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When We Were Innocent, by Kate Hewitt

When We Were Innocent book cover
TRIGGER WARNING: Nazi atrocities
Libby needs to re-evaluate her whole life when her 96 year old father is accused of being a Nazi war criminal. She starts from a position of denial but can’t challenge the evidence. How will her family survive this shocking revelation?
When We Were Innocent is a dual timeline book showing the present day in America and WW2 Germany/Sobibor.
I was completely gripped by this book. The premise is fascinating as a man, gentle and well loved, is accused of the worst of crimes. Libby is certain that her father could never be complicit in genocide but the evidence suggests the contrary. Her family is torn apart but the allegations yet her father remains silent and doesn’t deny or admit the charges.
Meanwhile we are shown Hans’ experience of the Sobibor extermination camp. His naivety at the function of the camp and the gradual shocking realisation is tragic. Hans is sickened by what he witnesses but tries to block it out due to fearing for his own safety and that of his sister.
The ethical and moral side to both timelines is fascinating and makes the reader wonder how they would cope in the same circumstances. Emotions are thoroughly explored and described which brings the characters and events to life. It is difficult to reconcile the image of the young or old Hans with the specific crime he is accused of and this builds tension as the book progresses.
When We Were Innocent is just such a good book. The plot and characters were absolutely perfect and I couldn’t put the book down!
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Book Description:
You love your father with all your heart. But what if he’s not who you think he is? What if he’s kept an unforgiveable secret from you his whole life?
Libby Trent believes she knows the difference between right and wrong.
But everything changes when she finds out about a man named Hans Brenner, a Nazi who escaped Germany after the Second World War. A war criminal who has lived his whole life in hiding.
Because the man suspected of being Hans Brenner is Libby’s own beloved father.
The sweetest, gentlest man she knows. Who raised her alone, who lives in her family home. Who cares for and watches over Libby’s own children.
When Libby finds a secret box in her father’s bedroom, she knows it might contain evidence. But does she dare open it, if it could prove her father guilty of the most heinous crimes in history?
Because if she finds evidence, she won’t just have to choose between right and wrong, she’ll have to choose whether to betray her own father…
A totally heartbreaking and powerful story about a daughter’s impossible dilemma and the darkest of family secrets, perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Amanda Prowse, and Diane Chamberlain.
Author Bio:
Kate Hewitt is the author of many romance and women’s fiction novels. A former New Yorker and now an American ex-pat, she lives in a small town on the Welsh border with her husband, five children, and their overly affectionate Golden Retriever. Whatever the genre, she enjoys telling stories that tackle real issues and touch people’s lives.
https://www.kate-hewitt.com/
https://www.facebook.com/KateHewittAuthor/
https://twitter.com/author_kate
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Buy Link:
Amazon: https://geni.us/B0B786FXF4social
Audio Links:
UK: zpr.io/TAXdMfYRARci
US: zpr.io/nRGPdbuwdfUP
Listen to a sample here:
https://soundcloud.com/bookouture/when-we-were-innocent-by-kate-hewitt-narrated-by-amelia-sciandra
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Lemon and blueberry cake with lemon icing

As ever, I had enthusiastically bought an ingredient (lemons) with no real idea of what I was going to use them for! I hadn’t had cake in AGES so chose to play around and make a lemon cake and throw in some blueberries from the freezer. It was YUM!
Ingredients:
100g vegan butter or margarine
100g caster sugar
125g SR flour
1 flax egg
zest from 1 lemon
50g fresh or frozen blueberries
For the icing: 50g vegan butter, 100g icing sugar, juice of half a lemon

Preheat oven to GM 5
Place butter, sugar, flour and flax egg into a bowl and whisk together for 3-4 minutes until fully combined.

Add the zest and blueberries

Bake for 20 mins

Remove from oven and tin. Cool on a rack.

Once completely cool, mix together the icing ingredients until creamy then spread on top
My cake had a huge crack in the top as the temperature was too high as I was cooking lunch for the kids at the same time! I have used the correct temp in the recipe above 🙂 This recipe could easily be doubled to make a loaf cake or a 2 layer cake (the icing could be filling instead)

 


Secrets on the Island, by Stewart Giles

Secrets on the Island book cover

A prestigious school on Guernsey is set to hold a reunion for the class of 1989. The famous alumni include an actress, a chef, a cabinet minister and a US senator. Tension is high when a bomb hoax suggests there could be danger ahead…
Secrets on the Island is the 8th book in the wonderful DI Liam O’Reilly series of crime and detecive thrillers.
Liam is deeply sceptical about the ‘celebrities’ and their need for protection, but murder is something he cannot ignore! He doesn’t think it is his role to act as security although he steps up eagerly when the bomb hoax and death imply the start of a serious threat. Once the attendees arrive, his frustrations resurface as they are obviously keeping secrets even though it endangers them.
Once again Liam’s character shines as authentic with a wonderful humour that reflects off the other characters. His personal and professional relationships are strongly covered through the dialogue. There are some wonderful turns of phrase especially towards Andy Stone who Liam really doesn’t like, and Liam isn’t afraid of speaking up against his superior officers.
The pace is as fast as the rest of the series and I was gripped by the events on the island. Chapters are quite short which helps the pace flow quickly and the book is dialogue led to show the nuances of the characters rather than acres of description. This was quick to read as I couldn’t put it down due to being completely absorbed by the characters and plot.
Secrets on the Island is a great addition to one fo my favourite book series ever!

