Book and a Brew with Ritu – Christmas At The Borrow A Bookshop Holiday by @Kiley Dunbar @HeraBooks #NewRelease #BookReview

Trying something a bit different today with my book review… You’ll have to let me know if it should be a regular ‘thing’.

Today, I am thrilled to welcome amazing romance author Kiley Dunbar to my blog for a cuppa and a bit of a chat about all things writerly, especially her newest release, Christmas at the Borrow a Bookshop. it’s out TODAY!

Hello, and welcome to But I Smile Anyway, Kiley! Let’s get you set with a drink first. Now would you prefer a coffee of some sort? I have a Tassimo machine. I can stretch to that! Or maybe a cup of tea, chai latte, or would you like to be brave and have a traditional homemade Indian masala tea?

Hiya Ritu! Thanks so much for having me. It’s been ages since we had a brew and a catch-up! Since I’ve already had my morning coffee, I’d better switch to tea, please, or I’ll get the shakes! Very jealous of your Tassimo machine, though!

Don’t worry. We can try that later if you need a top-up. 😉

If we’re going masala tea, then I can bust out the samosas and pakoras (fried potato and vegetable fritters), but I do have biscuits, specifically shortbread, too!

 Ah, wow! Hit me up with the samosas and pakoras, please! They smell amazing, and I missed breakfast again, a bit of a bad habit I have when I’m in the thick of writing!

I promise the snacks won’t be too spicy. I am a very bad Indian, you know… I can’t handle food that is too hot! Right, here we are. I have fried snacks, the masala tea, and I’ve got a plate of Indian sweets here, too, since we attended a wedding last week, and we were gifted boxes of the stuff! It is very sweet, mind you.

So, the last few years have been pretty busy for you, haven’t they? No less than seven books out, since 2019. Quite a feat! Can you tell me a bit about your journey to getting published? Did you think of going Indie at all, or was it agent then publisher, or publisher direct?

It’s been a whirlwind of writing and publication days since March 2019, when my debut came out. There wasn’t much time to think about anything back when I was writing my debut because it just sort of happened one day in the summer of 2017. I sat down and just started writing a romance. I was compelled to do it! It just sort of poured out, and by Christmas, I had a full draft and no idea what to do with it. I hadn’t heard about agents or indie publishing (I was that clueless) and just sent my manuscript to the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writer’s Scheme for feedback which came back really quickly, and then I rewrote it following their advice and immediately sent it out to publishers who had open submissions (I just googled romance publishers and made a list) then in August 2018 Hera Books expressed an interest and that was it! I was going to have to share my book with actual readers. Gah!

I still remember reading your first book, Kiley. It was fantastic, and because it was set in Stratford-Upon-Avon, which was so close to where I grew up, I felt a real pull to read it. I am so glad I did because you are now one of my have-to-read authors!

How does that compare with your experiences, Ritu? I am in awe of your writing journey. Do you agree that the very best thing about debuting is that people are finally going to be able to read your book, and that’s also the very worst thing about it too? Ha ha!

Oh, goodness, my journey was a winding one, starting in the year 2000… Yes I am ancient, I know (and hitting 47 on Saturday, too!) I always wanted to write but didn’t know where to start. the first few chapters of what became Marriage Unarranged were written then, but the manuscript didn’t get completed until 2018! This is also the reason why my books are set in 2000 and onwards because that is when I started writing them. And I remember being in conversation with you not long after your first release when I sent it to Hera Books, but it wasn’t right for them at the time. I did try a couple of agents but ended up thinking life is too short, so I went down the self-publishing route. I found a fantastic editor, cover designer, and beta readers, too. The release was all set for February 2020, then a certain virus hit, which meant a lot of plans I had went down the drain. However, the book got a wonderful response from readers and ended up in the hands of one of the directors of Spellbound Books. They are so keen to represent Desi (Indian origin) authors and offered me a three-book deal, including rereleasing Marriage Unarranged in June 2022. And that is where we are, right now!

