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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

Finding Summer Happiness by Chris Penhall #Review


Today we are featuring Chris Penhall's Finding Summer Happiness which was published on 18th May by Ruby Fiction. 

You won’t find happiness without breaking a few eggs ...

Miriam Ryan was the MD of a successful events and catering company, but these days even the thought of chopping an onion sends her stress levels sky rocketing. A retreat to the Welsh village of her childhood holidays seems to offer the escape she’s craving – just peace, quiet, no people, a generous supply of ready meals ... did she mention no people?

Enter a cheery pub landlord, a lovesick letting agent, a grumpy astronomer with a fridge raiding habit – not to mention a surprise supper club that requires the chopping of many onions – and Miriam realises her escape has turned into exactly what she was trying to get away from, but could that be just the thing she needs to allow a little bit of summer happiness into her life?

 My Thoughts

 In this story, you get to follow Miriam as she tries to work through her emotional issues following the death of her mother but also issues around the sale of her business. Her mental health is a work in progress as she travels to Pembrokeshire, looking for a respite from other people and the demands of daily life. Cutting herself off from other people turns out to be harder said than done. 

    There are some quirky characters who come and go into Miriam's new life and who are a source of gentle humour. You realise that Miriam is basically wanting to not let people down, despite her wishes to not get involved. There are hints of her childhood and you wonder just what links her past has with this area. This is a gentle read which draws you in and you soon find that you are rooting for Miriam and sympathetic to her vulnerabilities and concerns.

In short: Can Miriam rediscover her zest for life?

About the Author

Chris Penhall won the 2019 Choc-Lit Search for a Star competition, sponsored by Your Cat Magazine, for her debut novel, The House That Alice Built. The sequel, New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun was published in August 2020. Her short story, Lily McKee's Seven Days of Christmas appears in Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction's Cosy Christmas Treats anthology.


Her new novel, Finding Summer Happiness, which is set in Pembrokeshire in South West Wales was published in May 2021.

Chris is an author and freelance radio producer for BBC Local Radio.

She also has her own podcast - The Talking to My Friends About Book Podcast in which she chats to her friends about books. Good title!

Born in Neath in South Wales, she has also lived in London and in Portugal, which is where The House That Alice Built is set. It was whilst living in Cascais near Lisbon that she began to dabble in writing fiction, but it was many years later that she was confident enough to start writing her first novel, and many years after that she finally finished it!

A lover of books, music and cats, she is also an enthusiastic salsa dancer, a keen cook, and loves to travel. She is never happier than when she is gazing at the sea.

You can read my review of The House that Alice built here.

You can follow Chris here:  Website  |  Twitter Facebook

Book links: Amazon UK  |  Amazon US  

Thanks to Chris Penhall, Ruby Fiction and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.

                                                   Catch up with the rest of the tour



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