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The English Girl, by Sarah Mitchell

The English Girl book cover

1946 Norfolk. German prisoners of war arrive at a local camp to the disgust of the locals. Fran gets a job in the office and her eye is caught by Thomas, but her family cannot forgive the Germans who killed her brother in the war. 1989. Tiffany travels to Berlin to see the Wall being destroyed. She ventures through the barrier to search for someone…
The English Girl is a fascinating dual timeline historical novel about love and the after effects of war. It begins with Tiffany’s experience in Berlin before settling into the main part of the book beginning in 1946.
There are a number of threads in the 1940s timeline. Foremost we have Fran who is struggling to find her place in a world that has dramatically changed due to the war. We also have Martin who was unable to fight in the war on medical grounds and feels survivors’ guilt. Finally we have Major Markham, who is traumatised by his wartime experience, and his unfaithful wife Viv, in love with an American officer.
I thought that the emotional side of the characters were all well developed and I could identify with them. Fran’s conflicting feelings about the Germans due to the war and the death of her brother whilst also seeing the prisoners of war as men like her brother fighting for their country. Martin’s guilt and the Markhams’ emotional turmoil was also very believable and the characters seemed very human.
The English Girl was an enjoyable historical novel about the aftermath of war and the enduring nature of love and hope.

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The English Girl book description:
He is German. She is English. Their countries are enemies. Can love bring them together? Inspired by an incredible true story, this is a sweeping tale about the power of hope in the face of war and the legacy of an impossible choice.
1946, Norfolk, England: Grief and fear spill over in Fran’s small village when German prisoners of war are sent to the nearby camp. After the death of her beloved brother on the front lines, Fran cannot see the new arrivals as anything but his killers.
When one of the mines the Germans are clearing from the beach explodes, Fran is thrown into the path of prisoner Thomas as they rush to help the wounded. Thomas’s kind, artistic nature and his bravery, putting himself in danger to save others, changes everything for Fran. She realises he is a boy just like her brother and was forced to fight in a war he never believed in.
From that day on, there is something powerful and unspoken connecting Fran and Thomas. But as battle lines are drawn across Europe and tensions within the village reach breaking point, they could be about to unleash something neither of them can control…
1989, Berlin: Tiffany arrives in Berlin from London, just as the wall that divided a nation finally falls. With only a few words of German, she celebrates with strangers in the streets, and crosses the border between West and East. In her pocket is a crumpled letter addressed to her grandmother, yellowed with age, that has led her in search of a wartime secret with the power to change her future…
A book that you will carry with you long after having turned the final page. Fans of Fiona Valpy, The Forgotten Village and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will be absolutely gripped from the very beginning until the final, heart-stopping conclusion of this unforgettable wartime story.

 

author Sarah Mitchell
Author Bio:
Sarah grew up in Norfolk and studied law at Cambridge University which led to a career as a barrister, working mainly in the field of human rights. After nearly twenty years she was tempted off-track by a creative writing course at the Open University and fell in love with making up stories instead of constructing arguments. Three years later she completed, with distinction, an MA in Creative Writing – Prose Fiction at the UEA.
Now she lives in Norfolk again, this time with her husband and three almost-grown-up children, where she combines writing with some legal work – and thanking her enormous number of lucky stars.
https://twitter.com/SarahM_writer
Buy LInks:
Amazon: https://bit.ly/3giG4Wi
Apple: https://apple.co/3akHxsW
Kobo: https://bit.ly/3eiJveN
Google: https://bit.ly/3duyGXF

 


A new venture: Pilates!

To help with wellbeing and to give us some colleague team building, our school has signed up for Pilates.
I was a bit unsure about joining as my only experience of Pilates was via an app on my phone which left me with backache so I gave up within a week.

Now 5 weeks in with our qualified instructor and I am LOVING it!
Yes, my muscles ache but I want more 🙂 Even though it is once a week I think I am a little more toned and working muscles I never knew I had.
I have never been to any type of exercise class before and the first couple of weeks were online so I could try it out without embarrassment! Our instructor is very knowledgeable and helps to differentiate exercises so that we can make them as easy or hard as we’d like. She also offers tips and advice so that we can get the most out of each exercise.
Each session begins with mobilising our joints to warm up so that we can move more freely. We then proceed to a range of exercises which focus on balance, mobility and strength, increasing in intensity over the hour. The end of the session comprises of gentle stretches.