I only have one book to talk about so far, but you have several now. Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written?

I know you’re not supposed to have favourites, but I definitely do. Matchmaking at Port Willow (Hera Books 2021) feels like the book where it all came together for me. I loved those characters, too, and I got to write about an older female character who was going through menopause and a mum in her early 40s having a baby after miscarriage and terrified, and a very cute guy who’d been ripped off by a catfishing scammer he’d fallen in love with. It’s a real rollercoaster of a book with lots of love and laughs and Christmas cosiness.

I really related to this one, too, I have to say, being a little older, but also having experienced miscarriages. It was very sensitively written, Kiley. Thank you for that.

Tell me about yours because you’re busy writing the follow-up to Marriage Unarranged for Spellbound Books, aren’t you? I cannot wait!!! How do your feelings for them compare? Did one prove easier or quicker to write than the other?

I have just finished the first draft of book two during the summer holidays, actually! It’s with Alpha and sensitivity readers at the moment. Marriage Unarranged was never meant to be more than that one book we all have in us, but my characters! Oh, they weren’t to be silenced! As a result, the next two books will follow two different couples we met in the first book, and I try and cover cultural issues and stigmas that are prevalent in the British Indian community. Book Two is tentatively titled Straight As A Jalebi – The road to love is never straight… and looks at sexuality… I’ll leave you to ponder that. 😁 Considering MU took me 18 years to write, three years for SasaJ isn’t too bad, is it? And I hope that book three will be even quicker! Plus, now having a publisher means that there is more of dead line though Spellbound Books have been amazing, because they know I am a teacher, too with limited free time! I will always have a special place for Marriage Unarranged because that is where we meet all the crazy characters, but I think, as you said, each book we write holds its own place, doesn’t it?

Now, I’m intrigued. Where do you like to write? Because you often post about being at the coffee shop!

I’m a coffee shop writing girl. I’ve a desk in my bedroom, but it’s just not comfy. I am very impressed with your gorgeous new writing room. It looks idyllic! Is that where you always work?

Thank you. I am very lucky with my special area. A little secret? It wasn’t meant to be my room. It was initially going to be Hubby Dearest’s ‘working-from-home’ office, but due to issues with internet access, he set himself up in the smaller room downstairs, and I got this one. I wasted no time setting it up, and now I have my own haven! I tend to do most of my writing here but sometimes bring my laptop down to the conservatory or garden, if the weather is good.

Kiley, there are so many genres out there. Why romance? Have you ever toyed with the idea of writing in a different genre?

It was always going to be romance for me. I love the genre and have since I was in my early thirties (I came late to seriously reading romances). Before I wrote my debut, I had it circulating in my brain that one day I’d tell a love story, but I was so wound up in my academic career and publishing non-fiction stuff as part of that I just didn’t have space for falling in love with romance writing. Then, in 2017 I found out I was going to be made redundant from my uni job. That changed everything.

Redundancy can offer so many chances, can’t it? I know a few people who grabbed the bull by the horns and made dreams come true when they were let loose from their day jobs!

What about you? Are you tempted to kill off a few characters or send them into space or back in time?

Oh, gosh, no! Nothing that extreme! I enjoy my Chickpea Curry Lit! But I would like to dabble in children’s picture books one day, too. That’s another dream of mine. Now, to find a decent illustrator…

Coming back to the Borrow a Bookshop series, where did the inspiration hit for this premise? I have said it to you before, but I would love to go on a holiday and borrow a bookshop, as well as enjoying a bit of baking! (Might add an Indian twist to the items served!)

Living and working in a bookshop (but with none of the financial and business worries) is The Dream! Especially if it has a cosy café too! Since writing the first book, I’ve found there are a few opportunities around the world to live and work or sleep over in bookshops, but I was just dreaming up the ideal holiday for my characters! Setting is everything in my stories. And I like writing about nerds falling in love, so where better to unite these nerds than in a bookshop?

Perfect! And where did you get the inspiration for the idyllic village of Clove Lore, where this wonderful bookshop is?

