Challenge Participant


Thursday 22 June 2023

Maybe Tomorrow by Penny Parkes


What a difference a year could make…

Jamie Matson had once enjoyed a wonderful life working alongside her best friend, organising adventures for single-parent families, and her son Bo’s artistic flair a source of pride rather than concern.

She hadn’t been prepared to lose her business, her home, and her friend. Not all in one dreadful year. And now she finds herself reeling - rebuilding her world, with Bo at its heart - swallowing her pride and asking for help.

Jamie certainly hadn’t expected to find such hope and camaraderie in the queue at her local Food Bank - thrown together with an unlikely and colourful group of people - all of them struggling to get by, yet still determined to reclaim their lost careers and agency over their lives. Even if just choosing their own groceries again is a goal they can all share.

As their friendships flourish, they quickly find it’s easier to be objective about each other than about themselves, and decide that - when you’re all out of options - it’s okay to bend the rules a little and create your own.

A story of friendship, possibilities, and hope, that maybe tomorrow will be brighter than today...

Today I am really pleased to be taking part in Book and the City's blog tour to celebrate the publication of Penny Parkes latest novel, Maybe Tomorrow.

I first became aware of Penny Parke's great storytelling as I visited The Practice in Beckerford and really enjoyed the Larkford series of books set in a small doctor's practice, where a cast of doctors and their patients went through everyday life. However, following that series, this is Penny's second standalone novel and I really think her writing is just getting better and better.

Maybe Tomorrow is a novel, set in current times, where many are having to close their small businesses and face the struggle of increasing rent and food prices and just getting by with a boring, minimum wage job, while trying to make ends meet as life throws obstacles in the way.

Meet Jamie, a single parent to her son, Bo. Jamie was a woman who loved life, enjoyed being self employed but unfortunately she has found herself in a damp flat, which is causing her son to have regular nightly hospital visits, which in turn make it difficult for her to work in the upmarket supermarket, where it is too expensive for her to shop herself, and each month struggles to pay her bills. That is before you meet the creepy landlord. This all culminates in her loosing her job and being faced with an impossible rent increase. Regular trips to the local foodbank provide food, warmth and increasingly a circle of friends who all look out for each other. A chance spotting of a property for rent in the local estate agents window leads to Jamie making a phone call to enquire, which literally changes her life for the better.

I really enjoyed Maybe Tomorrow. It is a story that is relevant to so many of us following the pandemic. I really enjoyed Penny's story telling and the cast of characters were a perfect mix of people, who could be found in any neighbourhood in the UK today. It shines a light on foodbanks, highlighting that they are more than just a building to get free food - there are communities being built in them, they can be a one stop shop for getting help and advice. 

The book gives everyone hope, that their are people around who are willing to help others, that help is available to all at this time and most importantly that it is ok to ask for help, to visit foodbanks and to offer to support others during this time. As a well known supermarket says.'Every little helps' and it is ok to ask for help and that this help may come from the most unusual places. 

The book also imparts the important message about giving back, once you are back on your feet, repay the generosities of others and offer support and advice to others in similar situations.  

As mentioned above, the book has many themes and messages, but they are all dealt with in a sympathetic and non-condescending manner. Maybe Tomorrow is a lovely story that can be read in one sitting, on a sun drenched sun lounger or a wet summer's afternoon. It another brilliant read by Penny Parkes and I recommend it to all.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster, Books and the City and Netgalley for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Monday 6 March 2023

One Enchanted Evening by Katie Fforde (Blog Tour)

What does March mean to me? It is my mum's birthday, mother's day and time for a new Katie Fforde hardback release!!!!  

Regular readers of my blog will know that I am a huge fan of Katie Fforde. I always look forward to  it with great anticipation and when I heard that 2023's release was going to be the third book (previous titles were A Wedding in the Country and a Wedding in Provence) featuring  Meg, Lizzie and Alexandra , a group of girls who met on a cookery course in London. The book series is set in the 1960's, a different style of novel from Katie Fforde, but it is full of Katie's usual easy to read style of writing with strong female characters and the perfect book to curl up with in the cold winter afternoons or to relax on a sun lounger under the hot summer sun. 

