Book Review

The Embroidered Book – Kate Heartfield

I am joining the blog tour for the exquisite historical fantasy novel The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield today. Many thanks to Kate and to Harper Voyager for my copy of the book, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

BLURB:

“Power is not something you are given. Power is something you take. When you are a woman, it is a little more difficult, that’s all.”

1768. Charlotte, daughter of the Habsburg Empress, arrives in Naples to marry a man she has never met. Her sister Antoine is sent to France, and in the mirrored corridors of Versailles they rename her Marie Antoinette.

The sisters are alone, but they are not powerless. When they were only children, they discovered a book of spells – spells that work, with dark and unpredictable consequences.

In a time of vicious court politics, of discovery and dizzying change, they use the book to take control of their lives.

But every spell requires a sacrifice. And as love between the sisters turn to rivalry, they will send Europe spiralling into revolution.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

REVIEW:

The Embroidered Book is a beast of a book, but despite its size, I found I read it quite quickly as I was captivated by the story. Part historical fiction, part fantasy, The Embroidered Book is full of magic and intrigue, all based around one of the most interesting and turbulent periods of European history.

Kate Heartfield’s attention to detail and the level of research that must have gone into this project is incredible. It must have been a real labour of love, and I felt that this comes through in the writing.

I think Charlotte and Antoine’s stories would have been fascinating enough on their own, given their place in history, but the addition of magic and a secret society made this all the more appealing to me. Kate Heartfield weaves magic and history together so artfully that it seems more than plausible that these two astonishing women had access to hidden skills. It would certainly explain a lot of what went on throughout the period!

Despite knowing how this story must end, I still found myself on the edge of my seat, willing the sisters on to a different ending to their tempestuous relationship. I was totally under their spell from start to finish. Kate Heartfield is, quite simply, a genius.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kate Heartfield is the author of The Embroidered Book, a historical fantasy novel out in February 2022. Her debut novel won Canada’s Aurora Award, and her novellas, stories and games have been shortlisted for the Nebula, Locus, Crawford, Sunburst and Aurora awards. A former journalist, Kate lives near Ottawa, Canada.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Twitter

Instagram

Website

Book Review

The Rose Code – Kate Quinn

I am joining the blog tour for historical fiction novel, The Rose Code by Kate Quinn today. Many thanks to Kate for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be  a part of the blog tour.

BLURB:

1940. Three very different women answer the call to mysterious country estate Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes.

Vivacious debutante Osla is the girl who has everything – beauty, wealth, and the dashing Prince Philip of Greece sending her roses – but she burns to prove herself as more than a society girl, and puts her fluent German to use as a translator of decoded enemy secrets. Imperious self-made Mab, product of east-end London poverty, works the legendary codebreaking machines as she conceals old wounds and looks for a socially advantageous husband. Awkward local girl Beth, whose shyness conceals a brilliant facility with puzzle beneath her shy exterior.

1947. As the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip whips post-war Britain into a fever, three friends-turned-enemies are reunited by a mysterious encrypted letter – the key to which lies buried in the long-ago betrayal that destroyed their friendship and left one of them confined to an asylum. A mysterious traitor has emerged from the shadows of their Bletchley Park past, and now Osla, Mab, and Beth must resurrect their old alliance and crack one last code together…

As the nation prepares for the royal wedding they must race against the clock to save one of their own.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

The Rose Code Cover

REVIEW:

I have been interested in Bletchley since visiting almost 12 years ago. Even so, picking up this book the morning after a certain interview, and with the Duke of Edinburgh ill in hospital, it took a while for me to separate real life from this fictional account and become truly absorbed in the story. These current events made me glad I read the author’s note at the end of the book to help me untangle fact from fiction.

Had I been alive during World War II, and if I had been clever enough, Bletchley is where I would have wanted to serve and this novel brings the passion of the people who did so to life. In Osla, Mab and Beth we are faced with three very different young ladies who form the most unlikely of friendships after being billeted in the same house. This friendship combined with the fascinating history of the work carried out under the strictest secrecy at Bletchley Park would have been enough for this book to win me over. The added mystery of the events that ripped these friends apart and led to one being locked in an asylum only added to this and made this a gripping read.

Heart-breaking and inspiring in equal measure, The Rose Code celebrates the hidden heroes of the war in glorious detail, and twines fact and fiction together seamlessly.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kate Quinn Author PicKate Quinn is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance detailing the early years of the infamous Borgia clan. All have been translated into multiple languages. She and her husband now live in Maryland with two black dogs names Caesar and Calpurnia.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Twitter

Website

Instagram

Facebook

Make sure you visit the other blogs taking part in the tour for more about The Rose Code.

The Rose Code BT Poster

Book Review

The Chalet – Catherine Cooper

Today, I am joining the blog tour for The Chalet by Catherine Cooper. Many thanks to Catherine, and to Harper Collins, for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

BLURB:

Four friends. One luxury getaway. The perfect murder.

“I was gripped from start to finish” Cass Green

French Alps, 1998

Two young men ski into a blizzard… but only one returns.

20 Years Later

Four people connected to the missing man find themselves in that same resort. Each has a secret.

Two may have blood on their hands. One is a killer-in-waiting.

Someone knows what really happened that day.

And somebody will pay.

