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May Wrap Up

I’m posting my May Wrap up now, this is because I haven’t read a book throughout June. I wish I could say this wasn’t true but my mental health took a bad turn and I just couldn’t pick up a book.

So, in May I many to read twelve books. That’s not bad, compared to June it’s fantastic but let’s hope I can start reading again in July.

Let’s talk about these books shall we?

A Room With A View by E.M Foresster. This classic so not my usual kind of book, but a friend suggested it so I thought I’d give it a go. And I really enjoyed it. Especially the end. A short and sweet novel with fantastic characters.

The Hunted by Gabriel… This is a horror, so this again is not my usual type of book, but I actually really enjoyed it. It was genuinely creepy. Full of suspense and action. It would make the perfect film. This one is out August 6th

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore. This was another good book, full of some fantastic characters but I was left wanting a little more at the end. But it was really good. It’s out on June 16th.

Fall Out by C.G.Moore. I could feel this book trying so hard, but it just didn’t do it for me overall. There were some parts that I thought were handled well, but unfortunately it most of it wasn’t great. It’s out June 16th.

True Story by Kate Reed Petty. I really enjoyed this one, it started off fantastically. I was instantly intrigued and it was dealing with a difficult subject, but it definitely lost it for me towards the end. It became a bit silly almost, but it was enjoyable. It’s out June 11th.

Boy Queen by George Lester. Yaaaaaassss, this book was fantastic. I really, really loved this one. It was a great queer book, that I can’t recommend enough. A great story, great characters. I loved it. It’s out August 6th.

All Of My Friends Are Rich by Michael Sarais. Another fantastic book, this one is filthy, fun but packs an important message, that comes across in a great way. I highly recommend this one. A brilliant own voices novel. It’s out June 16th.

Tell Me How It Ends by V.B. Grey. I really enjoyed this one, I loved the period of time it was setting in. It just has that old Hollywood glamour. It had great characters and it was an enjoyable, easy read. It’s out July 9th.

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart. Took me a little while to get into this one, but I’m so glad I stuck with it. It was heartbreaking in the end, with a character I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I loved it.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. I had such high hopes, but I unfortunately was disappointed. The ending was strange, the whole book was strange, and a bit dull. This is a hard one for me to take. It’s out now.

The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff. I really enjoyed this book, it was so powerful but had such a subtly too it that I haven’t read before. Full of fantastic characters and interesting dynamics, you definitely don’t want to miss this one. It’s out in July.

The Tuscan Contessa by Dinah Jefferies. I’m a huge fan of Dinah’s and I really enjoyed this book. Full of mystery and intrigue. Fantastic characters and a great historical setting. It was just a great book. It’s out July 23rd.

These are the books, I hope you’ve read some fantastic books in this time.

Until the next review

JTH

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Book Review: Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore.

Title: Valentine

Author: Elizabeth Wetmore

Length: 320 pages

Publisher: 4th Estate books

Synopsis: Mary Rose Whitehead isn’t looking for trouble – but when it shows up at her front door, she finds she can’t turn away. Corinne Shepherd, newly widowed, wants nothing more than to mind her own business, and for everyone else to mind theirs. But when the town she has spent years rebelling against closes ranks she realises she is going to have to take a side. Debra Ann is motherless and lonely and in need of a friend. But in a place like Odessa, Texas, choosing who to trust is a dangerous game. Gloria Ramírez, fourteen years old and out of her depth, survives the brutality of one man only to face the indifferences and prejudices of many. When justice is as slippery as oil, and kindness becomes a hazardous act, sometimes courage is all we have to keep us alive.

This is an incredibly powerful novel, with all the characters connecting around Glory, who has been attacked and turns up at the nearest house, after fighting back fleeing for her life.

Valentine is told through the perspectives of many characters, and it works perfectly. Wetmore weaves the story through all these perspectives and it elevates this story to another level. There was maybe one perspective that didn’t need to be there, it didn’t diminish the story in anyway, but i found myself wanting to skip it.