Ever since she can remember, Meg has wanted to be a professional cook.

But it's 1964, and in restaurant kitchens all over England it is still a man's world.

Then she gets a call from her mother who is running a small hotel in Dorset.

There's an important banqueting event coming up. She needs help and she needs it now!

When Meg arrives, the hotel seems stuck in the past. But she loves a challenge, and sets to work.

Then Justin, the son of the hotel owner, appears, determined to take over the running of the kitchen.

Infuriated, Meg is determined to keep cooking - and soon sparks between them begin to fly.

Will their differences be a recipe for disaster? After all, the course of true love never did run smooth...

I was very happy to find that One Enchanted Evening was again, a brilliant read. I loved meeting back up with Alexandra, Lizzie and Meg and to find that Meg was going to take centre stage, helping her mum out in the small hotel in Dorset, where the running of the hotel was left to her mum following the owner's trip away due to a death in the family. On the first day Meg was confronted by the owner's son, Justin, who did not appear to like Meg's ideas for the kitchen and the menu for an upcoming banquet.  Of course, this is the 1960's where women in professional kitchens, in the top positions were not veryj often seen. There appears to be an ulterior motive in Justin's behaviour but will there be a happy ending for Meg, her mum and Justin?

I really recommend this book to all book lovers who enjoy Katie Fforde's books or those who enjoy women's fiction in general. Although this is the third book featuring the three ladies, this book can be read as a stand alone book or in order but nothing is lost from not reading the others first. 

There are so many good characters in this book. I really liked the French chef, who Meg was due to work with, under his tutorage before she had the call from her mum asking for help. One of the hotel's residence, Ambrosine, was a fascinating character, who's back story began in WW2 and was a key part of the story's end. 

I don't know what Katie has planned for her next book but I have really enjoyed this trip back to the 1960's. I know Katie was nervous of taking her writing in this style, but I really hope she has had lots of readers expressing their love for these stories and that she may consider writing more set in the 1960's or 1970's. I would love to see where Meg, Alexandra and Lizzie's lives go next. They each have their own storylines, with them living in different countries and have families of their own but i am sure that they have many more stories to tell.

One Enchanted Evening by Katie Fforde is out 2nd March, published by Century in hardback, priced £16.99

Thank you to both Random House and Net Galley, along with Ed PR for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Thursday 2 February 2023

Blog Tour - Never Go Back by Jessie Keane


Today I am really excited to be taking part in the blog tour for Jessie Keane's hard back publication of Never Go Back, which features book lovers' favourite gangland drama families, The Carters.

Jessie Keane is a Sunday Times bestselling author and has written 17 books, all of which are bestsellers.

Gangster Max Carter and his ex-wife Annie Carter are leading separate lives – Annie in New York and Max in London; their tempestuous relationship and past hurts too much to bear. But after news of a tragic death, both are forced to question everything they know about each other, and their colourful past. 

Max had two brothers – both are now dead. His closest friend has been found hanging from a London bridge. As the police wrestle with a seemingly unsolvable case, Max is forced to find answers to a mystery that seems to make no sense at all. Who is targeting his family and why? 

Annie Carter is at a crossroads in life. She has a luxurious lifestyle but no one to share it with, and Max clearly thinks she is in danger too. Her daughter, Layla, has left her mafia lover Alberto Barolli and is back in London, stumbling into the police investigation and making waves. You should ‘never go back’, so the old saying goes. But then, the Carter women don’t follow the rules, they make them. 

When the truth is finally revealed, will the Carter family stand together – or will it finish them for good?

I have read a couple of Jessie's back catalogue but haven't caught up on them all yet, however I found this book a great read without knowing all the background of previous books. It can be read as a standalone book, however it has whetted my appeitite to go back and read them all so I know who's who and the history of the gangland history that surrounds the Carter family.

I loved so many of the themes that are included within this book, the dark and intense gangland scene, the subsequent violence that it involves and the strong family loyalty that lies within. There is, of course, betrayal and divided loyalty behind much of the action and Jessie really draws the reader in and places them right in the heart of the story, amid the violence and old family values that are found in the London gangland scene. 

