blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Carnival of Ash – Tom Beckerlegge

An extravagant, lyrical fantasy about a city of poets and librarians. A city that never was.

Cadenza is the City of Words, a city run by poets, its skyline dominated by the steepled towers of its libraries, its heart beating to the stamp and thrum of the printing presses in the Printing Quarter.

Carlo Mazzoni, a young wordsmith arrives at the city gates intent on making his name as the bells ring out with the news of the death of the city’s poet-leader. Instead, he finds himself embroiled with the intrigues of a city in turmoil, the looming prospect of war with their rival Venice ever-present. A war that threatens not only to destroy Cadenza but remove it from history altogether…

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Tom Beckerlegge grew up in the northwest of England in a house filled with books. Writing as Tom Becker, he won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize with his debut novel; The Carnival of Ash is his first adult book. He lives in Enfield with his wife and young son.

My thoughts: this was an interesting collection of tales set in my mysterious city of words Cadenza, rival of Venice, home of poets. Building into an over-arcing story of the destruction of the city by its inhabitants.

From poet turned gravedigger’s apprentice Carlo, to the Duelling Counts, a murder in the monastery, dungeons beneath the ruler’s palace, Cadenza’s secrets and hidden terrors are revealed as the city slowly heads towards its end.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Secrets of Summer House – Rachel Burton

An emotional, atmospheric summer read about family secrets and loyalty from the author of Kindle bestseller A Bookshop Christmas.
The secrets of Summer House are about to come out at last…

Rushing out of the University Library, undergraduate Alice Kenzie bumps straight into PhD student Tristan Somers. There begins a whirlwind romance, and Alice falls pregnant and gives birth to a baby girl. Then Tristan is killed in a car accident. Unable to cope, Alice takes her baby to Summer House, Tristan’s family home in Suffolk, leaves her there and disappears.

Olivia Somers has always been told that her mother died in the same accident as her father.
But when she finds a bundle of old letters in Summer House, everything she ever believed about her mother is called into question. Can she find her – and even more importantly, forgive her?

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Rachel has a degree in Classics and another in English Literature, and fell into a career in law by mistake. She has spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but now lives in Yorkshire
with her husband and their three cats. She loves yoga, ice hockey, tea, The Beatles, dresses with pockets and very tall romantic heroes. Find her on Twitter & Instagram as @RachelBWriter or follow
her blog at rachelburtonwrites.com

Twitter: @RachelBWriter
Facebook: @Rachelburton74
Instagram: @RachelBWriter

My thoughts: families are complicated, messy beasts, often people do things that they feel are “for the best” even when that’s not necessarily the case. When Olivia’s grandmother, who raised her, dies, things once best thought hidden surface. An envelope of photos, a drunken comment from her father-in-law and Olivia is convinced the story about her parents’ deaths was a lie. Her mother is still alive, but where is she and why did she leave?

Moving back and forth from Olivia’s present and the 1970s love story of her parents, Tristan and Alice, this is a bittersweet, moving and evocative story of love, secrets and truth. The author also includes a playlist (on Spotify) to help you get into the characters story and personalities too, a lovely touch.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Miss Aldridge Regrets – Louise Hare

The glittering RMS Queen Mary. A nightclub singer on the run. An aristocratic family with secrets worth killing for.

London, 1936. Lena Aldridge wonders if life has passed her by. The dazzling theatre career she hoped for hasn’t worked out. Instead, she’s stuck singing in a sticky-floored basement club in Soho, and her married lover has just left her. But Lena has always had a complicated life, one shrouded in mystery as a mixed-race girl passing for white in a city unforgiving of her true racial heritage.

She’s feeling utterly hopeless until a stranger offers her the chance of a lifetime: a starring role on Broadway and a first-class ticket on the Queen Mary bound for New York. After a murder at the club, the timing couldn’t be better, and Lena jumps at the chance to escape England. But death follows her onboard when an obscenely wealthy family draws her into their fold just as one among them is killed in a chillingly familiar way. As Lena navigates the Abernathy’s increasingly bizarre family dynamic, she realizes that her greatest performance won’t be for an audience, but for her life.

My thoughts: This Lovely City was a great debut, but Miss Aldridge Regrets is even better. Such a great book, I was hooked from the get go. With its mix of Soho grime and first class ocean bound glamour, murder, music and family secrets, this is an assured classic in the making.