Each perspectives also reveals how a character is dealing with their own issues, as well as the effect the crime is having on the town. Mary Rose, who is answers the door to Glory and Corrine who just wants to be left alone to grieve her husband, are two of the standouts for me.

You can tell this novel is building to something, and I thought it would be the trial for Glory’s case, which it dealt with, but it went beyond what I was expecting and I found myself not being able to turn the pages fast enough. I’m not going to give anything away, or all the perspectives but it all came together so well.

Wetmore has created some fantastic characters that are real and heartfelt. You’ll root for them. Wetmore also captures the injustice and racism in a small town perfectly. This book at times will make your blood boil. This is a debut novel and it’s fantastic how much heart Elizabeth has managed to include.

I also can’t think of another novel that finishes so well, yet left me with some many questions. Some of the story was wrapped, but I wanted to know more about the characters I’d come to care for. It was a satisfying ending in many ways, but I can’t deny it left me wanting more.

I would definitely recommend this book, it’s raw and impactful. I think it’s a book you won’t forget for a while after reading it. It has something to say, in the many layers of this book.

Thank you to 4th Estate Books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now.

Until the next review

JTH

book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, gay, historical fiction, lgbt, queer, review, thriller, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

ARC Book Review: Queen of Coin and Whispers’ by Helen Corcoran

Title: Queen of Coin and Whispers

Author: Helen Corcoran

Length: 464 pages

Publisher: O’Brien Press

Synopsis: When Lia, an idealistic Queen, falls for Xania, her new spymaster – who took the job to avenge her murdered father – they realise all isn’t fair in love and treason. Lia won’t mourn her uncle: he’s left her a bankrupt kingdom considered easy pickings by its neighbours. She’s swarm to be a better ruler, but if she wants to push through her reforms, she needs to beat the court at its own games. For years, Xania’s been determined to uncover her fathers murderer. She finally gets the chance when Lia gives her a choice: become her new spymaster, or take a one way trip to the executioner’s axe. It’s an easy decision. When they fall for each other, their love complicates Lia’s responsibilities and Xania’s plans for vengeance. As they’re drawn together amid royal suitors and new diplomats, they uncover treason that could not only end Lia’s reign, but ruin their weakened country. They must decide not only what to sacrifice for duty, but also for each other.

This book was so enjoyable. For so many reasons. Full of romance, intrigue and fantastic characters. I needed a good YA book in my life and this one was it.

We follow Lia, who is a newly crowned Queen, with big ideas to return her kingdom to glory. We also follow Xania, who is hired as the queen’s spymaster.

There’s so many things I loved about this book. I don’t know where to start. I guess I’ll start with the intricacy and the detail. I loved how it allowed you to really loose yourself in the story. When a story is as detailed as this, it sets such a solid foundation for the rest of the story and it’s works beautifully in this book.

The romance! Oh the romance. It was F/F and it was heaven. It was a lovely slow burn romance (you know I love those) and it was so well done. I loved that it wasn’t the main plot, but was still so beautifully done. It always great so see LGBTQ+ representation in books, especially when it’s so well done like it is in ‘Queen of Coin and Whispers’. There’s some beautiful, tender scenes between the two. I also loved how the relationship dealt with the political side of things.

Queen of Coin and Whispers read to me at times like a political thriller. Full of the inner workings of a queen and her government, it has some great characters and I didn’t know who to trust, it was wonderful. It really kept me intrigued as a reader. With the assassination attempts in queens life and the spymaster trying to solve it, it gave the story and the characters a great dynamic. It all made for a thrilling read.

Can I say how much I loved the characterisation in this book. It didn’t focus on either characters looks, of course they were described, but it was refreshing to read about to two strong, fierce, flawed, intelligent women. Especially in young adult. It’s so desperately needed and Helen Corcoran delivers.

This is Helens debut novel and I can firmly say she has made a fan! To create such a well rounded, intriguing story with fantastic characters, I was hooked from start to finish. I’ll look forward to seeing what she does next. I couldn’t recommend this book more. Don’t miss this one. The perfect read for Pride Month.