If you are looking for a gritty, hard hitting and unputdownable read I highly recommend Never Go Back, but be warned, it is one of those books that you have to read just one more chapter at night.

Never Go Back by Jessie Keane is out 2nd February, published by Hodder in hardback, priced £16.99.

Thank you to EDPR for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday 9 November 2022

A Wedding in Provence by Katie Fforde


Can love at first sight, lead to happy ever after?

 1963. Alexandra is in Paris – the city of love – for a short break before she heads to a Swiss finishing school that her relations are insisting she attends. Hoping to extend her time in the city, she accepts a job as a nanny; only to discover that the position is, in fact, at a chateau in Provence, and her employer is an impossibly good-looking French Comte. With no nannying experience and three silent, unfriendly children awaiting her care, Alexandra certainly has a challenge on her hands – but she’s ready to step up and do the best she can, if only to delay her arrival in Switzerland. 

 Once she settles into the beautiful chateau she soon warms to the children and, finding that they don’t go to school, sends for her friend David to help tutor them English, who brings his friend Jack to teach music and maths. All seems to be going well, until their father Antoine arrives home – and Alexandra realises she is inappropriately but rapidly falling in love . . . As Christmas approaches, can Alexandra be true to her feelings?

Before I start my review, I will give one caveat - Katie Fforde is one of my top three favourite authors and look forward to each new release with lots of excitement. I know that when I pick up a Katie Fforde read, I am going to enjoy it and I always devour it much too quickly.

Why do I love Katie Fforde's books so much? The answer is easy, Katie Fforde always immerses herself in her research. Each book has a new occupation or lifestyle within and, I know, that Katie has spent hours, weeks and months researching the theme to give the reader the opportunity to learn about it, along with a great cast of characters for us all to meet. I have read all of Katie's books and always know that when i want a cosy read or something to get me out of a reading slump that Katie is a firm favourite.

A Wedding In Provence is a fantastic read. I loved visiting France and setting it in the 1960's added another dimension to the experience. There was a multigenerational cast, each with their own little story within the book - I really liked the ex-mother-in-law of the family's father. She was a great character who I would of loved to have met. She certainly met her match with Alexandra!

Although the storyline is basically a love story, Katie Fforde's books are always so much than that and I would heartily recommend it as a great book to curl up with this Christmas. I will be gifting this title to my mum this Christmas as she too is also a Katie Fforde fan.

Thank you to Penguin, Ed PR and Netgalley for sending me this book to review, in return for an honest review.

Thursday 15 April 2021

A Postcard From Paris by Alex Brown


I have been a fan of Alex Brown's from her very first novel, enjoying the busy Carrington's department store before moving on and visiting Tindledale village on many occasions, so when I was asked to take part in the blog tour to celebrate the publication of 'A Postcard From Paris' I jumped at the chance.

A Postcard From Paris is Alex's latest book and I really believe her books are just getting better and better. The story begins is written along two time lines with two narrators: Joanie in the present day and the mysterious Beatrice Crawford (Trixie) who lived through both World Wars and, for some reason unknown to Joanie has left her her Perfumery and luxuriant home in the heart of Paris.

I am not going to give away any of the story lines as I would love all of my  blog readers to enjoy the secrets and magic for themselves. Alex has very cleverly bought back the department store Carrington's and also the beautiful Tindledale village into this book and it is lovely to be reminded of books gone by. They are slipped seamlessly into the storyline

I loved Trixie's diary entrires which were used to tell Trixie's story and it added another dimension to the story as her thoughts, feelings and emotions are retold. I love books that include these kind of entries into their stories - what a great way to learn about pre and post war time Paris! Alex must of done hours of research into this period and it has really added to this beautiful book.

I read this book very quickly and I will confess, I had to message Alex at 10pm in the evening to tell her just how much I loved A Postcard From Paris. Her descriptions of Joanie wandering around Paris taking in the scenery reminded me so much so of my own honeymoon in Paris over 20 years ago. Alex bought the sights and sounds of Paris into my imagination and has lit a need to revisit Paris in the future with my lovely husband.