I borrowed the village’s layout from Clovelly in Devon. Have you ever been? God, it is Gorgeous! My partner took me there on a date the weekend after we first met, and I associate it with the newly-in-love feeling and summertime.

That is just so cute, to base it on a real place that has such lovely memories attached! 😍

How do you pick a setting, Ritu? Have you used places that were important to you in your real life?

So far my books are set in Birmingham, UK and various places in India. They are all locations I have been to, or where I have lived, so I can relate to them, and describe them in the best way possible for me. Birmingham will always be special. That’s where I was born.

Now, I loved the first book, The Borrow A Bookshop Holiday, with Jude and Elliot finding love in the midst of a booking mix-up. What can we expect to read about in Christmas in the Borrow a Bookshop? Will we get to meet some of our old friends from book one? It’s always lovely to know what loved characters are up to.

Only if you tell me all about your own series! Hehe! 😜

Well, in Christmas at the Borrow a Bookshop, there’s a gorgeous cosy love story that looks idyllic until a massive storm hits the coast and Clove Lore suffers a huge flash flood right before Christmas. Suddenly there’s a lot more to fight for than lovers and books. There’s a whole village at risk. It’s a story about community and pulling together to recover when it seems all is lost. And all the characters from book one are back, and you’ll get two love stories and one surprise wedding for your money!

OK, now you!

Ha ha! So, the books are all centred around one family; Aashi’s family; and each subsequent book takes one of her brothers and concentrates on their lives and relationships. Book two will be about Sunny, and Book three will be about Bali and Kiran. Most of the characters people have already met in Marriage Unarranged, will be there, and a few new ones, too!

You are very naughty, Kiley. You keep on leading me astray. I could talk about my books forever but this about you!

I was lucky enough to read an arc of Christmas at the Borrow a Bookshop, and I hand on heart loved it. Tell me, and our readers here, will there be any more in the series?

You’re lovely! Thank you for saying so! That makes my heart happy. Well, I haven’t told anyone, but there is a freshly inked contract on my desk, and the promise of three new Borrow a Bookshop stories between now and early 2025. There, the cat’s out the bag! Yippee! I’m having another samosa to celebrate, if you don’t mind! They’re yummy.

Three new stories? Oh wow, now. I can’t wait, and congratulations on the new contract, too! When we celebrate anything, we always say ‘mooh mittha karo‘, which means sweeten your mouth after good news, so you will need to try one of the sweets!

Thanks so much for having me over, Ritu! Let’s do it again soon! Next time we’ll be celebrating your new book. I’ll bring the snacks this time. Something Scottish, like me. Haggis, neeps and tatties, maybe?

That sounds like a plan, Kiley! What fun that was!

Peeps, you heard it here first! Kiley has THREE more Borrow a Bookshop books coming out!!!

Now, as I mentioned before, I was lucky enough to read an ARC of Christmas At The Borrow A Bookshop, so let me share the blurb and my review.

The Blurb

With just two weeks until Christmas, everything in Clove Lore should be perfect. But the latest holidaymaker to the Borrow a Bookshop is feeling far from festive…

Icelandic ex-bookseller Magnús Sturluson might be surrounded by love stories in the Bookshop, but he’s nursing a sadness that not even fiction can fix.

When Alexandra Robinson finds herself stranded in Clove Lore, she finds a safe place to hide from heartbreak. After all, all that’s waiting for her at home is a cheater boyfriend and the memories of her parents. As Alex finds herself embraced by the quirky village community, she finds her tough exterior thawing – and as she grows closer to Magnús, she finds an equally soft heart under his gruff shell.

It seems that Clove Lore is working its magic once again – until a great flood on Christmas Eve brings devastation in its wake. It’s up to Magnús and Alex to batten down the hatches and help bring the village back together again, while also introducing the locals to the Icelandic tradition of the jólabókaflóð – Yule book flood – where families and friends gather on Christmas Eve to exchange books and read together.

