Sunday, 23 June 2019

The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor will touch your heart and keep you reading until the end!

Hazel Gaynor writes with such historical detail in her latest wonderful novel, The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter, but this doesn't get in the way of the heartbreaking story of Grace Darling, and the parallel story of Matilda Emmerson, sent  away in disgrace one hundred years later, to Newport Rhode Island to stay with a cousin in a lighthouse until her baby is born.
The part that Grace Darling played in the rescue of nine people from the wreck of The Forfarshire on the Farne Islands in 1838 is well known, but this story goes behind the familiar tale of the heroine to explore what her life must have been like, living in a lighthouse with her parents, wanting to be a lighthouse keeper herself, but knowing that in the mid nineteenth century, it was not a job thought suitable for a woman.
Hazel Gaynor not only shows how Grace dealt with the events of the night of the storm when she helped her father rescue the survivors, but also how she dealt with the unwanted media attention of the day with letters to answer, locks of hair to be enclosed, and even artists and sculptors coming to capture her likeness for the people to see because photography hadn't been invented.
Added to all this Hazel found a hint of a possible romance with a young man, and the name being mentioned of a George Emmerson, so she linked this to the true story of Sarah Dawson who Grace rescued on that fateful night, taking it and exploring how her life might have been if she had fallen in love with him.
From the story of George Emmerson and Sarah Dawson, his ficticious sister, comes the story of Matilda in 1938 with many links to the past, right back to Grace herself, and an unexpected family secret.
Both stories touched my heart and kept me rooting for Grace and Matilda until the end.
It is a wonderful book and I can't recommend it enough!

I am also looking forward to this novel about another amazing Grace, Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and her writing partner, Heather Webb, due out in paperback on 5th September 2019!

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Sail Away to New York with Celia Imrie - You will have a voyage of a lifetime!

Sail Away by  Celia Imrie takes you on a voyage of a lifetime as two ladies' lives collide when they find themselves on the same cruise ship in dire circumstances.
Suzy, an actress from a 1980s TV show, is offered a job in Zurich in The Importance of Being Earnest, but the show is cancelled before the rehearsals can even start and the cast lose their money, so she gets a job on a cruise ship leaving from Genoa.
Amanda has problems buying a new flat. Her son and daughter are too busy with their lives to help her out, so she finds it just as cheap to take a cruise as to stay in grotty digs, so she sets sail on the same cruise ship from Southampton.
Suzy is on board with Jason Scott, a young actor, who witnessed what went on the night before rehearsals were about to start at Herr Appenzell's flat, but is Jason implicated in the serious crime that was committed then?
Told in a funny and amusing style with lots of interesting background information about the world of the theatre and life onboard a cruise ship, the serious crime, unbeknownst to Suzy and Amanda, links them together.
This is a great mystery with a cast of wonderful characters to read on holiday, whether you are sailing to New York, or not, which keeps you guessing until the end.
This is the first book I've read by Celia Imrie and I'll certainly read her others set in the South of France.