Thank you to O’Brien press for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out June 1st.

Until the next review

JTH

#fiction, #literature, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, historical fiction, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

ARC Book Review: People Like Us by Louise Fein

Title: People Like Us

Author: Louise Fein

Length: 496 pages

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Synopsis: Leipzig, 1930s Germany: Hetty Heinrich is a perfect German child. Her father is an SS officer, her brother is in the Luftwaffe. She believes resolutely in her country, and the man who runs it. But Walter changes everything. Blond-haired, blue-eyed, perfect-in-every-way Walter. The boy who saved her life. A Jew. As Hetty falls more deeply in love with a man who is against all she has been taught, she begins to fight against her country, her family and herself. Hetty will have to risk everything to save Walter, even if it means sacrificing herself…

I have to say I really enjoyed this novel.

There were many elements to this book, but for it to really work, it all depends on the love story. I have to be honest and say Hetty and Walter fell in love pretty quickly, I can say I believed it. Especially as the novel went on. It was a sweet romance, that I wanted to have a happy ending.

Hetty is a great character to follow. I really believed she was following her heart and I loved the slow, gradual build up of strength to fight for what she felt was right. It was a beautiful transition to read. I also loved her friend, Erna. I Loved that she was a resistance fighter. I adored the friendship they had. I loved the connection. between these two characters.

I though it was really interesting to place this novel at the time of the rise of the Nazi and not the war. It gave it a different perspective and I loved it. Also the the fact that her dad was SS officer was also a great plot point for these characters to be in. There was a great moment between Hetty and Erna where they told each other about being in the resistance and they weren’t sure if they could trust each other.

The ending. I’m not going to spoil anything but they really made me cry. You just find out so much, and it’s done in the most heartfelt way. It’s a testament to the writing and made me really realise how much I believed in the characters on this book. I was really pleased with the ending. I actually really think it was the perfect ending.

Louise has written a very atmospheric book, that captures the fear and hatred but it also manages to hold onto hope and love. It’s filled with lots of historical details, which I absolutely loved.

I can’t recommend enough. For fans of historical fiction and romance. It’s beautiful with a great ending.

Thanks too Head of Zeus for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now on ebook and comes out in August if you’d like a physical copy.

Until the next review

JTH

#literature, author, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, historical fiction, review, Uncategorised, ya

ARC Book Review + Blog Tour: The Forgotten Sister by Nicola Cornick

Title: The Forgotten Sister

Author: Nicola Cornick

Length: 400 pages

Publisher: HQ

Synopsis: 1560: Amy Robsart is trapped in a loveless marriage to Robert Dudley, a member of the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Surrounded by enemies and with nowhere left to turn. Amy hatches a desperate scheme to escape- one with devastating consequences that will echo through the centuries. Present day: When Lizzie Kingdom is forced to withdraw from the public eye in a blaze of scandal, it seems her life is over. But she’s about to encounter a young man, Johnny Robsart, whose fate will interlace with hers in the most unexpected of ways. For Johnny is certain that Lizzie is linked to a terrible secret dating back to Tudor times. If Lizzie is brave enough to go in search of the truth, then what she discovers will change the course of their lives forever.

I am super excited to be on the Blog Tour for this book with HQ and all these other wonderful bloggers, so make sure you check them out.

Told in two different periods of History, we follow Issey (present day) and Amy (1545) as one tries to clear her name, and the other fights to get her life back.

I love historical fiction and the premise for this book sounded so good, and very intriguing. It certainly didn’t disappoint.

I definitely connected, and was much more interested in the present day storyline than the 1945 storyline at the beginning. The present day was really gripping and it had so many twists and turns that I just never knew what was going to happen. I loved it. Throughout the novel I was interested to see how they would connect. I was a little unsure at first about the ‘psychic’ element to the book, but it was done really well and I ended up enjoying it. It added another level to this book.