Lena is a bit naive, and clearly a sucker for a story, happy to jump on a ship with a virtual stranger to a supposed starring role in a show that doesn’t even have a title or a script. She’s also on the run, even though she’s not really done anything wrong, and caught up in something she doesn’t understand, trapped in all the luxury and glamour of an ocean liner.

Lena’s also battling with concepts of race and class, light skinned enough to pass among the Abernathy family as one of their own, but meeting musician Will (who reminds her of her father) brings her back down to reality – she has to pick a side. If they realise she’s not “one of them”, then she won’t be so welcome at the table. She can’t be both, not in America.

The Abernathy/Parker family and their attendants have a lot of secrets, bitterness, feuds, lies and a serious collective alcohol problem. Lena is thrown into their world and has no idea about any of them. She’s not at home in their world, despite being able to switch up her accent from East End to Mayfair, she is an actress after all. It’s only with Will, in the “pub” the crew hang out in that she’s able to be herself. Which should tell her something.

As things go from bad to worse onboard, she doesn’t know who to trust or what to do. Maybe she should have stayed in London after all. She has secrets too, and they’re at risk of spilling out the longer she’s mixing with first class and slipping below decks at night. Will she even make it to New York?

There’s suspense, terrible crimes at sea, but there’s also jazz under the moon and a little romance too. I want a sequel – a What Miss Aldridge Did Next.

*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 Discontent of Mary Wenger – Robert Tucker

TheDiscontent copy

Welcome to the book tour for The Discontent of Mary Wenger by Robert Tucker. Read on for more details!

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The Discontent of Mary Wenger (Paper Dolls #1)

Publication Date: February 3rd, 2022

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Tell-Tale Publishing

Emotionally torn between the conflicting historical social forces of feminism and the traditional roles of women in post-World War II society, Mary Wenger struggles with a deep sense of despair. Spanning the continent during the decades of the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s to the turn of the century, her compulsive lifelong odyssey in search of an acceptable house in which to realize her personal and economic goals throws her out of balance with her family.

A master wordsmith tells Mary’s story with a subtle touch of humor only an actual descendant could wield with success. Her fictional memoir is based on historical facts and bravely reveals Mary’s discovery and fear of separation from her children. The existential examination allows Mary to finally understand how her personal discontent, obsessions, internal demons, and depression affect her husband and children, as they mature and independently react to her attempts to mold them to her vision of how they all should be as a family. The life of every character is determined by his or her delusions and how they clash or compromise with one another.

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Excerpt

Since I was a young girl, I have always believed that death is stalking me. It lurks and hovers in the dark recesses of my mind like a virus waiting to strike and destroy when I least expect it.

When I was eight years old, I wrote a poem about myself and death.

My name is Mary

Sounds airy

Death is scary

It makes me wary

Being wary makes me carey

All my life, I have developed defenses and tried to be a protector of the people I love. They often didn’t see things the way I did and they didn’t agree with me. But I knew what was best for all of us.

I always have.

My mother told me the first night when she and Dad moved in, the wail of an infant floated up to their bedroom. Eyes wide open with fear, she lay listening as the weak cry faded to silence.

“Mike, did you hear that?” she whispered and poked Dad in the ribs. “It came from the cellar.”

“Just a cat. I’ll chase it out in the morning.”

Shaking his arm, she insisted. “It sounded like a baby. You must go down and look.”

“I’m tired. I look in the morning.”

“Please, Mike, I scared.”

“Aah! All right.” He touched a lighted match to their bedside candle. The electricity had not yet been connected. He went down the creaking stairs into the cellar.

Unseen by him, a woman’s bare foot and leg were pulled out through the window. The glow of the candle light was reflected by the wet shine of an object in one corner. Dad approached it and his blood chilled.

A newborn infant lay curled, the blood and mucous of the afterbirth still clinging to its blue body.

In horror, he fumbled his way back up the stairs to the bedroom where he blew out the candle and set it on the dresser.

Mother pulled the blankets close around herself. “What was it?”

Dad quickly climbed into bed. “Nothing but cat. I get rid of it in the morning.”

Before Mother awoke, Dad buried the infant in the back part of the yard farthest from the house in a corner of what would be a vegetable garden.

