blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Heliotrope – Palmer Pickering

Heliotrope copy

We are thrilled to share the latest fantasy by Palmer Pickering, called Heliotrope! This one is for readers who enjoy magic, adventure and true fantasy!

Heliotrope front cover

Heliotrope (Sword and Sorcery)

Publication Date: November 23, 2022

Genre: Adult Fantasy/ Epic Fantasy/ Magic

Teleo is a retired soldier descended from Mages, who were cast out of power generations ago. After years of war and sorrow, he wants nothing more than to live a quiet life on his farm and work his stonemason’s craft.

His wife and daughter had been murdered during a war raid several years earlier and his young son stolen by the enemy side. He spent years unsuccessfully searching for his son and returned home broken-hearted. At the local castle, he comes upon a war orphan stolen by his side from the enemy and rescues him from abuse, adopting him as his foster son.

Teleo is working as a mason at the castle when he finds himself in the middle of a coup. This launches a journey to protect his new family, uncover the secrets of the ancient ways, and reclaim the magic of the Mages.

TW: Battles, violence, blood and gore

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About the Author


Palmer has been writing fiction since she was eight. She received her BA in American Studies from Wesleyan University, with concentrations in Religion and Race Relations.

She currently works in Silicon Valley in the gaming industry and high tech. In addition, Palmer holds a certificate in Chinese Acupressure, is a certified solar panel installer, and studied Tibetan Buddhism with the 14th Dalai Lama.

She lives and writes in the magical redwood forest of the Santa Cruz Mountains, California.

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My thoughts: this was a really enjoyable, fun fantasy adventure. Teleo is a former soldier turned stonemason and the only one who can save a kingdom (or several it turns out) as the royal family are murdered and the throne stolen. Taking the Princess under his wing, he escapes into the mountains with his apprentice and cousin too. There he gets embroiled in more plots and intrigues – even when he insists he doesn’t want to help!

He’s a good man up against often quite terrible odds and discovering magical symbols called heliotropes, learning how to use them and coming into his own magical powers will aid him in liberating innocent lives from corrupt leaders.

I can see this shaping into a great series where Teleo and his friends restore magic, save the kingdom and place the princess on her rightful throne.

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*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Blood Mothers – Gaye Maguire

Some debts can only be paid in blood.

A rich socialite is found hacked to death in her Dublin home. It’s the beginning of a killing spree that leaves five apparently unconnected people brutally slain. 

Kate Hamilton, a brilliant and ambitious detective sergeant, is assigned to the case and soon uncovers the connection between the victims – they were all involved in an illegal adoption scheme which was running in Ireland up to the 1980s.

In a deeply traditional society, unmarried mothers were shamed by their families, forced to give birth in secret and surrender their newborns for adoption, fuelling a lucrative and cruel baby trade. 

Now, decades later, it seems someone is taking bloody revenge on those who played a part in the adoption racket.

With each day bringing a new victim, Kate and her team race to stop the bloodshed. But when she discovers she has a personal link with both victims and murderer, Kate realises her own life is in danger as never before.Blood Mothers – the first in the gripping new series featuring DS Kate Hamilton

Gaye admits to a lifelong obsession with crime, and a keen interest in psychology and social history. She credits her parents, who were avid readers, with her love of fiction. When she graduated from Enid Blyton to Agatha Christie at age nine, so began a life of crime… reading.  

She enjoyed an award-winning career as a TV Producer/Director working for the BBC, ITV and RTE. She’s always written in her spare time, and during lockdown, when her husband built himself a workshop at the end of the garden, she seized control (peacefully) and renamed it her writing cabin.  The result was BLOOD MOTHERS.  

Now a full-time writer, she has three adult children and one adorable granddaughter. She lives in Dublin with her husband, to whom she now owes a workshop, two of her grown up kids and two rescue dogs who are not at all grown up, but make for great company at the bottom of the garden.  

Blood Mothers is Gaye Maguire’s first book with Inkubator Books. 

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My thoughts: this was a cracking start to a new crime fiction series, featuring DS Kate Hamilton. The case has a personal connection but not one Kate is immediately aware of.

A series of incredibly brutal killings lead to a private mother and baby home run by the Catholic Church. Someone is taking revenge for the actions of those involved years before, although not on the people directly involved but those more on the periphery, people not carefully protected. The nuns and the Bishop who facilitated the cruel system of forced adoptions are free to carry on their lives, but the victims of this killer are not.