But can Magnús and Alex truly rescue the ruins of the village, and salvage their Christmas spirit? Or is there another complication lurking even closer than they thought?

A totally uplifting read that will lighten the winter gloom, for fans of Jenny Colgan and Trisha Ashley. Booklovers will adore this seasonal treat!

My Review

Christmas at the Borrow a Bookshop by Kiley Dunbar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I finished the first book in this series, I didn’t know there would be another, and all I wanted to do was find a place like this bookshop and immediately book a holiday there! Books and baking are two of my things, you know.
To know there was a second book was just too much excitement to bear, and I devoured this story revolving around another holidaymaker, Magnus, and his story, coupled with a stranger, Alex, who comes into his holiday life out of the blue with her secrets.
Clove Lore is a special place (which I wish were real!), and it’s a place filled with optimism and hope. Qualities that are needed in large quantities by the residents, and certain visitors, as the story progresses.
I loved how Kiley Dunbar wrote an obvious romance from the start, with no enemies to lovers or other silly obstacles. However, things couldn’t just be that simple. We, as readers, know they will be together, but after learning their backstories, we know there will be hiccups or storms.
A big one, in fact!
The biggest storm they have ever seen in the area threatens to uproot each and every one of the inhabitants of the village.
I also liked the fact that the story wasn’t solely centred around Magnus and Alex, but that we revisited the first couple who were brought together in book one, Jules and Elliot, and that we learned more about Lady of the Manor, Minty, and her best friend Jowan, who is still mourning the loss of his wife.
There is romance, yes, but that isn’t all this book is about. It’s about community and working together to bring back something you all love,
I loved it, and after reading the Author’s letter to the readers at the end, I am even more excited because there will be a third book! Sqeeee!!!

These are the buy links for #christmasattheborrowabookshop





And here’s a little about Kiley and her other books.

Kiley Dunbar writes heart-warming, escapist, romantic fiction set in beautiful places.

One Winter’s Night is shortlisted for the RNA Romantic Comedy Novel Award 2021.


Take your pick from Kiley’s six novels (for author’s accompanying content/trigger warnings go to

Matchmaking at Port Willow (NEW FOR SEPT 2021) Beatrice is back in this sequel to Summer at the Highland Coral Beach, and she’s loved up and wanting other inn guests to experience the same magic she did last summer. Low-tech dating profiles, empty-nesters on a second honeymoon, and a lonely New Yorker in exile. With added puppies and Heiland Coos.

The Borrow a Bookshop Holiday (May 2021) Jude rents a tumbledown bookshop by the sea in Clove Lore, Devon, for a fortnight. When fellow bookseller-holidaymaker Elliot turns up unannounced, she discovers she’s not the only one running away from real life. Only one bed, bookselling and blossoming romance.

One Winter’s Night (September 2020) Return to Stratford-upon-Avon for a winter full of adventure, romance and family drama. Mystery, new neighbours, and a show-stopping theatrical procession. The sequel to One Summer’s Night.

Summer at the Highland Coral Beach (2020), the first in the Port Willow Bay Series, takes you on an impromptu crafting holiday in the Scottish Highlands and reminds us that after the storm comes the rainbow. Crafts, ceilidhs, coral bays and gentle recovery.

Christmas at Frozen Falls (2019) will fly you to snowy, remote Finnish Lapland over Christmas where Sylvie Magnussen is getting a second chance at love with an old flame – sexy Stellan Virtanen – the one who got away – well, he ran away actually, and Sylvie never understood why. Hot kisses in a cold climate, Northern lights and a stunning resort setting.

One Summer’s Night (2019) whisks you away on a working staycation in beautiful Stratford-upon-Avon during a sultry heatwave summer. A starting-over story, handsome actors, backstage passes, and a whole lot of drama in the Heart of England.

