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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

Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage by Samantha Tonge #Review

Samantha Tonge's Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage was released as an e-book on 15th April and will be published in paperback on 8th July. Take your pick!

 A new start can come from the most unexpected places...

It's been years since Lizzie Lockhart spoke to her parents. But she was safe in the knowledge she knew everything about them. Once upon a time, they were as close as could be. Until they weren't.

After receiving the earth-shattering news of their passing, Lizzie decides it's time to unearth some family secrets and find out just who her parents really were... starting with Streamside Cottage. A cottage Lizzie never knew existed, in a place she's never heard of: the beautiful English village of Leafton.

Leaving behind London, and the tattoo parlour she called home, Lizzie finds herself moving to the countryside. Faced with a tight-lipped community, who have secrets of their own, Lizzie is at a loss for what to do, until her rather handsome neighbour, Ben, steps in to help.

As Lizzie finally begins to piece together the puzzle of her family history she realises she has to confront the truth of the past in order to face her future.

My Thoughts

The central character of Lizzie Lockhart is a quirky, individual who certainly takes you with her through the story, as she unravels the mystery at the heart of Streamside Cottage. The outcome is a surprise but I enjoyed testing out a few theories along the way. Lizzie's childhood set her apart from many her own age and her parents' protective instincts seem to have gone into over-drive. Lizzie comes to understand some of their feelings. In fact. family is at the heart of the novel.

    The cottage itself seems to be a character in its own right but Lizzie feels a link to it from the start. As she begins to rescue it from its neglect, she realises that there is a profound mystery hidden within its walls. Lizzie is such a warm character, who has forged for herself her own path, apart from others' expectations. I certainly found out quite a lot about the art of tattooing from the novel, which is an intrinsic part of Lizzie's life. There are some entertaining characters who you meet along the way, especially the rather furtive villagers who brave the cottage in search of her talent. With a gentle romance and a hopeful, starting over plot, this is an entertaining read, as expected from this talented writer.

In short: Secrets from the past have surprising results.

About the Author

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK and studied German and French at university. She has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris, and has travelled widely.

She has sold many dozens of short stories to women's magazines.

In 2014 her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction Best Ebook Award.

In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category.

In 2019 she was shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Award.

In 2020 she won the RNA’s Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award with her novel Knowing You, from publisher Canelo.

You can follow Samantha here: Twitter   |  Facebook   |  Website
  |  Instagram

Book links: Amazon UK  |  Amazon US   |  Kobo  |  Google Play 

Thanks to Samantha Tonge, and Victoria Joss of Head of Zeus for a copy of the book and a place on the event.
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