The saddest death is that of Billy, a sweet man with learning disabilities, who worked at the home as the odd job man and bookkeeper, writing down the young women’s details and the births. He’s an innocent, just a little cog in the machine, and has been all but abandoned himself.

But Kate and her colleagues are working through the clues and the mysterious American has left plenty of evidence behind. But the final piece is Kate’s own history, it leads her to the killer and a tense standoff.

Dark, clever, twisting and rather heartbreaking at times, this is an intelligent and compelling read. Looking forward to the next one.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Winter of the Wicked – J.L. Vampa

WinterofWicked copy

Congratulations to J.L. Vampa on the release of the HIGHLY-ANTICIPATED second novel in The Sisters Solstice series, Winter of the Wicked! Read on for more and get yourself a copy of this beauty!


Winter of the Wicked (Sisters Solstice #2)

Publication Date: February 21st, 2023

Publisher: Phantom House Press

Genre: Adult Fantasy/ Gothic Fantasy/ Dark Romantic Fantasy

Some witches cast spells. Others sacrifice everything.

A Sister forced to do the unthinkable. A kingdom on the brink. A quartet of witches intent on altering History. 

For centuries, Sister Winter’s life has been dictated by a Grimoire—the Book her Sister Autumn just destroyed. Despite the necessity of its destruction to end a vile shadow organization and the Sisters’ three hundred years of separation, Wendolyn is left adrift without its guidance.

As secrets from long ago begin to rise up around her, Sister Winter must face what haunts her, while the Prince of Mereville uses his abilities as Marchand de Mort to infiltrate The Order—the shadow regime that wants him dead.

Will the ghosts of the past keep Wendolyn from her Sisters? Will their differences spell the end for Midlerea? Or can they put aside what’s been to save the dark prince and the future of the realm?

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Autumn of the Grimoire (Sisters Solstice Series #1)

Publication Date: September 22, 2022

Genre: Gothic Fantasy/ Dark Fantasy Romance

Publisher: Phantom House Press

Some witches cast spells. Others slay kings.

A mysterious Grimoire. A marriage full of dark secrets. A History sculpted by a quartet of ancient Sister witches.

For three hundred years, Sister Autumn has incited wars, burnt villages, killed kings, and released plagues at the bidding of the Grimoire. Meanwhile, her Sister Winter, Sister Spring, and Sister Summer have brought forth only peace.

When an Order from the Grimoire sends Agatha to the Kingdom of Merveille, she already anticipates the worst. Unless she wants to face the wrath of the Goddess, Agatha must keep her head down and do as she’s commanded.

But when the Grimoire Orders her to marry a pompous prince and play the role of a peasant “accepted” by vicious aristocrats, she finds herself at the center of a war between the classes and an age-old prophecy.

Within the court, many players harbor dark secrets—including her new husband. With her newfound influence, Agatha joins forces with the city’s Blacklisted in order to blur the lines between the common man and the elite, unravel the mysteries in her marriage, and decide once and for all if she will defy the Grimoire and face the brutal consequences.

As secrets unfold, will Agatha continue to slay on behalf of the Grimoire, or forge an uncharted History with her unlikely allies?


About the Author

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Jane Lenore (J.L.) Vampa is a published author of Dark Fantasy and Victorian Gothic fiction. J.L. also owns a macabre-style bookish shop, Wicked Whimsy Boutique. She lives in Texas with her musician husband and their two littles who are just as peculiar as they are.

JL Vampa |  Instagram | Twitter | Wicked Whimsy Boutique

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Blog Tour: The Forcing – Paul E. Hardistry

Civilisation is collapsing… Frustrated and angry after years of denial and inaction, in a last-ditch attempt to stave off disaster, a government of youth has taken power in North America, and a policy of institutionalised ageism has been introduced. All those older than the prescribed age are deemed responsible for the current state of the world, and are to be ‘relocated’, their property and assets confiscated. David Ashworth, known by his friends and students as Teacher, and his wife May, find themselves among the thousands being moved to ‘new accommodation’ in the abandoned southern deserts – thrown together with a wealthy industrialist and his wife, a high court lawyer, two recent immigrants to America, and a hospital worker. Together, they must come to terms with their new lives in a land rendered unrecognisable. As the terrible truth of their situation is revealed, lured by rumours of a tropical sanctuary where they can live in peace, they plan a perilous escape. But the world outside is more dangerous than they could ever have imagined. And for those who survive, nothing will ever be the same again…