Both Issey and Amy were both fantastic to follow. They were both so different, yet fighting for the same thing, the life they both actually want. They were both so strong, and I love the character development of Issey. I love to read about a character that really gets to know themselves and it was done really well in this book.

I loved also that Amy was a real life person (as are most of the characters in the historical fiction part of the book) but no one knows what happened to Amy and I love that Nicola decided to give her a voice, it makes my history loving heart very happy.

I don’t want to give too much away and spoil it for you, you’ll find out what happens when you read it but I really enjoyed the ending. I definitely didn’t see it coming, but it made total sense. Then it wrapped it up really nicely and sweetly. I also love that the same names were you used in both periods in the book. I thought that was really clever.

I would definitely recommend this book. It’s perfect for fans of historical fiction, who love some mystery and romance.

Thanks for HQ for the copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now.

Until the next review

JTH

blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, gay, historical fiction, lgbt, review, thriller, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

April Wrap Up

Well my fellow readers, I think it’s fair to say it’s been a strange month right? I know most of us have been or still are on lockdown. I know, in terms of reading, it’s affected everyone differently. I’ve had ups and downs. I’ve had times where I all I wanted to do was read, and others where I haven’t even wanted to look at a book.

I’ve been off work, so I’ve managed to read more than ever this month. I read 14 books. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to read that many. But again, it’s just because of circumstances that it’s happened. I’ll definitely take it as a win.

Anyway, let’s chat about them shall we?

You Will Be Safe Here by Damian Barr. This was good, it could’ve been great but was a little mix matched for me. Although the ending was brilliant, I just wanted the whole book to be like that. The connection just didn’t feel right throughout. It’s out now.

The Intoxicating Mr Lavelle by Neil Blackmore. This was good, there were parts I really enjoyed. But revolves around Mr Lavelle and I absolutely hated him. So it made the book feel a little off. Ugh, I really hated him. This one is out on ebook now and published in August.

The Prisoner’s Wife by Maggie Brookes. I really enjoyed this one. It was a super emotional, intense read. It gave a different side of the story to WW2. A great piece of historical fiction. It’s out now.

Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez. Oh I loved this book. I loved, loved, loved it. It was just brilliant. I hope it’s nominated for all the prizes. I adored it. It’s out now.

The Revolt by Clara DuPont-Monod. I like my historical fiction detailed and this certainly was. It’s very short, about 190 pages but it kinda lost me after 130 pages. But it was good. Out May 12th.

Only You by Kate Eberlen. I really enjoyed this one. It was sweet, romantic and emotional. It was the perfect escape for these times and made me feel like I was walking the streets in Rome. It’s out now.

Love is For Losers by Wibke Brueggemann. A fresh and funny f/f romance that’s got a lot of heart. I did really like this one. Although at times felt a little long. It’s out 2021.

People Like Us by Louise Fein. This is a great historical fiction book. Again, a different look at the Nazi approach to telling the story. It had a really wonderful ending. Made me emotional. This out May 7th.

Writers & Lovers by Luly King. This was a quiet book, I didn’t realise how much I was enjoying it until things started to work out for the main character and I was pleased. It definitely grew on me. It’s out May 28th.

Camp by L.C. Rosen. Fantastic, absolutely fantastic. The kind of book I wished I had when I was younger. Unashamedly queer and beautiful. I highly recommend. It’s out May 28th.

Ashes by Christopher De Vinck. This was good, with a sweet ending but wasn’t the best historical fiction book. Parts of it felt rushed. I can’t even really remember what happened in it now. It was okay. It’s out May 28th.

The Magnificent Sons by Justin Myers. I hated this book. Hated it. Hated it. It was boring, bland and dull. Unlikeable characters I cared nothing about. It put me in a reading slump. I never want to think about this book again. It’s out May 28th.

The Stray Cats of Homs by Eva Nour. This was good, but not great. It captures the horror of what’s happening really well, but there’s was something missing and I don’t know what. I have a feeling I won’t remember this book in a few weeks. It’s out May 7th.