 

Secrets on the Island blog tour banner SECRETS ON THE ISLAND (Detective Liam O’Reilly book 8)
School reunions are not something Detective Inspector Liam O’Reilly is particularly fond of.
But when a man is murdered days before the reunion of a prestigious school on the island he’s forced to get involved.
The guests attending the reunion are reluctant to talk and O’Reilly knows not everything is as it seems.
A famous actress, a celebrity chef, a controversial author, a US senator, an English MP and a whole host of other public figures happened to attend the school in the class of ’89.
When more guests at the reunion are murdered, O’Reilly finds himself in the middle of the most bizarre mystery he’s ever encountered.
It appears some secrets are worth dying for.
What readers are saying about SECRETS ON THE ISLAND
As always I just could not put this read down full of banter and action with lots of turn arounds but that’s what I enjoy in a book. – Booklover Bev
SECRETS ON THE ISLAND kicks off with an ominous, ghastly discovery in the lead up to a celebratory extravaganza. The mystery creates an all pervasive atmosphere of foreboding. Hair-raising suspense keeps the pages flying by. Riveting chapters will have you at the edge of your seat, right up to the Poirot-like finish.- Eileen
I thought this an enjoyable and riveting read. The tension slowly builds as celebrities meet for a school reunion, but the reader has no idea what will happen – if anything, as its all a question of security. – Carol
BOOKS BY STEWART GILES
DS JASON SMITH SERIES
Book 0.5 – Phobia
1 – Smith
2 – Boomerang
3 – Ladybird
4 – Occam’s Razor
5 – Harlequin
6 – Selene
7 – Horsemen
8 – Unworthy
9 – Venom
10 – Severed
11 – Demons
12 – Deadeye
13 – Motive
14 – Australia
16 – Wishbone
17 – Ghosts
18 – Scarecrow
DI O’REILLY MYSTERIES
1 – Blood on the Island
2 – Lies on the Island
3 – Fear on the Island
4 – Malice on the Island
5 – Revenge on the Island
6 – Christmas on the Island
7 – Silence on the Island
8 – Secrets on the Island
DC HARRIET TAYLOR SERIES
1-The Beekeeper
2-The Perfect Murder
3-The Backpacker
Trotterdown a box set of DC Harriet Taylor books 1-3
DS JASON SMITH &DC HARRIET TAYLOR SERIES
1 – The Enigma
2 – Dropzone
3 – The Raven Girl
Trilogy: The DS Smith & Harriet Taylor box set
THE MIRANDA TRILOGY (psychological thrillers)
Miranda
Mistress
Medusa
STANDALONE NOVELS
Horror – The Divide
Thriller – The Ghostwriter
Thriller – The Guests
Stewart Giles – Author Bio
After reading English at 3 Universities and graduating from none of them, I set off travelling around the world with my wife, Ann, finally settling in South Africa, where we still live.
In 2014 Ann dropped a rather large speaker on my head and I came up with the idea for a detective series. DS Jason Smith was born. Smith, the first in the series was finished a few months later.
3 years and 8 DS Smith books later, Joffe Books wondered if I would be interested in working with them. As a self-published author, I agreed. However, we decided on a new series – the DC Harriet Taylor: Cornwall series.
The Beekeeper was published and soon hit the number one spot in Australia. The second in the series, The Perfect Murder did just as well.
I continued to self-publish the Smith series and Unworthy hit the shelves in 2018 with amazing results. I therefore made the decision to self-publish The Backpacker which is book 3 in the Detective Harriet Taylor series which was published in July 2018.
After The Backpacker I had an idea for a totally new start to a series – a collaboration between the Smith and Harriet thrillers and The Enigma was born. It brought together the broody, enigmatic Jason Smith and the more level-headed Harriet Taylor.
The Miranda trilogy is something totally different. A psychological thriller trilogy. It is a real departure from anything else I’ve written before.
The Detective Jason Smith series continues to grow. I also have another series featuring an Irish detective who relocated to Guernsey. The first 8 books in the Detective Liam O’Reilly series are now available. There are also 3 stand alone novels.
Website: www.stewartgiles.com
Twitter: @stewartgiles
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stewart.giles.33