Canadian Paul Hardisty has spent twenty-five years working all over the world as an environmental scientist and freelance journalist. He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa. He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, survived a bomb blast in a café in Sana’a in 1993, and was one of the last Westerners out of Yemen at the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. In 2022 he criss-crossed Ukraine reporting on the Russian invasion. Paul is a university professor and CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). The four novels in his Claymore Straker series, The Abrupt Physics of Dying, The Evolution of Fear, Reconciliation for the Dead and Absolution, all received great critical acclaim and The Abrupt Physics of Dying was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger and a Telegraph Book of the Year. Paul drew on his own experiences to write Turbulent Wake, an extraordinary departure from his high-octane, thought-provoking thrillers. Paul is a keen outdoorsman, a conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia.

My thoughts: this was really interesting, climate crisis fiction is increasingly becoming a genre all of its own and the ideas being put forward about the fate of our precious little planet are powerful and often quite distressing.

In this, people are sent away to alternative housing when they reach a certain age. Teacher is now at that point – and younger than I am, so I’d be gone already.

What he and wife Meg (who I found very hard to like) find is not a quiet, pleasant place, but akin to a work camp, described by some as a concentration camp, although maybe not as horrific as the ones we would most commonly think of from the Holocaust.

The residents have to share flats with strangers, are given poor rations and made to work in reclamation plants. Each generation is blaming the one before it. Even Teacher’s son, who works for the government, blames them, the phrase “you will never be forgiven” gets used by several characters.

Teacher escapes the camp and heads south, towards the equator, where things are rumoured to be better. His adventures getting to Belize are shocking and his resilience and determined nature are all that keep him alive. He refuses to always see the worst in others and protects Francoise as best he can as they, and Argent (a super wealthy creep) run from survivalists, religious nutcases and the future.

Interspersed with entries in Teacher’s future journal from, I think, Australia, which show us an alternative way of living in the world post climate apocalypse, the story is a gripping, harrowing, thrill ride.

As someone who cares deeply about the planet, about the damage we’ve done as poor caretakers, and who does what she can for the environment, this was a difficult read. But it needed to be, too many are complacent and think that they personally can’t do anything. And that’s the point – instead of going “what am I supposed to do?” and not holding to account big corporations or governments, we, like Teacher and his friends, are sleepwalking into a grim future. Books like this aim to shake us awake.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: The Garnett Girls – Georgina Moore

Love makes you do things you never thought you were capable of…

Forbidden, passionate and all-encompassing, Margo and Richard’s love affair was the stuff of legend—but, ultimately, doomed.

When Richard walked out, Margo locked herself away, leaving her three daughters, Rachel, Imogen, and Sasha, to run wild.

Years later, charismatic Margo entertains lovers and friends in her cottage on the Isle of Wight, refusing to ever speak of Richard and her painful past. But her silence is keeping each of the Garnett girls from finding true happiness.

Rachel is desperate to return to London but is held hostage by responsibility for Sandcove, their beloved but crumbling family home.

Dreamy Imogen feels the pressure to marry her kind, considerate fiancé, even when life is taking an unexpected turn.

And wild, passionate Sasha, trapped between her fractured family and controlling husband, is weighed down by a secret that could shake the family to its core…

The Garnett Girls, the captivating debut novel from Georgina Moore, asks whether children can ever be free of the mistakes of their parents.

My thoughts: I had been waiting for this book for a while as I follow the lovely Georgina Moore on Twitter and in her other guise as a publicity guru she has sent me a few books to review. Every little hint dropped told me this would be a great read, and it was.

I am drawn to books about complicated, messy families, probably because mine is pretty boring! The Garnetts are an all female clan, plus a few husbands, boyfriends and hangers on. After Richard, Margo’s husband, leaves her with three small children, she reclaims her maiden name and forbids discussion of what has happened.

This does not do anyone any good – all of the girls have questions and eldest daughter Rachel has some pretty sad memories too. Of her mother’s breakdown after he leaves, of trying to parent her little sisters far too young. Now she’s feeling trapped in the family home, miserable and worried her husband might be drifting away.