Hideous Beautiful by William Hussey. This was another great queer fiction book. Full of mystery and intrigue with a great love story. I definitely recommend this one. It’s out May 28th.

So that’s it. That’s my month. Definitely a few hits and definitely a few misses. One even put me in a reading slump for a few days! Ugh, I hated that book with a passion. But oh well, there’s better books out there.

I hope you’re all safe and well and enjoying your reading as much as you can.

Until the next review

JTH

#literature, blog, book blog, book blogger, book review, books, bookstagram, gay, historical fiction, lgbt, queer, review, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review: ‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’ by Ocean Vuong.

Title: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

Author: Ocean Vuong

Length: 256 pages

Publisher: Jonathon Cape

I had this book on my shelf for a while and I wanted to read it before the end of the 2019 and I managed to sneak it in and I couldn’t be more pleased I did.

Synopsis: ‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’ is a letter written from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born – a history whose epicentre is rooted in Vietnam – and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class and masculinity. Asking questions central to the American moment, immersed as it is in addiction, violence and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness.

‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’ is a letter written from a son to his mother. But for me, it felt like the son wrote this for himself to save his own soul, and the outcome is exquisite.

So first up, let’s talk about how beautifully this book was written. It’s gorgeous. It felt like I was reading a book of poetry. With lyrical prose and searing honesty it honestly left my speechless at points. I always like to be honest in my blog posts, so I have no shame in telling that it’s beauty made me cry on page 4. Yep, you read that correctly, page 4.

At times when reading this book, it felt like I shouldn’t have been. It felt to personal, to intimate, like I was reading someone’s diary. I mean all this in the best possible way, it’s a testament to the wonderful writing and storytelling of Ocean. It was like reading 242 pages of the characters soul. It really was beautiful. Yet it was also expansive, it felt like the story between mother and son, yet it’s somehow encapsulated so much more. Just genius. It also deals with the unpleasant side of their relationship. It details the abuse, the trauma. It shows him realise that she was more than just him mother, but a person who had been through her own trauma. But the overall out come for me, I felt was love.

There was a love story in this book, that was stunning. It was so real. It was the kind of lone that was never shared between anyone but Little Dog and his lover Trevor. It was full of first love and experimentation. What makes it outstanding is that it perfectly captures that feeling of first love. And because it was a gay love story, it was different. Different in the sense that the love was never said out loud, it was just felt. Although the characters didn’t even know it themselves. That’s what makes it wonderful. How Ocean captures this perfectly.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It was just beautiful and heartbreaking. Searingly honest and gorgeously written. It’s made both my top five queers reads of the year and my top ten overall reads of the year. Don’t let this one pass you by. It’s short but gloriously sweet.

It’s out now.

Until the next review

JTH

blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, historical fiction, review, Uncategorised, ya

ARC Book Review: The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Title: The Book of Longings

Author: Sue Monk Kidd

Length: 432 pages

Publisher: Tinder Press

Synopsis: Ana is a rebellious young woman, a gifted writer with a curious mind, who writes secret narratives about the neglected and silenced women around her. Raised in a wealthy family in Galilee, she is sheltered from the brutality of Rome’s occupation. Ana is expected to marry an elderly widower to further her father’s ambitions, a prospect that horrifies her. An eco inter with the eighteen-year-old Jesus changes everything: his ideas and his passion are intoxicating.

I should start by saying I’m a huge, HUGE Sue Monk Kidd fan. I absolutely adore every fiction novel she’s written. ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ started my love for reading, and ‘The Book of Longings’ is easily my most anticipated read of the year.

In The Book of Longings, we follow Ana who meets a man called Jesus and falls in love and marries him. But the real love of Ana’s life is writing.

This book is absolutely beautiful. It’s called The Book of Longings and it’s so apt as you can the feel the longing on every page. I didn’t know I needed to read a book about the wife of Jesus, but it turns out I really did. It’s such an interesting premise for a book. I’ve never read a book like it.

