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The Vintage Village Bake Off by Judy Leigh #Review

  Here we are with another amusing romcom by Judy Leigh . The Vintage Village Bake Off was published by Boldwood Books on December 4th. Now in his seventies, Robert Parkin is stunned to find himself the unlikely sex symbol of the village gardening club. Living in happy solitude with his cat Isaac Mewton in the Devon village of Millbrook, entertained by his mischievous chickens and goats, Robert has never figured out the rules of romance. But as the local ladies vie for his company, it soon becomes clear that Robert's Victoria Sponge cake is the lure, and as his baking prowess grows, so does his confidence. Cheesecakes, meringues, puddings, Robert can do it all, but his real masterpieces are his scones - ginger, rosemary, coconut, fruit, his recipes are inspired and soon come to the attention of the local media. Which county does the best cream tea - Devon or Cornwall? It's time for an age-old debate to be settled with a competition. Robert's sisters Bunty and Ha

The Hidden Palace by Dinah Jefferies #Review #DaughtersOfWarBook2


The Hidden Palace by Dinah Jefferies was published on August 25th by Harper Collins. It is the second in her Daughters of War series.

A rebellious daughter

1923. Among the ancient honey-coloured walls of the tiny island of Malta, strangers slip into the shadows and anyone can buy a new name. Rosalie Delacroix flees Paris for a dancer’s job in the bohemian clubs deep in its winding streets.

A sister with a secret

1944. Running from the brutality of war in France, Florence Baudin faces a new life. But her estranged mother makes a desperate request: to find her vanished sister, who went missing years before.

A rift over generations

Betrayals and secrets, lies and silence hang between the sisters. A faded last letter from Rosalie is Florence’s only clue, the war an immovable barrier – and time is running out…

My Thoughts

 Here we are given the stories of two women who have to flee from Paris, for different reasons and at different times. In 1922, Rosalie escapes from her overbearing family and follows her dreams to be a dancer. She finds herself in a very different world, in Malta. A generation later, her niece, Florence is smuggled out of Nazi occupied Paris as she has found out that her father was a German. After a period in England, she sets off to try to discover what has happened to Rosalie.  The action moves back and forth over the years. At the beginning of the story, you are told that the island of Malta was awarded the George Cross for valour during the Second World War, so there is always a sense of foreboding when you read Rosalie's sections and you know what is in store for the Island.

    I read this without having read the first in the series and I was able to pick up on the characters. There are love stories for both women but of course, life for them both is very complicated! The writing evokes the places they visit, Sicily, Malta, Paris, England and the periods they lived through. Although family ties are what leads Florence to try to find Rosalie, they both have to live independent lives away from those they know and within the restrictions of the times. The novel is a beautifully written, character led tale, set in  fascinating periods of the twentieth century.  

In short: great storytelling with a dual timeline.

About the Author

Dinah Jefferies began her career with The Separation, followed by the No.1 Sunday Times and Richard and Judy bestseller, The Tea-Planter’s Wife. Born in Malaysia, she moved to England at the age of nine. In 1985, a family tragedy changed everything, and she now draws on the experience of loss in her writing, infusing love, loss and danger with the beauty of her locations. She is published in 29 languages in over 30 countries and lives close to her family in Gloucestershire.

You can follow Dinah here: Twitter  |  Website 

Book link: Amazon UK

Thanks to Dinah Jefferies, Harper Collins and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.

Check out the rest of the tour!








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