I would love all of my blog readers to join Alex, Trixie and Joanie in Paris and the publishers, Harper Collins, have very kindly given me an extract to share with my blog readers while you wait for your copy to arrive. So sit back and get ready to be transported to Paris ..................

Tindledale, in rural England, 1916

Beatrice Crawford craved adventure. Yearning to escape the confines of her provincial young ladyhood and find her purpose, to be a positive influence in the world. A woman of substance, just like Lady Dorothy Fields, the inimitable, flame-haired woman who had ignited the dimly lit village hall earlier this evening with a very rousing speech. Beatrice had listened intently as Lady Dorothy had talked about her nursing work with the Voluntary Aid Detachment, or VAD, carrying out her patriotic duty to look after the brave soldiers fighting in fields far away for King and Country in the Great War. 

 After buttoning up her cotton nightie, Beatrice sat at her dressing table and brushed out her ebony curls then, securing them away from her face with a tortoiseshell clip, she pressed cold cream over her cheeks and  neck, sweeping down and across her collar bones. Going over in her mind the events of such an extraordinary evening, she recalled with wonder the atmosphere in the village hall. It had been quite thrilling. An audience of young women just like her, suffragettes too, with little tricolour brooches pinned to their lapels, sat shoulder-to-shoulder, all united in their desire to do so much more for the war effort than endure a stifling life made up of endless tedious occupations such as light domestic work or embroidering samplers in silent drawing rooms. Her younger companion, Queenie, the housekeeper’s niece, who was already doing her bit by working in an ammunitions factory in the nearby town of Market Briar, had almost missed out on hearing Lady Dorothy’s speech. Queenie had arrived late and in a fluster, discreetly brushing a sheen of fine raindrops from her wool beret and gloves, whispering a grateful, ‘Thank you, Trixie,’ before sliding onto the chair that Beatrice had saved for her at the end of the row. Exchanging a clandestine glance, Beatrice had pressed her friend’s hand in reply, both of them knowing and secretly delighting in their small act of defiance. For Beatrice’s stepmother, Iris, had forbidden Queenie from using ‘Trixie’ as a suitable pet name for her stepdaughter, citing it ‘undignified, and quite common!’ But Beatrice liked being Trixie:  it made her feel more alive, jolly and without constraint, and so the two friends had continued with it whenever Iris was out of earshot.

 Beatrice and Queenie had forged an unlikely friendship five years ago when Iris had insisted that the then 13-year-old Beatrice ‘must be perfectly fluent in at least two languages if she were to be a refined debutante and catch a suitable husband.’ Eight-year- old Queenie, known to be a quick-witted and fast-learning young girl, with a tumble of auburn curls and sparkling, impish green eyes, was brought in from the village each day to be taught French and High German, in order that Beatrice might practise her own conversational skills. As for Beatrice’s rudimentary French and German writing skills, they had been deemed beyond hope and were to be forgotten about forthwith. Even though Beatrice’s stepmother was French, she was far too engaged in a hectic social life – which frequently took her to glamorous parties in London, Paris, Monte Carlo and beyond – to idle away her time on academia, especially when, according to Iris, Beatrice hadn’t ‘shown enough flair in her younger years’. Iris had also declared that revision was a tedious waste of time, and that Beatrice should show humility and recompense for her shortcomings by learning alongside an uneducated and much younger village girl, who would most  likely pick it all up in half the time that it had taken Beatrice. ‘So that ought to keep you on your toes!’

 So, together with her French and German conversational skills, thanks to her insistent stepmother and Swiss governess, Miss Paulette, there were now only ten lectures and ten lessons in first aid and nursing standing between Beatrice and her ambition to help the soldiers fighting on the front line in France. Not that it was imperative to have language skills, but Beatrice thought it might give her a little something extra to offer, and Lady Dorothy had explained that it wasn’t only English-speaking soldiers who required nursing. There were Frenchmen too. Some German soldiers, prisoners of war, as well. Of course, she would need practical first-aid training. A hospital in London perhaps, that’s what Lady Dorothy had recommended, to get a foot in the door and to show her mettle. And they really were rather keen to recruit volunteers. 

