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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

The Juggle by Ellie Barker #Review #TheCherryBlossomPark Series Book 2

Today I am delighted to feature Ellie Barker's second book in her Cherry Blossom Park Series, The Juggle. 

Married couple Molly and Dan are forced to swap lives. But will it bring them closer together or drive them even further apart?

It was only a blip. Just a little mistake. But in the world of television, Dan Whitehead’s little slip could cost him his career.

His only chance is to swap roles with his wife, Molly, who also works part-time, behind the scenes at the show. It’s just for a couple of months. Easy. What’s so hard about looking after their twins and taking a step away from the limelight for a bit? Only, it’s not quite as simple as Dan may think.  With more time, his past begins to haunt him. Then, when a friendly school-mum offers him the comfort he needs, is she everything she seems?

Meanwhile, Molly is more than happy in her sweatshirt and leggings. Why would she want to go back on-screen when she doesn’t even like leaving the house? But she needs to save her husband’s job. After all, it is her fault.  Then, when she’s offered an exclusive interview on the other side of the world, her life in Cherry Blossom Park is under threat. Why is she the only person to ever be offered this interview?  Dan must never know the truth.  

The Juggle is more than just a story about parents keeping everything in the air. It’s about secrets from the past and hopes for the future.

It asks the question – is a marriage every big enough for two dreams to come true? 

 My Thoughts

This is a thoroughly enjoyable read which kept me hooked to the end. You follow the story of Molly and her husband, Dan, through alternating chapters as you are given their two viewpoints. On the way, you get to find out quite a lot about their past and come to understand the some of the tensions which seem to be pulling them apart. There are some interesting questions posed about marriage and relationships and how equal partners can ever truly be.

    I particularly enjoyed the Help with Helen episodes which are peppered through the story.  There are some amazing coincidences which you have to take at face value and a whole host of interesting and sometimes eccentric characters who give the story such colour. Both Molly and Dan show us their vulnerable side and all their insecurities spill out. I found it much easier to like Molly than Dan. For much of the book, Dan seems quite vain and selfish to me. It is only as the story develops that you realise that he is covering up a huge secret and is feeling pretty desperate as to how things can be put right.

In short: Secrets from the past and choices to be made


About the Author

 Ellie Barker is a television reporter and presenter. The Juggle is her second book. You can find out more about Ellie at

You can follow Ellie here: Instagram  |  Twitter 

Book links:  Amazon UK  |  Amazon US

Thanks to Ellie Barker, Flowerpot Publications Ltd and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.

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