The Bletchley Girls, by Anna Stuart

The Bletchley Girls book coverSteffie, Fran and Ailsa all come from very different backgrounds. Yet all have been specially chosen to join the war work at Bletchley. They form a strong friendship but their abilities lead them towards danger and war…
The Bletchley Girls is an historical novel beginning in 1940 as three women arrive to work for the war effort at Bletchley. It begins in England but the women’s journeys becomes more international in scope.
Steffie has lived the high life all over Europe and has an Italian fiance. Fran is dealing with feelings she does not understand towards a fellow recruit. Ailsa comes from a remote Scottish island and has limited social experience. The three women become firm friends, supporting each other whilst also abiding by the Official Secrets Act.
I was fascinated by the detail of the war developments and the characters’ reactions to the crises, danger and personal challenges they encounter. In particular their love lives are complicated: Steffie’s heart and loyalties are torn between her homeland and the man she loves. Fran has never had a romantic entanglement but now her heart is engaged and she isn’t sure how to react. Ailsa has never left her island but is ready to travel the world instead of marrying a man she doesn’t love.
All three women and their experiences felt authentic. The book is written in the third person but focuses on each woman to give their perspective and further their story. We experience the trauma of war through their perspectives and I was particularly affected by the heartbreaking cries of the young men in crashing planes. There is plenty of drama but it is the little emotional moments that make this book special.
The Bletchley Girls is an entertaining and dramatic historical novel about brave women and their war experience.
The Bletchley Girls blog tour banner
Book Description:
1940, Bletchley Park: I stand alone outside the gates, with no idea what lies ahead. It’s cold and dark. All I have are my suitcases and a handful of letters from my fiancé. Every day, the bombs have been getting closer. I’m only an ordinary civilian, but I was asked to come here in secret, and I’m determined to fight in whatever way I can for freedom and for love…
Inspired by the unforgettable true story of the women of Bletchley Park, this utterly gripping novel of secrets, love and courage shines a light on the incredible wartime work that changed the course of history.
When Stefania Carmichael steps into the mysterious world of Bletchley Park, she immediately finds herself signing the Official Secrets Act. In whispers, she is told that she’s been recruited because of her talent for languages. Before the war ripped Europe apart, Steffie was living in Rome, charming everyone she met with her quick wit and sharp mind, and engaged to the man of her dreams, handsome and brave Matteo. Now everything has changed.
With secrets swirling around the building, Steffie finds it hard to know who to trust, until she forms a close bond with two other new recruits. Ailsa is a gifted radio operator and Fran a logistics genius, and the two women help Steffie navigate her new world of codebreaking. But even though Steffie’s skills are crucial to the war effort, her position is put in jeopardy when Italy joins the opposite side of the battle – and her beloved fiancé becomes the enemy.
Her heart belongs to Matteo, but Steffie knows she must do whatever it takes to help England win the war. So when she is asked to go on a classified mission, she jumps at the chance. But it soon becomes clear there’s a traitor in their midst, and all eyes turn to her…
With her life at stake, can she prove herself innocent and save the man she loves? Or will Steffie lose everything?
An absolutely addictive World War Two novel of friendship, betrayal and heartbreak. Perfect for fans of The Rose Code, The Alice Network and The Nightingale.
Author Bio:
Anna Stuart lives in Derbyshire with her campervan-mad husband, two hungry teenagers and a slightly loopy dog. She was hooked on books from the moment she first opened one in her cot so is thrilled to now have several of her own to her name. Having studied English literature at Cambridge university, she took an enjoyable temporary trip into the ‘real world’ as a factory planner, before returning to her first love and becoming an author. History has also always fascinated her. Living in an old house with a stone fireplace, she often wonders who sat around it before her and is intrigued by how actively the past is woven into the present, something she likes to explore in her novels. Anna loves the way that writing lets her ‘try on’ so many different lives, but her favourite part of the job is undoubtedly hearing from readers. You can reach her on Facebook @annastuartauthor or Twitter @annastuartbooks.
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Buy Link:
Amazon: https://geni.us/B0B71XH79Csocial
Audio:
UK: zpr.io/CPx3iGDKcku2
US: zpr.io/sHn6jEfwJP7H
Listen to a sample here:
https://soundcloud.com/bookouture/the-bletchley-girls-by-anna-stuart-narrated-by-eilidh-beaton
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The Silence Before Dawn, by Amanda Lees

