Little Woodford by Catherine Jones

little woodford

 

Story Outline:

Little Woodford has a sleepy high street, a weekly market, a weathered old stone church and lovingly tended allotments. A peaceful, unexciting place, the very heart of middle England.

In Little Woodford, no one has fingers in more pies than Olivia Laithwaite, parish councillor, chair of the local WI, wife, mother and all round queen bee. So, of course, it’s Olivia who is first to spot that The Beeches has been sold at last.

Soon rumours begin to swirl around the young widow who has bought this lovely house. Why exactly did she leave London with her beautiful stepdaughter and young sons? Are they running from someone? Hiding something? Though if they are, they won’t be the only ones. Sometimes the arrival of newcomers in a community is all it takes to light a fuse…

Perfect for fans of Rebecca Shaw, Jill Mansell and Emma Burstall.

 

My Review:

Reviewed for Netgalley and Head of Zeus

On the surface, Little Woodford looks like any ordinary English village, but below the surface of Little Woodford, there are secrets and betrayals.

This was recommended by a friend who enjoyed it and upon completing it I understand why. It is a very accurate portrayal of village life. All the characters that you expect to find are present. The socialite, the town gossip and the ever-present and calming church influence. What I didn’t expect and thoroughly enjoyed was the depth of these characters and how they were all connected to each other. Some more obvious than others.

Catherine Jones has taken village life and placed it under a microscope for us all to see the true nature of people, both good and bad. I always find books such as these interesting to read.

The characters are extremely well written and come alive on the page. I felt as if I was right there on the page with them going through all that transpired. For me, the story flowed at a good pace, with so many things going on it was hard not to read this in one sitting. There are so many intertwining characters and situations happening that you just want to keep reading to find out what happens.

The one issue I have with the book was that the story jumped from one character to another without not a lot of warning. It would be better for the reader if there was a subheading with the characters name. But not a major issue but some might find it takes away from the flow of the story.

All in all a wonderfully entertaining and thought-provoking tale of life.

Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm by Rebecca Raisin

secrets at maple syrup farm

Story Outline:

Secrets…we all have them.

Clay’s inheritance of Maple Syrup Farm came at the perfect time. Leaving city life behind he headed for maple-tree surrounded Ashford, Connecticut. Getting the farm in working order again might be back-breaking work – but it seems to be the only way for Clay to finally forget about the girl who once broke his heart…

Lucy’s had enough of rules and the stress of planning her life down to the very last detail. Looking for an adventure she stumbles upon Maple Syrup Farm and its gorgeously gruff owner. This could be the perfect place to hide out…!

But the tranquillity and warmth of Maple Tree Farm is enough to heal even the most battered of hearts. There are very few problems in life that can’t be cheered up by maple syrup!

The new standalone novel from bestselling author of the Gingerbread Cafe trilogy and The Bookshop on the Corner, Rebecca Raisin.

 

My Review:

Like the previous book of Rebecca’s (The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Élysées) that I had the pleasure of reading. This book was not just a story of budding romance but a book that captures the imagination and engages all your senses. I have never been a huge fan of romance in the past as it conjures up all sorts of images of heaving bosoms and manly protrusion, but it is not the case with this authors books. She writes her characters in such a way that the readers grow to love them as you get to know each of them.

I loved this book so much that I did not want it to end. My heart actually felt like it was going to break because I have to leave these characters behind. I truly wish that these people were real and the town of Ashford was an actual place. You do not just read Lucy’s story, you live it with her. Lucy’s adventure is one that will grab you by the heart and leave you wanting more. From her personal struggles being separated from her mother and wondering how she will make it through a whole year on her own. To finding a love she was not looking for and becoming part of a community that welcomed her with open arms. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry but more importantly, it will leave you feeling like Lucy, you have found friends for life.

Rebecca Raisin is a true master storyteller of the romance genre. Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm was a truly joyous experience I hope to repeat in the future.

Death Makes a Prophet by John Bude

death makes a prophet by john bude

 

Story Outline:

‘Small hostilities were growing; vague jealousies were gaining strength; and far off, wasn’t there a nebulous hint of approaching tragedy in the air?’

Welworth Garden City in the 1940s is a forward-thinking town where free spirits find a home-vegetarians, socialists, and an array of exotic religious groups. Chief among these are the Children of Osiris, led by the eccentric High Prophet, Eustace K. Mildmann. The cult is a seething hotbed of petty resentment, jealousy and dark secrets – which eventually lead to murder. The stage is set for one of Inspector Meredith’s most bizarre and exacting cases.

This witty crime novel by a writer on top form is a neglected classic of British crime fiction.

 

My Review:

Reviewed for Netgalley and Poisoned Pen Press.

Death Makes a Prophet would have to be on of the best crime/murder mystery books I have read in a long time. Originally published in 1947 it is still a wonderful book in 2018. It will please any fan of the genre. Because of the era it was written in there were a few words that I had to look up their meaning, but this in no way detracted from the story.

I found the style in which the book was set out really interesting. It is told in two parts. Part one introduces the reader to the setting of the story and all of its intriguing characters. We learn their secrets and how they all connect to one another. Part two sees the introduction of the Inspector when he is called in to solve the deaths. There are as many motives as there are suspects, even the Inspector begins to think it might be unsolvable, that is until a vital piece of information surfaces in seemingly bizarre circumstances.

I managed to figure out who was responsible but not the motives for the killing, but for me, that is half the fun of reading murder mysteries, you think you have it all figured out but things are never as they seem.

A thoroughly enjoyable read. I have become a fan of Inspector Meredith and will be reading more books in the series.

Reciting From Memory by Jim Landwehr

reciting from memory

My Review:
Reviewed for author for honest review

Jim’s poems were an eye-opening experience for me. As a person who does not read poetry very often and only for reviewing purposes, I always thought of poems being things that have to rhyme to make sense. This collection of poems are more like mini stories. They are beautifully written, giving the reader a great insight into one man’s life. It has not been an easy life by all means but the overwhelming love for family and faith shine through the sadness and brings light where darkness once prevailed.

If you are a lover of poetry with a difference. Prose that paints a very clear and vivid picture of life with all it’s joys and heartaches then this collection is definitely one worth reading.

Written Life by Jim Landwehr

written life

My Review:

Reviewed for author for honest review

A beautiful collection of quirky and sometimes abstract poems give the reader a glimpse of the world from the perspective of the author. A world that is filled with love, loss, grief, joy and ultimately, faith.

Lovers of poetry will read this collection with a smile on their lips, and a tear in their eye. A strong theme throughout is that life has not been easy for the writer of these poems. Suffering loss on a scale that some would never experience, but through it all there is hope and faith.

 

The book consists of 10 different sections:

On Home containing 5 poems
On Place containing 6 Poems
On Pets containing 5 Poems
On Life containing 7 Poems
On Family containing 7 Poems
On Love containing  5 Poems
On Death containing 9 Poems
On Youth containing 6 Poems
On Religion containing  8 Poems
On Writing containing  5 Poems