 Drawing her knees up to her chest and placing her slippered feet on the edge of the velvet cushioned chair, Beatrice wrapped her arms around her legs and hugged the feeling of possibility into her, for she could see a way forward now. It was as if a light had been switched on deep within her, sparking a frisson of hope that she felt barely able to contain. Not that the bleak  battlefields of France were a cause for elation. Certainly not. No, it was very much more than that. She had to do something. The newspapers were full of lists. The names of soldiers killed in the trenches. Pages and pages of men, some only mere boys. Thousands on the very first day of the war in 1914 and it had been relentless ever since. Fathers. Sons. Cousins. Uncles. Nephews. Her own dear brother, Edward, having enlisted at the start of the war, had mercifully been missing from the lists so far. But for how much longer? Beatrice carried a perpetual sense of foreboding that seemed impossible to shake off. Although, for the first time in her life, she felt that she also had an opportunity, a sense of purpose. 

 Of course, Father would protest, preferring she marry Clement Forsyth, the odious son of his banker in London, but how could she when her heart was with another? A secret love. Because Bobby worked in the stables, mucking out and tending to the horses, and so would never be suitable husband material as far as Father was concerned. Beatrice’s heart had almost broken in two when Bobby had gone away to fight for his country, and not a moment went by when she didn’t think of him, wrapping an imaginary shield of safety around his beautiful body so he would return to her arms once more. The only comfort being that Bobby and Edward were together in the same PALS battalion. Queenie’s older brother, Stanley, too, along with many of the other men from the village, with their camaraderie to keep their spirits up until they could return home. Beatrice treasured the photograph of Bobby that she kept hidden inside her diary, alongside the pages where she had written about her endless love for him. 

 Instead there was Clement, who had pursued Beatrice from first seeing her at 17 years old in the exquisite gown of white satin with lace trim that Iris had shipped over from Paris especially for the Queen Charlotte’s Ball, the pinnacle event of the debutante season. He had been relentless from then on, constantly calling on Beatrice at home and always appearing by her side at society events – Royal Ascot, Henley Regatta, King George’s coronation gala, not to mention all the other balls at various grand estates and castles that she had been wheeled out to by her overbearing stepmother. And woe betide if another ‘debs’ delight’ so much as glanced in Beatrice’s direction, for Clement had become insufferable in warning them off with one of his supercilious glares and a territorial hand on her arm. Fortunately, all talk of marriage had been suspended for now since conscription had started on 2 March and Clement had reluctantly taken a commission in the army. And Beatrice’s stepmother would protest even more to her going to France, branding her desire to volunteer as a nonsensical notion that should be stopped at once, of that Beatrice was certain. 

 ‘It’s not becoming for a young lady of your standing to take up such menial work. Mopping floors and changing soiled bed linen. Whatever next! Your poor father, having to shoulder such embarrassment from his own flesh and blood is quite unforgivable. And if you refuse to give up such whimsical ideas and continue to rebuff a perfectly suitable marriage proposition, then I fear you will become too old and contrary for any respectable gentleman to consider taking as a wife. You will spend the rest of your days as a spinster!’ is what Iris had spluttered in outrage over supper one evening when Beatrice had first mooted the possibility, some months ago, of her helping out at the Red Cross auxiliary hospital set up in the Stanway Rectory on the outskirts of the village. Beatrice remembered the evening vividly, because later, in the privacy of her bedroom suite, she had written down her stepmother’s hurtful words in the diary which she kept locked in a burr-walnut wood writing slope that had belonged to her darling mother, and now to her. Spinster! Beatrice had even underlined the word several times and had then spent a great deal of  8 time pondering on whether being a spinster might not be the curse that Iris perceived it to be. Especially if she couldn’t be with Bobby and the alternative was to be the reluctant wife of Clement Forsyth. 

