Skip to main content

Featured

The Wartime Book Club by Kate Thompson #Review

  The Wartime Book Club is a marvellous historical novel set on Jersey in World War Two. Written by Kate Thompson , it was published by Hodder $ Stoughton on February 13th. Jersey, 1943. Once a warm and neighbourly community, now German soldiers patrol the cobbled streets, imposing a harsh rule on the people of the island. Grace La Mottée, the island's only librarian, is ordered to destroy books which threaten the new regime. Instead, she hides the stories away in secret. Along with her headstrong best friend, postwoman Bea Rose, she wants to fight back. So she forms the wartime book club: a lifeline, offering fearful islanders the joy and escapism of reading. But as the occupation drags on, the women's quiet acts of bravery become more perilous - and more important - than ever before. And, when tensions turn to violence, they are forced to face the true, terrible cost of resistance . . . Based on astonishing real events, The Wartime Book Club is a love letter

The Olive Grove by Eva Glyn #Review

 


The Olive Grove will be published by One More Chapter in ebook and audiobook on 3rd September and in paperback on 25th November.

 Buy links can be found here

An English woman searching for a different future

A man desperate to escape his war-ravaged past

Can these two find what they are looking for on the beautiful Croatian island of Korčula?

Antonia Butler is on the brink of a life-changing decision and a job advert looking for a multilingual housekeeper at a beautifully renovated Croatian farmhouse, Vila Maslina, is one she can’t ignore.

Arriving on the tiny picturesque island of Korčula, Antonia feels a spark of hope for the first time in a long time. This is a chance to leave the past behind.

But this island, and its inhabitants, have secrets of their own and a not-too-distant past steeped in tragedy and war. None more so than Vila Maslina’s enigmatic owner Damir Maric. A young man with nothing to lose but everything to gain…

A must read for fans of Rosie Thomas, Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley.

My Thoughts

Set in beautiful Croatia, this story seems at first sight to be an idyllic escape into a stunning part of the world. Antonia finds herself to be there, in part to work through her own problems and to give her daughter the space to grow up. However, it seems that the region's  past wars have not been forgotten and their effect on the population cannot be ignored. 

    Damir's story unfolds in a gentle fashion. His friendship with Antonia similarly develops and you see that they support each other through their own issues. The story is full of the beauty of the region but you realise that beneath the surface are some difficult scars. The story is told in a confident and intriguing way through the characters we meet. There are some emotional moments and always in the background are the ghosts of Damir's mother figures which contrast with Antonia's role. This is a great summer read and one which will take you away to a whole other country.

In short: The past is never far away


Background to The Olive Grove

Eva knows exactly the moment she decided to write this book. Inevitably, giving the setting, she was on holiday in Croatia, but not swanning around Korčula (where the book is set) thinking how wonderful it was, she was sitting in the dining room of a small cruise ship listening to the tour director, Darko Barisic, talk about the Balkan war.

It wasn’t the history lesson that moved her so much – it was Darko’s own story. At the time he had been a child in Mostar, a brutal Bosnian centre of conflict, and his tales of living in bomb shelters, food parcels dropping from UN planes, the lengths his family went to in order to spirit his older brother out of the country before he was conscripted, were chilling enough.  But when he mentioned his mother had disappeared for a while (although thankfully she was returned to her family) Eva knew there was a story to be told.

One More Chapter’s Publishing Director, Charlotte Ledger, loved the idea too, so in late summer 2020 Eva got back in touch with Darko, who agreed to help. He was going through another torrid time, with covid having ripped away his livelihood, and he had had to join his brother in Norway to find work. Eva used his quarantine period when he arrived wisely, chatting on Zoom about not only his wartime experiences, but also life in Croatia today, and even being shown how to make Croatian coffee in a dzezva, as she wanted every aspect of the book to be authentic.

Eva’s character Damir Maric’s story is not Darko’s, and they have very different personalities. Research has shown that remarkably, most children who grow up in war zones are not damaged by the experience, particularly if they have strong family bonds and parents who are able to cope with the situation. For the novel, Damir needed a very different emotional journey.

   

About the Author


Eva Glyn writes emotional women’s fiction inspired by beautiful places and the stories they hide. She loves to travel, but finds inspiration can strike just as well at home or abroad.

She cut her teeth on just about every kind of writing (radio journalism, advertising copy, PR, and even freelance cricket reporting) before finally completing a full length novel in her forties. Four lengthy and completely unpublishable tomes later she found herself sitting on an enormous polystyrene book under the TV lights of the Alan Titchmarsh Show as a finalist in the People’s Novelist competition sponsored by Harper Collins. Although losing out to a far better writer, the positive feedback from the judges gave her the confidence to pursue her dreams.

Eva lives in Cornwall, although she considers herself Welsh, and has been lucky enough to have been married to the love of her life for twenty-five years. She also writes as Jane Cable.

Bibliography:

The Missing Pieces of Us (One More Chapter, 2021)

The Olive Grove (One More Chapter, 2021)

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

Thanks to Eva Glyn, One More Chapter and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for a copy of the book and a place on the tour. 

Check out these great bloggers!



Comments

Post a Comment

Popular Posts