Twitter: @KileyDunbar

‘Kiley Dunbar Author Book Page’ on Facebook

Website and newsletter:

Instagram: @kileydunbarauthor

Women Like Us by @MrsAmandaProwse #BlogTour #AudioBook @FMcMAssociates @AmazonPub

I am so thrilled and honoured to be host to the absolutely fabulous and indeed down-to-earth literary sister of mine, Amanda Prowse. And we kick off the Audio Book Tour here on But I Smile Anyway!

Amanda’s most recent release, Women Like Us, is not a work of fiction but a memoir, and I cannot stress enough how amazing a read (and listen it is)!

I think you should read the blurb first, before reading my review.


I guess the first question to ask is, what kind of woman am I? Well, you know those women who saunter into a room, immaculately coiffed and primped from head to toe?
If you look behind her, you’ll see me.

From her childhood, where there was no blueprint for success, to building a career as a bestselling novelist against all odds, Amanda Prowse explores what it means to be a woman in a world where popularity, slimness, beauty and youth are currency—and how she overcame all of that to forge her own path to happiness.

Sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious and always entirely relatable, Prowse details her early struggles with self-esteem and how she coped with the frustrating expectations others had of how she should live. Most poignantly, she delves into her toxic relationship with food, the hardest addiction she has ever known, and how she journeyed out the other side.

One of the most candid memoirs you’re ever likely to read, Women Like Us provides welcome insight into how it is possible—against the odds—to overcome insecurity, body consciousness and the ubiquitous imposter syndrome to find happiness and success from a woman who’s done it all, and then some. 

As I mentioned before, I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this book and an audio version.

Amanda has narrated all her audiobooks, and to hear this whole book in her own words was just fantastic and added another layer of genuine feeling to the whole experience. Her voice is so soothing, and you feel she is talking to you personally.

And so to my review!

Women Like Us: A Memoir by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You know when you read books, and you have that favourite author?
Then she goes and releases a memoir, and you just HAVE to read it because you are in awe of her?
That was me when I heard that Amanda Prowse was writing her story.
She has always come across as a true, down-to-earth, ‘real’ woman, who has had her fair share of struggles, including being an army wife, battling cancer, and how her family coped with the depression her son Josiah went through due to them both writing about it.
Yet, she has never been afraid to talk about these things.
I felt I already knew her.
But reading Women Like Us made me aware of how much I didn’t know.
We all have a backstory, and it is that which moulds us to be the people we become.
Amanda Prowse has opened up about her life in a way that I feel will relate to many women.
Without wanting to give too much away, because I would urge anyone reading this to read the book themselves, Amanda’s life has had huge amounts of love poured into it by her wonderful family and husband.
However, there have been events and situations that have tested her and almost broken her at times.
An undiagnosed medical condition, loss, abuse, miscarriages, and that overwhelming feeling of never being good enough or thin enough.
I read each chapter, and yes, there were times I smiled and laughed out loud. I’m as clumsy as Mrs Prowse and could relate to many things she wrote.
My eyes moistened at other times, reading about some of the things Amanda had gone through.
Tears streamed down my cheeks as I realised that some situations hit much closer to home than others. I’ve been there before, too, and maybe, I’m there right now.
And Amanda has come out of the other side, not necessarily unscathed, but a brighter, happier, more positive woman for it.
It takes a brave person to open up the way Amanda has, and I truly applaud her. I would be giving her the hugest of hugs right now if she was in front of me.
Amanda, thank goodness you managed to overcome the words of that English teacher because where would I be without my Prowse books?

This woman, honestly, I love her to bits!

About the Author

Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author whose twenty-six novels,
non-fiction titles and seven novellas have been published in dozens of languages around the world. Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. Her books, including the chart-topping No.1 titles What Have I Done?, Perfect Daughter, My Husband’s Wife, The Girl in the Corner and The Things I Know have sold millions of copies across the globe.
A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s ‘The Jeremy Vine Show’ and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on BBC national independent Radio stations, including
LBC and Talk FM, where she is well known for her insightful observations and her infectious humour. Described by the Daily Mail as ‘The queen of family drama’ Amanda’s novel, A Mother’s Story won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the Year Award while Perfect Daughter was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016.