 Beatrice was only 18 years old and a young lady should be 23 to be accepted for an overseas voluntary nursing post, Lady Dorothy had explained. But with her nineteenth birthday next month, Beatrice was determined to find a way around the rule and would increase her age if required to do so. She wasn’t usually one for lying but if that is what it took, then so be it. And the other women in the hall had spoken about this after the meeting with such nonchalance, declaring it impolite to ask a lady her age. It was a minor detail to be disregarded for the greater good of the country. So there really was no time to waste. Beatrice was resolute. With her whole life ahead of her, which was far too precious to fritter away in a suitable but nonetheless loveless marriage, she wondered about romance. And love. True love, like the love she had with Bobby and the love that her mother had shared with her father before her life had been cruelly cut short. 

 Beatrice had only been 4 years old when it had happened, Edward 7 and away at boarding school. Their mother had died giving birth to another daughter who hadn’t survived either, and from then on Beatrice s had felt terribly alone, with long hours spent gazing from her bedroom window, hoping to find a fragment of comfort in the view, out and across the undulating, sun-drenched fields and faraway into the distance, past the wooden water mill that powered through the river, over and over, its melodic rhythm like balm to her grieving young soul. Beatrice had seen a rainbow one time and wondered if over the glistening arc of the petroleum-coloured streaks was where heaven lay, and if she might go there to be reunited with her beautiful mother. 

 She missed her dreadfully. Baking and sketching together, Beatrice had adored sharing these activities with her mother, along with perfume making and flower pressing, where they would wander through the fields to pick wild flowers and mix them into a scented potion, keeping the brightest blooms to slot into the press for drying and applying to scrapbooks. Beatrice still had the scrapbooks but couldn’t bear to look through them after her mother had died. 

 As time had ticked on and Beatrice’s memory of her mother, radiant and enthused with the sweet scent of rose perfume, always with a smile and a kiss for her adoring husband, had faded, Beatrice had grown up and managed to forge a slice of happiness for herself. Immersing herself in her diary-writing and reading  10 books, Little Women being her favourite. Beatrice had drawn strength from the vibrant and strident March sisters, developing a passion for gaiety and curiosity about the joie de vivre that Miss Paulette had spoken of in those French lessons she’d had as a child. 

 Where was all of that now? Beatrice knew there was a shortage of suitable men, thanks to this dreadful war; not that she wanted another man when her true love was Bobby, but she also knew her own mind and that she would most likely go mad if she didn’t take this opportunity to escape. If she were to remain a spinster for the rest of her life then so be it, but at least she would be in charge of steering her own destiny. There really was no other option, for surely she would suffocate into oblivion if she were to end up leading a very insignificant life as the demure wife of a bombastic banker. Besides, there were only so many samplers one could possibly endure embroidering day after day, with just piano recitals and letter writing to break the monotony. She needed more. Much more. And she had very much more to give in return. 

Yes, the decision was made. Beatrice was going to join the VAD. She would volunteer at the rectory hospital first, progress on to a London hospital while completing her training, and then she would broaden her horizons further and travel to France where she  would make beds, change dressings and bathe injured soldiers. And she would feel honoured to do so. She would wear a blue uniform with a pristine white apron and linen cap secured with a safety pin at the nape of her neck and feel extremely efficient, knowing that her work there was worthwhile and of the utmost importance. She nodded her head as if to underline the biggest decision she had ever made in her life. 

 Lady Dorothy had captured Beatrice’s imagination with photographs of herself in her own uniform. In one photograph, Lady Dorothy was even wearing khaki trousers tucked inside long leather boots, just like a man. In another, she was driving a motor ambulance and giving the photographer a rousing wave from the open window. And in that moment, Beatrice knew that she would very much like to have this experience too. She could already drive, having driven Father’s motor car in the grounds around the house. Sidney, the gamekeeper, had shown her the ropes, and she had mastered the steering wheel and brake in no time at all. So, it was settled, Beatrice was to become a woman of substance and make a positive difference at last . . . just as soon as she had Father and Iris onboard with her marvellous escape plan. 

|Thank you to the publishers, Harper Collins. for sending me the book to review in return for an honest review. I really did enjoy it and I hope my blog readers will also enjoy it as much as I do.

Saturday 29 August 2020

The Doctor Will See You Now by Dr Amir Khan


60 hours a week

240 patients

10 minutes to make a diagnosis

Welcome to the surgery.

