. There is also a fine balance between settling for what life seems to have mapped out for you and taking a risk to reach one's potential. Grief and loss run through the story from Nick's childhood and at times, you feel that you are seeing a whole range of emotions from jealousy, longing to despair. Above all, this is thoughtful writing which requires the reader to fully engage with the poetic style. 

In short: an epic story of love and despair

About the Author

Born and raised in England, Jodie spent a decade as a photographer before returning to her first love of writing. She lives in Kent with her husband and three sons. Another Life is her first novel, coming April 2021.

You can follow Jodie here:  

Twitter  |  Instagram

Book links: Amazon UK 

Thanks to Jodie Chapman and Ella Watkins of Penguin Michael Joseph for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.

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