The real revelation for me is in the use of equipment. A small ball is used for focus and to put us off balance so our muscles work hard to stabilise and support us. Resistance bands make the exercises more intense. I found that the ball in the small of my back to support me really helped and hope to try again with the app.
As a team building experience, Pilates is also great as we giggle at our own efforts and then chat in the staffroom about our core strength (or lack of it!) 🙂
Have you ever tried Pilates?

The Hotel at Honeymoon Station, by Tilly Tennant

The Hotel at Honeymoon Station book cover

Emma feels at a crossroads in her life when she realsies she hates her job and her fiance is no good. A chance meeting with an old school friend leads her to take a leap of faith and dump Dougie and her life to invest in a hotel renovation. A friendship soon emerges with her builder Aiden but will romance blossom too…?
The Hotel at Honeymoon Station is a sweet and heart warming book about seizing life’s chances and persevering in the face of trouble.
Emma is a lovely lead character. Her little sister has always been the focus on the family after their mum died giving birth to her and now she is heading off for an adventure so Emma feels it is also her time to think about her own wants and needs. I felt so angry at how shockingly Dougie treats her and was willing her to dump him and find someone worthy ofher love.
Emma and Tia move to Honeymoon to renovate the station into a hotel but this is fraught with problems. Their builders let them down and some of the locals protest against the likely tourist influx. Tia jumps headfirst into bed with new builder Blake but Emma slowly begins to heal her heart with the help of Aiden. I enjoyed the little nuances to their friendship especially the legends and tales about the local area which also serve to bring the setting to life.
The Hotel at Honeymoon Station is a warm and uplifting book that will make you smile. I have previously reviewed The Waffle House on the Pier, The Break Up and The Garden on Sparrow Street by Tilly Tennant.

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Media Pack – Tour Info Sheet
Author: Tilly Tennant
Book: The Hotel at Honeymoon Station
Publication Day:  June 18th 2021
Buy Links:
Amazon: https://geni.us/B09232HPT8cover
Apple: http://ow.ly/I7iW50Em4j8
Kobo: http://ow.ly/CBu850Em4g7
Google: http://ow.ly/BFe450Em4lX
Description:
Run away to the Dorset countryside, to the sleepy village of Honeymoon, where rose-adorned thatched cottages soak up the sunlight and Emma is risking everything for a brave new start on life and love…
When Emma’s useless fiancé tells her a lie she cannot forgive, she decides enough is enough. She leaves him, quits her dead-end job and travels hundreds of miles away to the ancient village of Honeymoon in the Dorset countryside, to help her friend Tia turn the old train station into a boutique hotel.
Tia has told Emma that it will be a project, but when Emma arrives in Honeymoon and sees a weed-choked crumbling ruin, her vision of an idyllic life in Dorset begins to disintegrate. But when she meets twinkly-eyed builder Aiden in the village shop, and sparks fly between them, she can’t help but feel that the stars have for once aligned.
As work begins on the hotel, Emma and Aiden grow closer, and on sun-dappled evening walks, he tells her the secrets of the village. But there are some villagers who wish that Emma had never arrived in Honeymoon… And when Emma is involved in a terrible accident on site, and then discovers what Aiden has been keeping from her, it feels like the universe is telling her to leave Honeymoon for good. What if she was wrong to say goodbye to all that was safe and familiar? Will she ever be able to find her happy-ever-after in Honeymoon?
A completely gorgeous and romantic read about being brave and taking chances on love and life. Fans of Shari Low, Jill Mansell and Milly Johnson will be enchanted by The Hotel at Honeymoon Station.
author Tilly TennantAuthor Bio:
Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now lives in Staffordshire with a family of her own. After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop assistant, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by embarking on a degree in English and creative writing. She wrote a novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and hasn’t stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance fiction editor and part-time lecturer.
Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn was her debut novel; published in 2014 it was an Amazon bestseller in both the UK and Australia. In 2016 she signed to the hugely successful Bookouture and is currently working on her fifteenth Tilly Tennant novel. Christmas bestseller A Very Vintage Christmas has just been made into a movie for Lifetime Channel.
Tilly also writes young adult fiction as Sharon Sant.
Author Social Media Links
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/TillyTennant/
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/TillyTenWriter
WEBSITE: www.tillytennant.com