Ana is such a wonderful main protagonist to follow. She’s so brave, vibrant. You can’t help but connect with her right away. She wants more out of her life and you as the reader want her to achieve everything she can. There’s also fantastic supporting characters such as Yaltha, Ana’s Aunt who has her own longings. Tabitha, Ana’s friend. They all had such spirit. I adored them all.

The story is also beautiful. It’s got a beautiful flow to it. It feels like you’re getting a different view on history. It was also incredibly interesting to see a different side to Jesus.

This is a historical fiction novel, but it felt so modern. I loved the juxtaposition of ancient times to the characters modern attitudes. The novel was full of powerful, complex women. Women who wouldn’t of even been given the chance to have a voice back then. Sue has done it for them. The relationship between Ana and Yaltha is truly something special. It might, aside from the writing, have been the highlight of this book for me. You could feel how much they care for each other, how much they respect one another. It’s a joy to read.

The Book of Longings is all about Ana finding her voice, but in this book Sue Monk Kidd finds hers. She absolutely writes from the depths of her soul and you can feel. So many times I had to pause to really take in a sentence. It often made me cry at its beauty. I just love the way Sue writes.

I can’t recommend this book enough, if you’re already a fan of Sue Monk Kidd then this book will make you love her even more. Or if you’re looking for a book that’s heartfelt, powerful and original, then this is definitely the book for you.

This book will stay with you. Long after you’ve finished it. I still think of Ana often. What a testament to the writing and storytelling of Sue Monk Kidd. It’s incredible.

Thank you so much to Caitlin at Tinder Press for a copy of this boil in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now. Don’t miss this one.

Until the next review

JTH

#literature, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, historical fiction, review, Uncategorised, ya

ARC Book Review: The Prisoner’s Wife by Maggie Brookes

Title: The Prisoner’s Wife

Author: Maggie Brookes

Length: 396 pages

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Synopsis: 1944, Czechoslovakia. In the dead of night, a Czech farm girl and a British soldier creep through abandoned villages. They were never mean to meet, let alone fall in love. But when Bill was brought to work on Izobela’s family farm as a prisoner of war, their chemistry was undeniable. Before they could be torn apart forever, they marry in secret and go on the run. Their only hope for safety is to reach Izobela’s father and brother, fighting deep in the countryside as partisans. But when their luck runs out, they are delivered straight into the hands of the Nazis. But they still refuse to separate, and have prepared for this moment. Izobela’s hair has been shorn and she wears men’s clothing, posing as an escaped and mute British soldier. The secret lovers are transported to a Nazi POW camp deep in German territory, and if Izabela is discovered, a fate far worse than death awaits both her and Bill. The gravity of the their situation soon becomes chillingly apparent, and it will require the help of their fellow POW to maintain their deception, and all their love, devotion and strength to withstand the trails to come. Because should they fail, Izobela and Bill will have put far more than just themselves in danger…

In The Prisoner’s Wife we follow the story of Izzy, a Czech farm girl and Bill, a prisoner of war. As they fall in love and begin an epic journey and a fight for their survival.

This book turned up at my door as a surprise and I’m so glad it did. It was a thrilling, heart wrenching yet beautiful read. I couldn’t put it down, but I didn’t want it to end.

The love story between Bill and Izzy is one for the ages. It was so tender, passionate and generous. They sacrificed so much for each other. It was beautifully written as well, it was understated and it made more believeable. They never give up fighting for each other. You are willing them to survive, so they can have wonderful life together.

I absolutely loved how the fellow British POWs helped protect Izzy as she hid in Bills camp to stay close to him (see I told you it was a great love story). It gave the novel a real uplifting feel. I also loved how Bill, Izzy, Max, and Ralph became such a team. It was a joy to read. I wanted them all to survive and stay together. They way the all looked out for Izzy and each other was absolutely fantastic. It was the highlight of the novel for me. It really captures the tenacity of the human spirit. Maggie managed to create some tender moments for them amongst the brutality.