The Silence Before Dawn book cover
France 1944. Lovers Marianne and Jack are brave resistance fighters against the Nazi occupiers. But their group is betrayed. Both survive the raid but Jack is captured. Marianne is planning to rescue him when she is informed that Jack is the traitor. She is determined to prove his innocence but is she mistaken…?
The Silence Before Dawn is an historical novel set in France in the 1930s and 40s. The majority is set in 1944 but we also see earlier times when Jack and Marianne first met in England and developed their romance.
The narrative style varies as some of the book is written from Marianne’s first person perspective whilst there are other chapters written in the third person to show other characters and their situations.
Bravery and courage feature heavily and the strength of the female characters is refreshing. There are moments of brutality and violence but these felt authentic and in keeping with the genre and historical reality.
Marianne has a whole mixture of emotions to deal with over the course of the book. Her loyalties are divided after she is informed that Jack has betrayed them but her heart can’t quite believe it. She also has grief at the death of her brother early in the book and fear for the safety ofher remaining brother and the rest of their unit.
The Silence Before Dawn is an enjoyable historical novel.
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Media Pack
Author:     AMANDA LEES
Book:      THE SILENCE BEFORE DAWN
Publication Day:  SEPTEMBER 13TH 2022
Buy link(s)
https://geni.us/B0B4PJXTRYsocial
Audible:
UK: http://ow.ly/anhQ50Kvhl2
US: http://ow.ly/Koqg50Kvhl3
Listen here: http://ow.ly/mqen50Kvhl1
 
Description:
Nazi-occupied France, 1944: I tear open the envelope, extracting a sheet of folded paper. I read it, my heart cracking with every word. There is no mistaking the name of the man who betrayed us. Jack. My beloved fiancé – and now, a traitor.
For months, Marianne’s resistance network has carried out courageous missions from a remote farmhouse in southern Provence, aiding the Nazis’ downfall. But one fateful night, they are viciously ambushed as German soldiers storm in, scattering, capturing or killing every last person there.
Mourning the loss of her friends, Marianne will need every ounce of courage to survive. Not only has her life as a secret agent been critically compromised, but her heart has been shattered. Because Jack, her darling fiancé and fellow spy, fled in the chaos – and is accused of being the traitor who betrayed them.
Desperate to believe Jack’s innocence and that their love was true, to her horror Marianne discovers he has been seized by the Butcher of Lyon, a Nazi more brutal and ruthless than any other. Now it is more imperative than ever that Marianne finds Jack – before he reveals the names of every undercover agent in France, or before he is murdered for remaining loyal.
So Marianne sets out on the most dangerous mission of her life, and the most personal. With her tight-knit group of fellow women agents by her side, she risks everything to rescue Jack. Can she save her fiancé before it’s too late – and change the fate of the war in the process? Or is she blind to the heart-breaking truth, and simply sacrificing her own life?
Based on true stories of the fearless women secret agents – and their tales of bravery, betrayal and love – this is the first book in the heart-pounding, heart-wrenching and totally addictive World War Two Resistance series. Perfect for readers of The Nightingale, All the Light We Cannot See and Ellie Midwood.
 
Author Bio:
Amanda was born in Hong Kong and survived both a convent boarding school and a Jesuit boys’ school before being summarily ejected from the latter. She gets her thirst for adventure from her parents who met in the jungle in Borneo where her mother had set up a hospital and her father, a former Gurkha Intelligence officer and Oxford-educated spy, was probably up to no good.
She is the author of the bestselling satirical novels Selling Out and Secret Admirer (published by Pan) which have both received critical acclaim and have been translated into several languages. Her major YA thriller trilogy, Kumari, Goddess of Gotham, was written as a tribute to her mum, who died a couple of months before Amanda got the idea for a series which would reflect her own exotic childhood. Kumari was nominated for the Guardian Children’s Book Prize and the Doncaster Book Award. It featured as Redhouse Book Of The Month and Lovereading4kids Book Of The Month.
A broadcaster as well as an actress and novelist, Amanda appears regularly on BBC radio and LBC and was a contracted writer to the hit series Weekending on Radio 4. She researched and edited the leading directory for banks, The Banker’s Almanac, for Euromoney publications while also covering stories of shady dealings in the City for them. She has written for, or contributed to, The Evening Standard, The Times, New Woman, US Cosmopolitan, Bulgaria’s Vagabond and Company Magazine as well as numerous online publications and has two non-fiction books published under a pen name.
Amanda has conducted a love coaching phone-in from the sofa of Richard & Judy and wooed the viewers on Channel 5 Live. She won an award at the Hungarian Gyor Film Festival for a short film she produced, a psychological thriller called Pros and Cons.
Her book, From Aconite to the Zodiac Killer: The Dictionary of Crime, was published by Robinson/Little Brown in July 2020 to excellent reviews. It was published in the US by Ulysses Press in May 2021. She has just completed the first in a romantic thriller series set at the end of WW2.
Author Social Media Links
Website: amandalees.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AmandaLeesAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/amandalees
Bookouture Email Sign Up: https://www.bookouture.com/amanda-lees/