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Second Chance Summer by Phillipa Ashley #Review

  I an delighted to be part of the celebrations for Phillipa Ashley's Summer novel, Second Chance Summer which was published by Penguin on June 6th. From the moment Lily Harper arrives at a remote retreat on the breath-taking Scilly Isles, she is itching to get back to civilisation - and her thriving business. Slowing Down simply isn't in her vocabulary, and so she quickly clashes with the gorgeous but dour Sam who runs the retreat. Just as Lily is about to give up and leave, disaster strikes, and she is involved in an incident that changes her perspective on everything. Lily is no longer sure she wants to return to the life she thought she loved. But will she have the courage to give the retreat, and Sam, a second chance? Praise for the Author ‘Full of genuine warmth and quirky characters’   Woman’s Own ‘Filled with warm and likeable characters. Great fun!’ Jill Mansell ‘Utterly glorious … one of the freshest voices to emerge in women's fiction today’   Cl

Songbirds by Christy Lefteri #Review


Today we have a real treat. Songbirds is the new novel by author, Christy Lefteri, following her international bestseller,The Beekeeper of Aleppo.

She walks unseen through our world.

Cares for our children, cleans our homes.

Her voice unheard.

She has a story to tell.

Will you listen?

Nisha has crossed oceans to give her child a future. By day she cares for Petra's daughter; at night she mothers her own little girl by the light of a phone. Nisha's lover, Yiannis, is a poacher, hunting the tiny songbirds on their way to Africa each winter. His dreams of a new life, and of marrying Nisha, are shattered when she vanishes. No one cares about the disappearance of a domestic worker, except Petra and Yiannis. As they set out to search for her, they realise how little they know about Nisha. What they uncover will change them all.

With infinite tenderness and skill, Christy Lefteri has crafted a powerful, redemptive story of loss, of the triumph of the human spirit, and of the enduring love of a mother for her child.

‘Will break your heart and open your eyes’

Heather Morris, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz

'Christy Lefteri's painfully beautiful story about a voiceless immigrant, Nisha, whose selfless courage touches the lives of those around her, moved me from the first page to the last. This thought-provoking novel of love loss and redemption is thoroughly sublime'

Caroline Montague

'I've never read anything quite like Songbirds - a beautifully crafted novel that sits at the intersection of race and class, that flags the frank truth of the life of migrant workers for whom a flight to freedom can become the most finely woven trap'

Jodi Picoult

My Thoughts

This is a poignant and thought-provoking novel which has a distinctive voice. Nisha's story is an emotional one. Living in Cyprus as a maid, she has had to leave her child and mother in Sri Lanka. By day, she mothers Petra's daughter. By night, she speaks to her own daughter on an iPad. As you unravel her story, you find out what has brought her away from home. At first glance, she has little in common with the distant mother, Petra who has never really taken the effort to get to know her. Differences in class and race weave around Nisha and she finds herself trapped within her new life. 

    The imagery of the songbirds is a powerful one, trapped as they become. In her preface, Christy writes about her inspiration for the story. It is a powerful look at migration and the reasons behind it. Choice does not always come into it. Influenced by a recent tragedy which took place in Cyprus, concerning migrant women workers, the attitude of the authorities to the migrant workers seems lacking. The inability of some to 'see' others as human beings is clearly referenced in the story. A quest for freedom might result in the opposite. This is an emotional read which involves the reader from the start.

In short: Is freedom an illusion?   

About the Author

Brought up in London, Christy Lefteri is the child of Cypriot refugees. She is a lecturer in creative writing at Brunel University. The Beekeeper of Aleppo was born out of her time working as a volunteer at a UNICEF supported refugee centre in Athens.

You can follow Christy here: Twitter

Book link: Amazon UK

Thanks to Christy Lefteri, Zaffre Books and Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.

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