Middle child Imogen is struggling with her identity, used to playing peace keeper, she’s not willing to rock the boat but needs to be honest with herself. And her family.

Youngest Garnett, Sasha, is harbouring secrets, and stuck with a horrible husband, in love with childhood friend Johnny, and furious with her mother.

It’s all going to come out in the end, the closeness of the Garnett Girls will force these bubbling issues to the top, and finally the air will be cleared. But it’s not going to be easy.

For all Richard is not really part of this story – it all revolves around him. Around his absence, around the love story his children have created, around the tiny glimpses they’ve had from other people – their aunt, neighbours, family friends, memories that they don’t all share due to their ages.

The relationship between the sisters, and their mother, and her sister Alice too, another Garnett, is what the story centres around. The secrets and lies of the past catching up with them, the things that have long needed talking about. There’s a lovely scene where the men are standing on the beach watching the Garnetts swim and realising that they don’t really matter in the grand scheme of the family. It’s sad but also pretty true.

Instead of all the parties and drinking, what Margo needs to do is just talk to her beloved daughters. But protected by their close knit community on the Isle of Wight (a character all of its own too) and sheltered by the old house, inherited from her parents, there’s always someone else or something that needs attending to and conversations are avoided.

The writing is clever and funny and crackles along, full of life and the complicated messiness of things. I really enjoyed reading The Garnett Girls and I think you will too!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: God’s Country – Kerry Hadley-Pryce

‘‘I was born in the Black Country and have lived there most of my life. I’ve
always felt that it, and the texture of its part-industrial, part-rural landscape
provokes a unique sensation of place, and I try to emulate that in my writing.
In God’s Country, the Black Country doesn’t just operate as background
scenery, but as a resonant, ever-present figure, and my characters have to
deal with that’ – KERRY HADLEY-PRYCE

Kerry Hadley-Pryce has become synonymous with menacing fiction from the Black Country. In this delicious tale a funeral provides the impetus for a
claustrophobic narrative packed with threat and paranoia.
Guy Flood returns to the Black Country with his girlfriend, Alison, to attend his
identical twin brother’s funeral. The reasons he left, and the secrets he left
behind, slowly become clear. A chilling dark fiction, dominated by unknown
and all-seeing narrator.

KERRY HADLEY-PRYCE was born in the Black Country. She worked
nights in a Wolverhampton petrol station before becoming a secondary
school teacher. She wrote her first novel, The Black Country, whilst
studying for an MA in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing
School. She is currently a PhD student at Manchester Metropolitan
University, researching Psychogeography and Black Country Writing.
God’s Country is her third novel She lives in Stourbridge and tweets

My thoughts: this is a strange and woozy novel, written in the second person, making it hard to fully understand the characters and relate to them, at a remove. Having returned to his family’s farm for his twin brother’s funeral, Guy is truculent and remote. His girlfriend Alison isn’t sure what to expect as Guy doesn’t speak about where he comes from, he’s changed his accent, and she’s surprised at how he reacts to his relatives.

There’s secrets and old resentments boiling away as the family gather, Guy’s father is gruff, bordering on hostile and his sister seems to be mentally elsewhere. Alison feels awkward and unwelcome as father and son circle one another.

She’s trying to find out why Guy left, why his relationships turned so sour but he’s shutting her out, and in the remote farm, there’s little relief to be had. Soon it all comes to the surface, none of it pretty.

Written in the distinctive Black Country dialect, Alison is an outsider who can’t always understand what’s being said, who doesn’t understand the ripples between the family, much like the reader, she’s kept at bay. An unsettling and unusual read.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Book Review: No More Lies – Rachel Abbott

It would be unfair to blame the woman I met tonight for turning my life upside down.  She didn’t.

It was already upside down. I just didn’t know it.

Recently life has been good for Mallory Hansen: a great job, a lovely home, and a wonderful man, Nathan, to share it with.

But now she must ask herself: is it all built on lies?

A shocking accusation has been made against Nathan, and Mallory doesn’t know who to believe. He denies everything, but all the signs point to his guilt. She has learned to trust Nathan, but she also remembers the boy he used to be.