#RachelIsBack Book Re-Release tour! Rachel’s Holiday by @MarianKeyes @fmcmassociates

It’s not often that you get the chance to showcase the work of a writing LEGEND, and I am in that position, right now!

Writing powerhouse Marian Keyes had a book out, twenty five years ago, called Rachel’s Holiday. Now, it might sound like a bit of a fluffy read, a beach romance sort of thing, but no, Rachel’s Holiday is a much meatier read than that, and along with a bit of the comedic genius that Keyes always adds into her books, she delves into more serious issues.

Rachel and her experiences never left many readers, or Marian, herself, so, next year, a sequel is coming out, Rachel, Again.

However, before that, Rachel’s Holiday is being rereleased – a 25th Anniversary special – and I am honoured to be a part of the blog tour to celebrate this!

The Blurb…

Meet Rachel Walsh. She has a pair of size 8 feet and such a fondness for recreational drugs that her family has forked out the cash for a spell in Cloisters – Dublin’s answer to the Betty Ford Clinic. She’s only agreed to her incarceration because she’s heard that rehab is wall-to-wall jacuzzis, gymnasiums and rock stars going tepid turkey – and it’s about time she had a holiday.

But what Rachel doesn’t count on are the toe-curling embarrassments heaped on her by family and group therapy, the dearth of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll – and missing Luke, her ex. What kind of a new start in life is this?

And, here’s my review!

Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now, not having access to Goodreads, 25 years ago, what better time to post my review of a fantastic book, by a fabulous author, on the re-release of it?
I treated myself to a re-read, as well, all almost 600 pages of it, in one weekend, too!
This is quite a read, filled with comedic moments, however, the real subject is no laughing matter.
We have Rachel Walsh, our hapless heroine, who finds herself back in Ireland, incarcerated in Cloisters, a clinic for addicts, after an accidental overdose in New York.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with Rachel.
Oh, no.
It was all a misunderstanding.
She can’t wait to get out.
But, the eight weeks she stays there, end up being the most poignant years of her life.
Rachel is the middle sister of five, in a loving Irish family. Well, as loving as you can get, with all that oestrogen running rife around the house. Many choices she makes in life are a direct result of how she felt, growing up.
And some of those decisions led her to drugs.
Addiction does a lot to you. You may feel you are gaining a lot, every time you feel that high from your chosen poison, but in reality, you are losing everything around you. And every one that really mattered.
Rachel’s Holiday explores this whole scenario, including the stages of acceptance, that you might, indeed, be an addict.
I loved this, and cannot wait for the sequel which is due out next year!

Can I say, I am a little excited at having read a teeny snippet of Rachel, Again, and I now can’t wait for that to be released, either!

A little bit about Marian Keyes

Grown Ups by Marian Keyes review – comic, convincing and true | Marian Keyes  | The Guardian

Marian Keyes is one of the most successful Irish novelists of all time. Though she was brought up in a home where a lot of oral story-telling went on, it never occurred to her that she could write. Instead she studied law and accountancy and finally started writing short stories in 1993 “out of the blue.” Though she had no intention of ever writing a novel (“It would take too long”) she sent her short stories to a publisher, with a letter saying she’d started work on a novel. The publishers replied, asking to see the novel, and once her panic had subsided, she began to write what subsequently became her first book Watermelon, published in 1995.

To date, the woman who said she’d never write a novel has published 13 of them: WatermelonLucy Sullivan is Getting MarriedRachel’s HolidayLast Chance SaloonSushi for BeginnersAngelsThe Other Side of the StoryAnybody Out ThereThis Charming ManThe Brightest Star in the Sky , The Mystery of Mercy CloseThe Woman Who Stole My Life, and The Break Her books have all been bestsellers around the world, with a total of over 30 million of her books sold to date in 33 languages. Anybody Out There won the British Book Awards award for popular fiction and the inaugural Melissa Nathan Prize for Comedy Romance. This Charming Man won the Irish Book Award for popular fiction. Marian’s latest book Grown Ups is publishing in hardback and eBook in February 2020.

