Book Review: The Gift of Friends by Emma Hannigan @headlinepg @HachetteIre @annecater

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Kingfisher Road - a leafy, peaceful street in the town of Vayhill. But there are whispers behind closed doors. Who is moving into Number 10?

Engaged to handsome, wealthy Justin Johnston, Danielle appears to her new neighbours to have the perfect, glossy life. But not everything is as it seems...

In fact, each of the other four women who live close by has a secret, and each is nursing their own private heartache.

But could a gift be waiting on their doorsteps? And, by opening their front doors, and their hearts, to each other, could the women of Kingfishers Road discover all the help they need?

Review:

I first discovered Emma's books by chance, when I picked up a second-hand copy of Designer Genes in a charity shop. After I turned the last page on that book, I was hooked. I've read almost all her books and followed her brave fight against cancer on social media. She is a woman I admired and one I will always remember.

The circumstances made starting The Gift of Friends almost bittersweet. Knowing those words were her swansong. Every sentence and character somehow felt more special. I read each page slowly, fully taking in her words and wondering how she must have felt as she wrote them. 

The Gift of Friends is a lesson in not judging a book by its cover. Each resident on Kingfisher road may seem to be living the dream, because the perfect house equals perfect life, right? We soon learn that this is not the case, that each one is dealing with their own personal struggle. 

Emma did not hold back when describing issues faced by the characters in this book. Abortion. Morality in the church, Spousal abuse. Other reviewers have guessed that Emma had possibly wanted to explore these topics in individual books, but as her time was drawing close, she needed an opportunity to explore them all in one book. Kingfisher Road was that opportunity. Any other author may have struggled to realistically portray so many issues in one book. That certainly wasn't the case here. Each character distinct and authentic. 

My favourite character by far was Nancy. She was the oldest resident in the group. Single, with an 'I don't give a shit about what you think of me' attitude. #goals. 

I loved how each character looked out for each other. They saw their road, not as a place with individual families, but as a community wrapped in a blanket of love and support. 

When I turned the last page, I definitely felt a sense of loss, like there was a hole left in the Irish publishing world. 

Then I read the acknowledgements (written just days before she passed)...and shed more than a few tears. Her message was clear. Love the ones that love you. Nothing else in life is important. 

RIP Emma. 

Rating:

★★★★★



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Blog Tour Guest Post: The Location Behind The Wrong Direction by @liztreacher @lovebooksgroup

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Autumn 1920. When Bernard Cavalier, a flamboyant London artist, marries Evie Brunton, a beautiful Devon post lady, everyone expects a happy ending. But Evie misses cycling down country lanes, delivering the mail, and is finding it hard to adapt to her new life among Mayfair’s high society. Meanwhile Bernard, now a well-known artist, is struggling to give up his bachelor ways.
The Wrong Direction is as light and witty as The Wrong Envelope, with racy characters and a fast-paced plot. Wild parties, flirtatious models, jealous friends – Bernard and Evie must negotiate many twists and turns if they are to hold on to each other…

Guest Post:

I remember London in the late 1980s when there were fewer cars and a lot less people. At night, you could drive from Brixton to Finsbury Park in just over 20 minutes, racing over the Thames and past Trafalgar Square with its illuminated fountains. There was space to look up and around you; the pavements seemed wider and the air clearer. You could spend a whole afternoon in a sleepy café outside the British Museum, nursing a cup of tea. Yet London still felt like a capital. There was the buzz of West End shows and a carnival feeling in parks in the summer. It’s this feeling of ‘Old London’ that I have tried to recreate in ‘The Wrong Direction’. Of course, in 1920, when the book is set, things were different again. My heroine, Evie Brunton, encounters a flock of sheep in the Strand and buys milk from a horse and cart. Shoe polishers, organ grinders, traders carrying baskets of ducks…I’ve tried to include many different images of London at that time to plunge the reader into another era.

Blog Tour Guest Post: Ticket to Ride by White Gold Author, David Barker @BlueGold201 @UrbaneBooks @lovebooksgroup

07:00


VENGEANCE ALWAYS HAS A PRICE

Sim Atkins, Overseas Division agent, returns to Earth, having saved the Moon base from a deadly terrorist plot (see Rose Gold). All Sim can think about is finding the criminals responsible.

But his fury and lust for revenge are put on hold when a nuclear warhead is stolen by Terra Former leader Matthias Larsson. Can Sim and his colleagues track down the terrorist cell and disarm the device in time?

White Gold is the gripping finale in the compellingly original Gaia Trilogy, page-turning thrillers that provoke as well as excite.


Guest Post: Ticket to Ride

I love a board game, me. Been collecting them for about forty years and with a reluctance to throw the old ones out, I’m struggling to find room for all the boxes. I occasionally back campaigns on Kickstarter, which makes me feel good about supporting new designers and budding publishers in this market but, really, it’s just an excuse to add to my collection.