As teenagers, Mallory and Nathan were part of a close-knit group of six friends until a vicious argument drove them apart. Now, fifteen years later, they are back in touch – only to find themselves drawn into a web of mutual distrust, one by one…

The attacks on their lives are skilfully targeted, designed to hit them where they hurt the most, and when a young woman disappears and a baby is abducted, DCI Tom Douglas must try to unravel the past and discover who is the architect of their misery.

A DCI Tom Douglas Thriller

My thoughts: the author kindly sent me a copy of her new book to review and as it’s just been published, here are my thoughts!

I really enjoyed this book, the complicated, tangled mess of the past, six former friends who don’t really see each other any more, a night fifteen years ago that they’ve mostly forgotten and a series of horrific, shocking crimes that bring them back together.

DCI Douglas and his team have to untangle this mess and try to find out why anyone would do this to a group of people – allegations of sexual assault, kidnap, murder, rape. Some of the most heinous crimes and people who cannot understand why they’re the targets.

I only caught on right towards the end, when a few things had started not to add up, pretty much when the police started to pull apart the coincidences and careful building of false evidence and identities. It takes skill to build such a clever story and it had me totally hooked. Who was behind it all? What did a cuddly badger have to do with it? Why was someone so angry so many years later? Well, you’ll have to read it to find out!

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Blog Tour: The Lonely Lake Killings – Wes Markin

A lonely recluse. A missing girl and a community in fear.
When the body of a young local girl is found next to an isolated lake, the main suspect is the old recluse who has lived next to the lake for many years – especially when the young girl’s purse is found on the old man’s doorstep.
But DCI Emma Gardner and her partner DI Paul Riddick aren’t so sure. Why would the old hermit leave such an obvious clue? And who would want to set the old man up?
As they dig deeper into the murder they discover a community in fear, determined to keep hold of long buried secrets. And Riddick is convinced that his own dark past is somehow linked to this crime, too.
Gardner fears that she may never get the answers she needs, until a break leads her down a path she’d rather not face. One that runs directly to her own front door…

Wes Markin is the bestselling author of the DCI Yorke crime novels, set in Salisbury. His new series for Boldwood stars the pragmatic detective DCI Emma Gardner who will be tackling the criminals of North Yorkshire.  Wes lives in Harrogate and the first book in the series The Yorkshire Murders will be published in November 2022.

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My thoughts: this was a dark and twisting crime thriller, set in North Yorkshire, where long buried secrets threaten to come to light and some will go to great lengths to hide them. Where a murder has the oldest of motives but the clues seem to point in different directions and the detectives are distracted by issues in their personal lives, so it takes a little bit longer to solve.

The body of a young woman, Tia Meadows, is found by the home of a reclusive older man. He knew her father a long time ago, and at first glance all evidence points to him. But digging into the case DCI Gardner finds there’s a lot more going on. Has he been set up? Tia’s father, a man who dominates the local building trade, certainly believes the evidence and goes off to get his own justice, while the police investigate the men in Tia’s life. The answers may lie there instead.

Clever, and well paced, this is a gripping and suspenseful read. As the police work through the suspects and possible motives, their personal lives intrude and distract them, leading to tragedy, before they get back on track. A solid and knotty plot, highly enjoyable.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.


Out Today: The Chase – Ava Glass

Publishing today from Penguin is The Chase, a thrilling new book from Ava Glass, I can share with you the book trailer and the news that’s it’s going to be a TV series, made by the people behind The Night Manager. For more info click here. Review coming soon.

In this breakneck, race-against-the-clock thriller, a female British spy has twelve hours to deliver her asset across London while being pursued through the streets of London by Russian intelligence. Can she make it without being spotted . . . or killed?

A freshly-minted secret agent, Emma Makepeace has barely graduated from basic training when she gets the call for her first major assignment. Eager to serve her country and prove her worth, she dives in head first.

Emma must covertly travel across the world’s most watched city to bring the reluctant adult son of Russian dissidents into protective custody, so long as the assassins from the tracking him down don’t get to him first. With London’s famous Ring of Steel hacked by the Russian government, the two must cross the city without being seen by the hundreds of thousands of CCTV cameras that document every inch of the city’s streets, alleys, and gutters.