Charting his 15 years working as a GP, from rookie to becoming a partner in one of the UK's busiest surgeries, Dr Amir Khan's stories are as much about community and care as they are about blood tests and bodily fluids.

Along the way, he introduces us to the patients that have taught him about love, loss and family - from the regulars to the rarities - giving him the most unbelievable highs and crushing lows, and often in just 10 minutes. There is the unsuspecting pregnant woman about to give birth at the surgery; the man offering to drop his trousers and take a urine sample there and then; the family who needs support through bereavement, the vulnerable child who will need continuing care for a long-term health condition; and, of course, the onset of COVID-19 that tested the surgery at every twist and turn. But, it's all in a day's work for Amir.

The Doctor Will See You Now is a powerful story of hope, love and compassion, but it's also a rare insider account of what really goes on behind those surgery doors.

'The Doctor Will See You Now: The highs and lows of my life as an NHS GP' is an account of Dr Amir Khan, a doctor who featured on the popular Channel 5 programme, GP's Behind Doors. 

I watched GP Behind Closed Doors and I must admit, Dr Amir Khan was my favourite GP. He looked to have a very calming demeanor and took time to listen to and explain things to his patients, caring about them and their family. This is again reflected in this book as he talks about how he goes above and beyond for his patients. As I read the book I could hear Amir's voice coming out of the page and I devoured the book very quickly. It is a really well written book and I would love to read another book my Dr Amir Khan to hear more tales of his life in the inner city practice,

There are many great patients included in this book, of course names have been changed, but it really shows how varied the life of a GP really is.  Some of the characters pop up more than once in the book. As it is a book about a GP, there is of course a wide variety of emotions and I found myself empathising and was close to tears on a number of occasions but then found myself laughing out loud in the following chapter. It does show how varied and unusual the life of a GP really is.

There are great stories about Amir's career in General Practice including his first day as a fully fledged GP and not only did he have to tell an unexpected patient that they were pregnant, but also that she was in labour and the birth was imminent. 

The final chapter of the book reflects on the current Coronavirus pandemic and is a heartfelt account of life as a GP during this very difficult time and pays tribute to the NHS and medical profession which I found very poignant.

Thank you to Ebury Publishing for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Saturday 4 January 2020

Maybe I’m scared to be happy…

Meet Hannah – she’s been her mum’s sole carer since she was eighteen. Now alone after Martha’s sudden death, Hannah feels lost in the only place she’s known as home, Hope Street. Coming up to a milestone birthday, she’s wondering what her purpose in life is.

Meet Doug – a workaholic, he’s in the office from dusk ’til dawn, and when he has a heart attack. Now on the mend, he needs to de-stress his life and focus on living it, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Doug moves to Hope Street, number 35. Hannah lives at number 34, directly opposite. From the moment they meet, there’s a spark.

But there are secrets too. Hannah’s mum has been keeping something from her, her sister left over twenty years ago, and there can’t be such a simple reason why Doug has moved to Somerley. Can there?

The Man Across the Street is the first of a new series by bestselling author, Marcie Steele. It features a host of characters living on Hope Street in the market town of Somerley, also featured in The Somerley Series. Each character will have their own standalone story in books to follow.

'The Man Across the Street' is the first book in a new series of books set in Hope Street in Somerley, a market town in England. 

I love books which are part of a series, based in a village or, as this one, a street. I enjoy meeting the characters and having the opputunity to learn more about the residents, their back stories and watching them following their dreams or relationships developing or falling part. I am looking forward to returning to Hope Street again in future books.

The book is an easy read and is relatable to real life, I can picture Hope Street and Hannah and Doug are both characters who could easily live next door to its reader. Marcie Steele has created a fantastic setting and cast of characters.

Marcie Steel is actually Mel Sharratt, a fantastic crime author, who has written a number of gritty crime novels. It is difficult to imagine that this cosy read has written by the same person but they are and I enjoy both sides of Mel's writing!

Thank you to the publisher and to Sarah Hardy of Books on the Bright Side Publicity and PR for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for a copy of the book in return for an honest review.