Skip to main content


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 Bleeding by Johana Gustawsson Translated by David Warriner #Review #Giveaway


 I am delighted to be taking part in the Orenda Books blog tour for The Bleeding by Johanna Gustawsson. I also have a great giveaway with the chance to win a print copy. Details on how to enter are at the foot of this post.


Three women
Three eras
One extraordinary mystery…

1899, Belle Époque Paris. Lucienne’s two daughters are believed dead when her mansion burns to the ground, but she is certain that her girls are still alive and embarks on a journey into the depths of the spiritualist community to find them.

1949, Post-War Québec. Teenager Lina’s father has died in the French Resistance, and as she struggles to fit in at school, her mother introduces her to an elderly woman at the asylum where she works, changing Lina’s life in the darkest way imaginable.

2002, Quebec. A former schoolteacher is accused of brutally stabbing her husband – a famous university professor – to death. Detective Maxine Grant, who has recently lost her own husband and is parenting a teenager and a new baby single-handedly, takes on the investigation.

Under enormous personal pressure, Maxine makes a series of macabre discoveries that link directly to historical cases involving black magic and murder, secret societies and spiritism … and women at breaking point, who will stop at nothing to protect the ones they love…

 My Thoughts

This gothic thriller is packed with tension and suspense. Three storylines from three eras are woven together. The horror elements saturate the novel, with witchcraft, black magic and the occult present in all three times. This is a dark read which leads you inexorably to one of those endings which is so shocking that I found myself re-reading the final chapters several times to make sure that what I thought had happened, actually had! This is skilful writing with clues hiding in plain sight.

    The discrepancy in power between the roles of men and women at all the different times seems to lie at the heart of the girls' and women's actions. Some of the details in the story are upsetting and like the stuff of nightmares. Not all the characters can be taken at face value and you are certainly drawn into this web of dark secrets. The Bleeding falls into different genres- crime, gothic thriller, horror, historical fiction- which makes for a layered and satisfying read.  It is certainly not for the faint -hearted. Special mention is also made of the translator, David Warriner who has done a marvellous job.

In short: dark and full of suspense

About the Author

Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. Her debut, Block 46, was an award-winning, international bestseller, with Keeper following suit. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.

You can follow Johana here:  Twitter  |   Website  |  Facebook.

Book links:  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 these great bloggers! 
Giveaway (UK only)

To win a print copy of The Bleeding, just Follow and Retweet the pinned tweet at @bookslifethings and good luck!

Closing date is 25th September 2022 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.


If you enjoyed this post, subscribe by clicking here



Popular Posts