An exciting new debut for anyone who loves Ruth Ware, Lucy Foley, and C.L. Taylor

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

The Chalet Cover Image

REVIEW:

Told from multiple points of view, and spanning the years from a skiing accident in 1998 through to the present day, The Chalet is a carefully constructed thriller that put me in mind of Lucy Foley’s The Hunting Party.

In the mismatched gathering of people staying at the chalet of the title in 2020, Catherine Cooper creates a well constructed cast of characters, each with something to hide, and with a different reason for wanting to be at the ski resort. Whilst I found more than one character thoroughly unlikeable, their presence served to increase the tension throughout the book, whereas the characters I found myself liking added a warmth to the story that is sometimes missing from books of this nature.

I sped through this book, unable to put it down in my eagerness to tie all the stories together, and uncover who was connected to the events of 1998 and how. Before you start reading this book, make sure you have plenty of time for a good long reading session, because I don’t think you will be able to stop reading once you start.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Catherine Cooper Author PicCatherine Cooper is a freelance journalist writing for many national newspapers and magazines, specialising in travel. Most recently she has written several ski pieces for the Guardian and is currently compiling a 50 best holidays round up for the Telegraph. She also makes regular appearances as a talking head on daytime TV. She lives in France with her husband and two teenage children, and is a keen skier.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website

Twitter

Instagram

Don’t forget to visit the other blogs taking part on the tour.

The Chalet BT Poster

Book Review

The Silent Wife – Karin Slaughter

Today marks a massive highlight in my blogging career for me as I join the blog tour for The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter, my absolute favourite thriller writer. Many thanks to Karin, to Liz at Harper Collins, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours, for inviting me to be a part of the tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Atlanta, Georgia. Present day. A young woman is brutally attacked and left for dead. The police investigate but the trail goes cold. Until a chance assignment takes GBI investigator Will Trent to the state penitentiary, and to a prisoner who says he recognises the MO. The attack looks identical to the one he was accused of eight years earlier. The prisoner’s always insisted that he was innocent, and now he’s sure he has proof. The killer is still out there.

As Will digs into both crimes it becomes clear that he must solve the original case in order to reach the truth. Yet nearly a decade has passed—time for memories to fade, witnesses to vanish, evidence to disappear. And now he needs medical examiner Sara Linton to help him hunt down a ruthless murderer. But when the past and present collide, everything Will values is at stake.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

The Silent Wife Cover

REVIEW:

Well, what can you say about a book that is so great that it leaves you totally lost for words? I finished this book a good few days ago and it has taken this long for me to gather my thoughts enough to write my review. Karin Slaughter is just pure class, and her writing style puts her firmly at the top of my thriller writer list. Her books are instantly addictive and The Silent Wife is no exception.

The Silent Wife sees the return of many familiar faces as Sara and Will’s life together in Atlanta merges with Sara’s old life in Grant County. The dual timeline allows us to see Sara at two very different times in her life – one where we see the tough, resilient Sara we are used to, following her separation from Jeffrey, and another softer side as she shows her vulnerability in her relationship with Will and struggles to come to terms with the ghosts of her past. I loved seeing this side to Sara, as much as I hated to see her hurting so badly. I found it very interesting to explore her relationships with both men and the emotions they stir up in her.

Faith has long been one of my favourite characters from Karin’s books, and I particularly enjoyed her interaction with Lena in this book, and her blatant hatred of a character that, let’s face it, is totally unlikeable, and who we all love to hate. The years have not mellowed Lena and, much like Faith, I found myself really wanting to slap her! She really is a brilliant character to inspire such strong emotions in the reader.

As always, Karin doesn’t pull any punches with the brutality of the crimes featured in her books, or in the detail of the medical exams of the victims. There are some particularly graphic descriptions in The Silent Wife that may not be for the faint-hearted, but they are in no way gratuitous or out of keeping with the story.

As if being part of the blog tour for this brilliant book wasn’t excited enough, Karin was kind enough to take part in a Zoom Q&A session with the bloggers taking part on the tour, which was just amazing. Thank you so much Karin for being so generous with your time, and thanks to Liz at Harper Collins too for making all the arrangements and hosting the chat. It was most definitely the highlight of lockdown for me and a massive boost to my mental health.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Karin-Slaughter-Alison-RosaKarin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her 19 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant Sunday Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls, The Good Daughter, and Pieces of Her.

The Good Daughter and Cop Town are in development for film and television and Pieces of Her is soon to be an eight-part Netflix adaptation, directed by Lesli Linka Glatter (Mad Men), and produced by Charlotte Stoudt (Homeland) and Bruna Papandrea (Big Little Lies).

Karin is the founder of the Save the Libraries project- a non-profit organisation established to support libraries and library programming.

She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

‘One of the boldest thriller writers working today’ TESS GERRITSEN

‘Fiction doesn’t get any better than this’ JEFFERY DEAVER

‘Passion, intensity, and humanity’ LEE CHILD

Her characters, plot, and pacing are unrivalled’ MICHAEL CONNELLY

‘A great writer at the peak of her powers’ PETER JAMES

‘Karin Slaughter has – by far – the best name of all of us mystery novelists’ JAMES PATTERSON

For information, review copy or interview request

please contact Liz Dawson:

elizabeth.dawson@harpercollins.co.uk / 020 8307 4412

Don’t forget to visit the other blogs taking part in the tour for this fantastic book.

The Silent Wife BT Poster