 


The Butterfly Garden, by Sophie Anderson

 

The Butterfly Garden book cover

TRIGGER WARNING: this book deals with the aftermath of a child’s death, and serious mental health issues
Erin returns home after her love affair with a married man collapses. She finds employment with a dying author Maggie Muir, typing up her memoirs into a novel, and discovers the truth behind Maggie’s reclusive life. Is it too late for Maggie to reunite with her son Lucas, and can Erin heal her own heart along the way?
The Butterfly Garden is a book which is often heartbreaking but also strangely uplifting.
Each chapter begins with a section of the memoirs which are written in the first person so we get a direct insight into Maggie’s life and emotional state. We discover that Maggie had a breakdown following the death of her daughter Skye and blamed her son Lucas. The overwhelming grief and Maggie’s descent into despair is utterly tragic to read.
Meanwhile Erin’s character arc begins with her feeling at her lowest. Her relationship has fallen apart and now she feels ashamed around her family and community but really this is her own guilt rather than their judgement. Helping Maggie gives her a purpose and in the second half of the book Erin searches for Lucas so that he can be reconcile with his mother.
There is also a secret in Erin’s family which Maggie brings to light. I think there is an important message about the danger of keeping things hidden from our loved ones for our own wellbeing. Forgiveness is also a key theme as both families need to move forward from the revelations which develop over the book.
The Butterfly Garden is full of poignant moments and tragedy but also had the warmth of hope for the future. This is a debut novel and I look forward to reading more from Sophie Anderson in the future.

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The Butterfly Garden book description:
I blamed my son for the death of my daughter…
When twenty-five-year-old Erin loses the man she loves, she flees London for Cornwall and takes a job at Hookes End, a huge house clinging precariously to the Cornish cliffs. The owner, frail reclusive novelist and butterfly enthusiast Maggie, has kept the curtains of her dusty house drawn for many years. But as she and Erin spend evenings together by the fireside, sharing stories of the past, Erin feels her shattered heart begin to heal. In return, Erin agrees to help Maggie find her long lost family before it is too late.
Years ago, Maggie’s son Lucas ran away to the other side of the world after the death of her daughter ripped the family apart. Maggie is desperate to see Lucas again – there is something she needs him to know.
Erin wants to help Maggie find peace so she vows to track down her lost son. But when at last she finds Lucas, in a far- away place of searing heat and pearly sands, it becomes clear that he is hiding something too.
As Erin grows closer to Lucas and unravels the webs of deceit entangling mother and son, she learns about the terrible tragedy that changed their lives forever: the night when a little girl in a fairy nightdress went missing. But with Maggie’s time fast running out, is it too late for them to find the forgiveness they need to move on?
A heart-wrenching page-turner about a family ripped apart by guilt and lies. Set against the storms of the Cornish coast and silvery tropical sands of a distant paradise, The Butterfly Garden is a story of love, loss and letting go. Fans of Jojo Moyes, Harriet Evans and Lucinda Riley will be gripped.
author Sophie Anderson
Author Bio:
Sophie Anderson enjoyed a career in TV production in London before working with her husband to set up an online software business where she wrote the marketing content. But neither scratched that creative itch to tell a story, so she enrolled on a writing course and wrote her first novel The Butterfly Garden. She lives in Sussex with her husband, four children, a cocker spaniel and two cats.
https://www.facebook.com/sophieandersonfiction
https://twitter.com/MSophieanderson
Buy Links:
Amazon: https://bit.ly/3iIoT3c
Apple: https://apple.co/2OY3Q08
Kobo: https://bit.ly/3lKrEke
Google: https://bit.ly/2NME1zE

 


#MischiefAndMemories blog linky 25

Say hello again to #MischiefAndMemories

The weather has been too hot and is now too wet! How are you all?
Anyway, it’s a new week of our new blog linky! Mischief And Memories is all about your family and lifestyle posts so come and link up!
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Sadly, some linkers are not putting our badge on AND not commenting on ANY other links: seriously not cool and they have been deleted 🙁

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Our top commenter last week was Chatterfox with Little Hearts, Big Love a close second: thank you!
We have decided to add our #MischiefAndMemories to Instagram too! Each week, each host will pick our favourite photo to share on here but so far it is a little bit quiet, please join in!

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