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Sunny Sundays at Primrose Hall by Jill Steeples #Review

  I am delighted to be on the tour to celebrate a return to Primrose Hall. Sunny Sundays at Primrose Hall by Jill Steeple was published by Boldwood Books on April 15th.   Primrose Hall is more than Jackson Moody and his fiancée Pia’s home – it’s the heart of the community. The Sunday craft fairs in the renovated stables are a popular draw for the locals and tourists alike, enticed by the beautiful surroundings of Primrose Woods as well as the irresistible goodies on display. But for Sophie Wright they’re a chance to forge a new life and a new business. After leaving behind a turbulent relationship, Sophie is starting again – and romance is the last thing on her mind. Drop dead gorgeous Tom Moody, Lord of the Manor Jackson’s newly-discovered older brother, is loving being a member of the Primrose Hall community. Content to muck in where he can be helpful, he’s just happy to be part of the family. But when tragedy strikes, Pia needs Tom more than he ever expected. And when Tom ne

Everything Happens for a Reason by Katie Allen #Review #Giveaway


Here is another great Orenda blog tour for Everything Happens for a Reason by Katie Allen. I will be running a giveaway to win a print copy of this debut novel June 17-19th so keep your eyes peeled! Details on how to enter are at the foot of this post. 

A beautiful, poignant and enchantingly funny debut, inspired by journalist Katie Allen’s own experience of stillbirth and grief

Mum-to-be Rachel did everything right, but it all went wrong. Her son, Luke, was stillborn and she finds herself on maternity leave without a baby, trying to make sense of her loss.When a misguided well-wisher tells her that ‘everything happens for a reason’, she becomes obsessed with finding that reason, driven by grief and convinced that she is somehow to blame. She remembers that on the day she discovered her pregnancy, she’d stopped a man from jumping in front of a train, and she’s now certain that saving his life cost her the life of her son.

Desperate to find him, she enlists an unlikely ally in Lola, an Underground worker, and Lola’s seven-year-old daughter, and eventually tracks him down, with completely unexpected results...

Both a heart-wrenching portrait of grief and a gloriously uplifting and disarmingly funny story of a young woman’s determination, Everything Happens for a Reason is a bittersweet, life-affirming and, quite simply, unforgettable read.

My Thoughts

This novel has a sensitive subject at its core and I have to admit that it has taken me two attempts to read it. The interesting thing to me was that when I started to re-read the story, it felt like a quite different book and one which carried me along. Nevertheless, you can't escape the sadness which Rachel always feels.

    Everyone experiences grief and loss in a personal way and certainly Rachel and her family are no exception. You can almost feel the silence between Rachel and her partner, E. Others you realise have their own preoccupations. E's family seem to want to pretend that their baby loss did not happen, that Rachel should put it aside and move on. Indeed, his sister's baby shower, which she insists Rachel must attend seems crashingly insensitive and self- obsessed. The format of telling Rachel's thoughts in emails to her son, Luke is effective and through the story, you see Rachel's quest to find a reason, to explain the loss and in some cases to blame herself in the process. 

    There are quite a cast of characters and it is through some of them that lighter moments come. When she meets Lola and her family, Rachel finds a small outlet for her mothering instinct and there are lovely, innocent moments with them, especially with the gerbils! Ben's story took me by surprise, although it was obvious that there had to be layers to be pulled back before we got to find out his story. Rachel views everything through the filter of her grief, so you have to decide how much of what she believes to be the case actually is.

    This is an emotional read, with moments of levity but a strong core of sadness. 

In short: An impressive debut. 

About the Author


Everything Happens for a Reason is Katie’s first novel. She used to be a journalist and columnist at the Guardian and Observer, and started her career as a Reuters correspondent  in  Berlin  and  London.  The  events  in  Everything  Happens  for  a  Reason  are  fiction,  but  the  premise  is  loosely  autobiographical.  Katie’s  son,  Finn, was stillborn in 2010, and her character’s experience of grief and being on maternity leave without a baby is based on her own. And yes, someone did say to her ‘Everything happens for a reason’.

Katie grew up in Warwickshire and now lives in South London with her husband, children,  dog,  cat  and  stick  insects.  When  she’s  not  writing  or  walking  children  and  dogs,  Katie  loves  baking,  playing  the  piano,  reading  news  and  wishing  she  had written other people’s brilliant novels.

You can follow Katie here: Twitter  |  Instagram 

Book link: Amazon UK

 Thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater of Orenda Books for a copy of the book and a place on the blog tour. 

                                           Check out the rest of the tour!

Giveaway (UK only) 

To win a print copy of Everything Happens for a Reason, just Follow and Retweet the pinned Tweet at @bookslifethings and good luck!

  The giveaway opens on June 17th and the closing date is June 19th 2021 and there is one winner.

*Terms and Conditions –UK only.  The winner will be selected at random via Tweetdraw from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


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