Some of you will have heard of, or played, Ticket To Ride. You collect different coloured trains and use them to claim routes between stations, gaining points in proportion to the length of the route. There is a Nordic version designed just for 2-3 players which we have at home. The map features two stations in the Northwest corner – Narvik and Kiruna – that I happen to know a fair bit about from the research for my new novel, White Gold.

Blog Tour: Read about Word Building in @seasick_stu's book, They Shoot Corpses, Don't They? @lovebooksgroup

07:00


An original blend of crime fiction and horror - Zombie Noir.

Pat O’Hare is the only (living) private detective in Farrelton, a crime-ridden city still recovering from the ravages of an undead uprising. Pat is hired to find the missing granddaughter of a rich industrialist. But, what starts out as simple enough job turns into a fight for survival as he finds himself pulled into a deadly mystery where nobody can be trusted. Helped only by a trigger happy ex-cop and a washed up boxer with a pathological fear of trees, Pat has to use every trick in the book just to stay alive. Caught between corrupt police, gun-wielding hitmen and a ruthless crime lord, Pat soon learns that the zombies are not the most dangerous creatures in town.  

Buy the Book (Affiliate)

Word Building with Author CS McLean:

Some writers are well known for setting their books in a real place and writing so vividly that the location becomes a character in their books -  whether it is Stuart MacBride’s Aberdeen, Ian Rankin’s Edinburgh or Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles.

Other writers like to set their books in wholly fictional places.  World building is something that fantasy and science fiction writers do all the time.  It is less common with crime fiction, although there are many fine examples where this has worked – Peter Robinson’s Eastvale and Richard Price’s Dempsey spring to mind.

Blog Blitz: Favorite Characters in The Wrong Envelope by @liztreacher @lovebooksgroup

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Summer 1920. Two worlds are about to collide. Evie Brunton loves her job. Twice a day, she spins along the narrow lanes of Devon on her bicycle, delivering letters from a heavy post bag. When the flamboyant London artist, Bernard Cavalier, drops like a meteor into her sleepy village, everything changes. Bernard is supposed to be painting for an important exhibition, but the countryside has its own charms, in particular his young post lady…Light and witty, and full of twists and turns, The Wrong Envelope is a charming romantic comedy. It captures the spirit of another age – when letters could change.

Liz' Favorite Character:

My favourite character to write is Phoebe Carson. She is a young lady in her early twenties with a large nose and spectacles. She lives with her father, the Reverend Carson, who usually smells of haddock, in a dark vicarage in Saffron Walden. Phoebe, who always has her nose in a book, is good fun, kind-hearted, witty, loyal and clever. She is the friend everyone would want. Phoebe Carson and Evie Brunton are the two girls that the London artist, Bernard Cavalier, is involved with. They have great potential to be friends and I make sure they have a meeting in The Wrong Envelope, although it is a very awkward one. Phoebe meets Bernard when he is doing army training in Saffron Walden. Bernard is a flighty artist and has no real interest in Phoebe, but she is very keen on him. She spends her time writing to him and making gooseberry jam.

The only thing more fun than writing Phoebe, was writing her a potential suitor, (a proper one, not the impossible Bernard). I decided he should be a man of the cloth like her father, and came up with Robert Hazlitt, a young chap just a few years older than Phoebe, with a round face and thinning hair. He has seen active service in the First World War as a stretcher bearer. He has an infectious laugh, a sense of the absurd and, of course, a love of books. Robert is the new curate and he comes to stay at the vicarage while he finds digs in town. The scene when he and Phoebe meet is my favourite in the book because Phoebe is so delighted to have a ‘book worm’ staying. When she first hears his laugh she can hardly contain her hilarity; when he makes her confess how many times she has read Pride and Prejudice and then admits it is his favourite book, we know the stage is set…

About Liz Treacher:

Liz is a writer, a Creative Writing teacher and an Art photographer. She lives in the Highlands of Scotland with a view of the sea. Her love of images influences her writing. 

Her debut novel, 'The Wrong Envelope', is a romantic comedy, set in 1920 in Devon, England. It tells the story of Bernard, an impulsive artist and Evie, his beautiful post lady. You can watch the trailer on this page, under 'Videos'. Light and witty, and full of twists and turns, 'The Wrong Envelope' captures the spirit of another age - when letters could change lives.

The sequel, 'The Wrong Direction', follows Evie and Bernard to London, and charts their further adventures in Mayfair's high society. Wild parties, flirtatious models, jealous friends - Bernard and Evie must negotiate many twists and turns if they are to hold on to each other.

For more information visit: https://www.liztreacher.com
Follow on Twitter: @liztreacher
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LizTreacherAuthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/liztreacher/


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