The books deal variously with modern ailments, including addiction, depression, domestic violence, the glass ceiling and serious illness, but always written with compassion, humour and hope.

In 2009, Marian experienced the start of a major depressive episode, and had to stop any work. Eventually she found that baking cakes helped her survive; and in 2012, she published Saved by Cake, which combines recipes with autobiography.

As well as novels she has written short stories, and articles for various magazines and other publications. She has published three collections of her journalism, titled Under the Duvet  and Further Under the Duvet, now collected in one volume under the title Under the Duvet: Deluxe Edition, and donated all royalties from Irish sales to the Simon Community, a charity which works with the homeless. In 2016 Marian published a new collection of essays, Making It Up As I Go Along.

She was born in Limerick in 1963, and brought up in Cavan, Cork, Galway and Dublin; she spent her twenties in London, but is now living in Dún Laoghaire with her husband Tony. She includes among her hobbies reading, movies, shoes, handbags and feminism.

The Fault Between Us by @BetteLeeCrosby #BlogTour #BookReview

I was honoured to be given an ARC of Award Winning Author, Bette Lee Crosby’s newest release, The Fault Between Us,having read several of her previous books, and throughly enjoyed them!

The Fault Between Us by Bette Lee Crosby

Here is the blurb:

April 18, 1906 – A devastating earthquake rocks San Francisco and Templeton Morehouse fears her husband is lost forever. A powerful and compelling story from USA Today bestselling author Bette Lee Crosby

Chances were a million to one that a girl born and raised in Philadelphia would encounter a stranger from California on the trolley and fall madly in love, but that’s what happened. Templeton was not only taken with John Morehouse, but also with his tales of life in San Francisco. As an aspiring fashion designer, the dazzle of a city called the Paris of the West, with its towering department stores and European couture was too much to resist.

Despite her family’s objections, she and John are married and, on their way back to California, before the month is out. To ease the heartbreak of such a move, Templeton promises her family that they will return for a visit every summer. She fully intends to keep that promise, but as her fashions gain popularity, the business grows increasingly more demanding. The trips back to Philadelphia become less frequent and she makes foolish choices she will come to regret.

Now, when she is on the verge of having everything she’s ever wanted, a devastating earthquake has torn across San Francisco and she awakes to discover the father of her baby is missing.

With the city in flames, Templeton’s daddy leaves Philadelphia and sets out in search of his son-in-law. He’s too old for such a trip and ill-equipped for the challenges he will encounter, but he’s the only hope of saving his daughter’s happiness.
Lines of communication are down and the city in shambles, so the only thing Templeton can do is pray she doesn’t lose both her daddy and her husband.

And my review:

The Fault Between Us by Bette Lee Crosby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve read a few of Bette Lee Crosby’s books, since discovering her by a Facebook group, and I was honoured to be asked to read her soon to be released book, The Fault Between Us, as an advanced reader.
The book centres around Templeton, a young woman in Philadelphia, with hopes and dreams. Unmarried, still, at an age where most women were settled, she wants to make a name for herself in fashion and design.
Despite her parents’ anguish at their unmarried younger daughter, she forges on with her dreams and is celebrating successes, when she meets a man, John Morehouse, by chance, on a tram journey.
Love often finds you in totally unexpected circumstances, and this is one of them.
Her parents show reluctance to let their girl go, however, Templeton and John marry, and move across the country, three thousand miles away, to San Francisco.
Here, the story builds upon her settling into life as a married woman, but also pursuing her dreams in a different location.
The time-worn worry of whether to be a career woman or a mother plays its part in the story, here.
A natural disaster threatens to rip their lives apart, and this is where the story really comes to life, and the choices made affect their lives forever.
The era in which the story is set was a time when it was frowned upon for a woman to put work before family. Then, there wasn’t the confidence that she could do both.
I loved Templeton’s drive. She’s passionate about what she loves, be it her work, or her family. The way she is torn between the two, and feeling that she might not be able to have either, pulled at my heartstrings.
But thankfully she found a partner who, after initial misgivings, was able to accept and support his wife.
I felt, keenly, for Templeton’s parents, throughout the story. It highlights the fact that no matter what their age, we parents will never truly stop worrying about our children.
A heartwarming read.