This historical fiction novel has been researched meticulously and it adds so much to the story. Maggie has made the story so detailed and accurate, it was outstanding. There are many books out there set in this period of history, but I haven’t read any from the British POW point of view and I loved it. It was so refreshing to see a different side to this story.

The fact that is book is based on a true story makes it all the more heartbreaking. Maggie perfectly captures the horror these POWs had to go through yet when you finish the book, you are somehow filled with hope. It’s a testament to the great writing.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s everything you want it to be. I’ve read a lot of historical fiction novels this year, and it’s definitely one of the best. You won’t to miss this one.

This book is being published on April 16th, in time for the 75th anniversary of VE Day (May 8th) and the end of WWII.

Thank you so much to Penguin Random House for sending me this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out April 16th (now).

Until the next review

JTH

#fiction, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, historical fiction, review, Uncategorised, ya

ARC Book Review: ‘Conjure Women’ by Afia Atakora

Title: Conjure Women

Author: Afia Atakora

Length: 416 pages

Publisher: 4th Estate Books

Synopsis: Freedomtime, 1867. Rue is a midwife and healer, living with other former slaves on the only land she knows, an old plantation where the burned ruins of a once-grand mansion are silent sentinel to a bygone world. Rue protects the secrets she’s carried since before the war, the memories of her strange friendship with the master’s daughter, Varina, and the loss of her mother, May Belle, who taught her everything she knows about the gathering of herbs for healing and the crafting of curses. Rue’s quiet life is disrupted by the birth of a pale child with black eyes, a charismatic travelling preacher and a devastating sickness that haunts her community. Slaverytime, 1854. Slaves and even masters visit May Belle to benefit from her healing powers- as well as from her uncanny ability to cast misfortune on those who deserve it. But May Belle’a talents put her and the man she loved in harm’s way. On the eve of the war, tragedy strikes, and a reckoning comes for May Belle, Rue, and the people on the plantation.

In Conjure Women, we follow the character of Rue who after her mother dies and slavery ends, becomes the towns healer.

I adored this book. I love pieces of fiction set in this historical period, especially if they are done right, and Conjure Women is. One of the best I’ve read in a long time.

I will say this book has a bit of a slow start, it took me a while to get into the story. But once I did, it was just brilliant. Obviously now I’ve finished the book I’ve realised there was so much foreshadowing of what’s to come in the plot, it was brilliant. There’s a few things in the plot I won’t spoil for you, I’ll let you be captivated by the story for yourself.

Conjure Women if full of fantastic characters. The main protagonists, Rue is a character I won’t forget for a long time. You can’t help but connect with her. You spend most of the novel wishing Rue could see the power that’s inside of her. May belle is fantastic too. She’s this strong, ethereal women but all she really wants so to love her husband freely. Characterisation is brilliant throughout.

Towards the end, this book becomes a real page turner. I just had to know how these characters stories would end. It all comes together so well. It truly had some moments that shocked me. It also had moments that made me cry, that broke my heart. I was surprised at the intricacy of it all. The story is weaved together incredibly well, giving it the perfect finish.

Afia’s writing draws you in and doesn’t let you go. The story takes place in different times throughout Rue’s life, ‘Slavery’, ‘Freedometime’, ‘Wartime’ and a few others. Afia, gave herself the hard task of capturing the atmosphere of these times, but she pull it off perfectly. In Slavery, she captures the repression, the fear, the longing. In Wartime, she captures the unknowing, the unsettlement. In Freedomtime, she captures the confusion, the hostility. It’s remarkable. The heart that pours out of the novel and writing is tremendous. Let’s not forget this is a debut novel too. Such talent.

A great piece of historical fiction, I’ve said it before but it’s the best I’ve read in a while. It’s in a league of its own. I highly recommend. I can’t wait to see what Afia Atakora does next. It’s out April 16th.

Thank you to 4th Estate for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review.

Until the next review

JTH