The underground, buses, trains and cars, are completely out of the question. Traveling on foot, with no phone or bank cards, Emma and her charge have twelve hours to make it to safety. This will take all of Emma’s skills of disguise and subterfuge. But when Emma’s handler goes dark, there’s no one left to trust. Just one wrong move could get them both killed and the clock is ticking…

A massive new talent in British fiction, Ava Glass’s storytelling is complex and finely crafted, combining twisting plotlines, intelligent dialogue and ambiguous characters, all skilfully brought together in an epic climax. Never before has spy fiction been so nail-bitingly real.

Ava Glass is a former civil servant with the highest security clearance bar one.  She has seen just enough of the inner workings of espionage to ensure that she will always be fascinated by spies. This is the first novel in the Alias Emma series.

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Blog Tour: Clara & Olivia – Lucy Ashe

SADLER’S WELLS, London, 1933

I would kill to dance like her.

Sisters Olivia and Clara rehearse with Ninette de Valois at the recently opened Sadler’s Wells. Disciplined and dedicated, Olivia is the perfect ballerina. But no matter how hard she works, she can never match up to identical twin Clara’s charm.

I would kill to be with her.

As rehearsals intensify for the ballet Coppélia, the girls feel increasingly as if they are being watched. And as infatuation threatens to become obsession, the fragile perfection of their lives starts to unravel.

LUCY ASHE trained at the Royal Ballet School for eight years, first as a Junior Associate and then at White Lodge. She has a diploma in dance teaching with the British Ballet Organisation. She decided to go to university to read English Literature at St Hugh’s College, Oxford (MA Oxon), while continuing to dance and perform. She then took a PGCE teaching qualification and became a teacher. She currently teaches English at Harrow School, an all-boys boarding school in North London. Her poetry and short stories have been published in a number of literary journals and she was shortlisted for the 2020 Impress Prize for New Writers. She also reviews theatre, in particular ballet, writing for the website

Lucy writes:

‘I have a great love of ballet and am fascinated by its history. I was lucky enough to meet many of the great dancers of the Royal Ballet, even Dame Ninette de Valois when she came to White Lodge to celebrate her 100th birthday. I have performed at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and learnt the repertoire for many of the classical ballets.

My novel is closely researched, re-creating the early years of the Vic-Wells company at Sadler’s Wells, and the story is immersed in ballet history featuring characters such as Ninette de Valois, Lydia Lopokova, Constant Lambert, Alicia Markova and Nicholas Sergeyev. Frederick and Dora Freed and their pointe shoe workshop play a key role, as does the history of Sadler’s Wells theatre itself. In a book shop on Cecil Court, I found beautifully preserved theatre programmes from the 1932-33 season at Sadler’s Wells and it was magical to imagine my characters holding those pages.

One major inspiration for me was my twin sister. We spent the first part of our lives doing everything together: first day of school, first ballet class, first piano lesson. We were a unit, referred to simply as the twins, and we had a very special connection. That connection remains even though our lives are so entirely different now. And so, in my novel, I have been inspired by the connectedness and the bond of twins, Olivia and Clara staying so close despite their lives starting to take them in different directions.’

My thoughts: when I was little I wanted to be a ballerina, turns out I have great feet, turnout but the wrong attitude. It didn’t stop me, however, becoming a huge ballet fan. I adore going to see the incredible dancers and of course Sadler’s Wells, the home of British ballet, is a theatre I know well. So this book was very, very much up my street.

Set during the period when British ballet was coming into its own, after being dominated by the French and then the Russians, and featuring some of the greats of the time, this very well researched book takes you right into the heart of Sadler’s Wells and the ballet classes attended by twin dancers Olivia and Clara.

Ballet is a small world at this point, and quite insular, so obsession is perfectly possible and it is obsession – almost mirrored in the production of Coppelia being rehearsed, that we find. Two men, a pianist and a cobbler, in love with the twins, but not in a necessarily healthy way. Then there is the twins’ own obsession with ballet, with their performance, their career. One is a purist, the other wants to be a star. This is post Pavlova, pre Fonteyn (although a very young Margot makes a tiny cameo) and there’s maybe a gap for a star dancer in the company. Could Olivia or Clara fill it?

It’s also, ultimately, a love story. Between the sisters, who share their lives with each other almost to the exclusion of others, and with ballet. One I can definitely appreciate, I may never have become a dancer, but sitting in the audience, watching the incredible performers, the hours of work and the honed, perfect bodies, you can fully see that love and obsession that still draws young dancers to it today. A brilliant, highly enjoyable book.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.