Out 11th November, 2021

About Bette Lee Crosby

Bette Lee Crosby

USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby’s books are “Well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances.” – Midwest Book Review

The Seattle Post Intelligencer says Crosby’s writing is, “A quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life and madcap adventures.”

Samantha from Reader’s Favorite raves, “Crosby writes the type of book you can’t stop thinking about long after you put it down.”

“Storytelling is in my blood,” Crosby laughingly admits, “My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write.”

It is the wit and wisdom of that Southern Mama Crosby brings to her works of fiction; the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away. Her work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. She has since gone on to win twenty awards for her work; these include: The Royal Palm Literary Award, the FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal, Reader’s Favorite Award Gold Medal, and the Reviewer’s Choice Award.

The Impossibe Truths of Love by @hannahbeckerman #BlogTour #Book Review @fmcmassociates

Today, I am delighted to be a part of the Blog Tour for Hannah Beckerman’s newest release, The Impossible Truths of Love.

The Impossible Truths of Love

First things first, the Blurb!

From bestselling author Hannah Beckerman comes a moving story about memory, secrets, and what it really means to feel that you’re one of the family.

When Nell’s father makes a deathbed declaration that hints at a long-held secret, it reignites feelings of isolation that have plagued her for years. Her suspicions about the family’s past only deepen when her mother, Annie, who is losing her memories to dementia, starts making cryptic comments of her own.

Thirty-five years earlier, Annie’s life was upended by a series of traumas—one shock after another that she buried deep in her heart. The decisions she made at the time were motivated by love, but she knew even then that nobody could ever understand—let alone forgive—what she did.

As the two women’s stories unravel, a generation apart, Nell finally discovers the devastating truth about her mother’s past, and her own.

In this beautifully observed and emotionally powerful story of identity, memory and the nature of family, Hannah Beckerman asks: To what lengths would you go to protect the ones you love?

My Review:

The Impossible Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having read one of Hannah Beckerman’s previous novels, I was excited to dive into her newest release, The Impossible Truths of Love, knowing it would be good.
However, I didn’t realise it would be that good, that I would devour it in one sitting!
Nell’s father whispers a statement to her, on his deathbed that stays with her. Unfortunately, he is unable to ever clarify the meaning.
She watches her mothers mental health deteriorate, due to dementia, and the odd little comments she makes, cause Nell to stop and think.
I am not sure exactly how to word this review, without giving away the story too much, but suffice to say, my reader detective antennae pricked up, as soon as I realised there was something hidden, and there were several ideas running through my mind, as to what the outcome would be. Some were close, some not so close, but the twists – WOW!
All I can say is that there is always right and wrong in any decision we make.
Sometimes love is the reason we make those decisions. Can any decision made with parental love in mind, ever be wrong? Of course, they could, and this novel explores that in a way that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings.
Nell’s discoveries and trauma are told in a parallel storyline to her mother Alice’s, in a Then and Now format of chapters. Each layer is unwrapped and reveals another piece to the jigsaw puzzle of Nell’s life, rather like an elaborate Pass The Parcel.
I truly loved this book, and it will be one that stays with me for a long while. Stunning read!
Thanks to FMCM Associates and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

About Hannah Beckerman

Hannah Beckerman

Hannah Beckerman is an author, journalist, event chair and broadcaster. In the UK she writes for a range of publications including The Observer and The FT Weekend Magazine, and appears as a book critic on BBC Radio 2 and Times Radio. She regularly chairs at literary events and panels across the UK and has judged numerous book prizes including the Costa Book Awards.

Before becoming a writer, Hannah was a TV and film producer both in the UK and the US.

She lives in London.

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