Many years later, when I was a young woman, Mother told me she knew Dad had lied to her to shield her from the grotesque reality of what he had found in the basement. She knew the difference between the wail of a newborn infant and the wail of a cat.  

She never asked him where he had buried the infant. She suspected she knew from the unusual growth and size of tomatoes she had planted in that section of the garden. The thought of the child as fertilizer sickened her. Believing the soul of the infant existed in the ripe red fruit, she buried the tomatoes in a field far from the house and dug up and destroyed the plants.

Refusing to explain why, she avoided planting any other vegetables in that part of the garden. The spot of untilled soil was a silent message to Dad that she knew what had lain buried there.

I was sitting between Ruth and Nina clinking ice in our glasses of lemonade. I slowly turned the pages of the latest Sears & Roebuck catalog while they chatted about the clothes and merchandise they would buy if they had the money. We all did a lot of wishing in those days. Wishing didn’t cost anything, but left us with an aching malaise and a shared emptiness that our imaginations could not fill.

Since we had little in the way of personal possessions, we shared everything. If one of us even bought a candy bar, we wouldn’t think of eating it all. We would divide it up so each of us had a taste.

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About the Author

IMG_0987TuckerTU

Author of 27 novels and a retired business and management consultant in a wide range of industries throughout the country, I reside with my wife in Southern California.

I’m a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles with Bachelor’s and Master Degrees.

A Pulitzer nominated author, I am a recipient of the Samuel Goldwyn and Donald Davis Literary Awards.

An affinity for family and generations pervades my novels. My works are literary and genre fiction that address the nature and importance of personal integrity.

As the grandson of immigrants who fled persecution in Germany and Austria-Hungary and came to America during the early 1900’s, the early history of our country and the rise of the middle-class have always held a fascination for me.  The dramatic depiction of fictional characters placed in actual events sharply and realistically bring alive the harsh times and adversity of the multitude of people who sought freedom and a better way of life and demonstrate that only a little over one-hundred years have passed to bring us to where we are as a struggling society today.

The chronology and events of history have captured and held my interest for many reasons, among them being stories that entertain, educate, and inform. Learning about the lives of my immigrant grandparents coming to America from Czechoslovakia during the early 1900s and the lives of my parents during the 1920s, 30s, and 40s provided the initial motivation. Researching and writing historical fiction is a way to learn more about myself and my origins and the social, political, and economic influences related to my generation.

Whether writing historical fiction or non-fiction or fantasy, I’m drawn into the societies and cultures of a particular period that inspire the creation of characters who bring that era to life. Not only do I experience this dynamic in books, but in films, plays, dance, music, and other art forms.

Researching history takes me into the exploration of new territory perhaps outside of my own life experience through reading other sources, interviews, travel, and films. Although a number of fine books are written from personal experience by authors who lived through those times, much of the historical writing by contemporary authors is dependent on secondary sources. Forays into the past for story material is a rewarding part of the creative process.

Robert Tucker

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Blog Tour: A Moment of Faith – Martin Svaneborg

Copenhagen, 1840 – Fighting to reconcile his obligations with a quest for romance, the eccentric philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, rushes through the cobbled streets, thrusting himself into the arms

of Regine and a disastrous engagement.
Copenhagen, 1855 – Withering away in a hospital bed, Bitter and alone, Kierkegaard conjures up a preposterous scheme. A vendetta against the Bishop of Copenhagen, and a mission to save the
future of love.
Copenhagen, now – Introvert Christian Kardahl, meets devout and mysterious Emma for the first time. Two days later, Christian comes across an old letter aimed to destroy a famous, eccentric philosopher. When a sudden murder is added to the mystery, the past has caught up. Christian and Emma are drawn into an involuntary quest that will make them question their belief in history and, unless they can sort out the puzzle, their faith and love will be forever doomed.
‘Brilliantly written, a bridge between the present and Kierkegaard past’ – Book Reviewer

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With a background in musical theatre as both an actor, singer, and dancer, Martin
Svaneborg has spent his teenage and adult life as a storyteller. In 2018, driven mainly by his interest in the history of religion, Martin started studying theology at the University of Copenhagen while
exploring other ways of telling stories as a theatre director, speech coach, and speaker, hence the transition to novel writing felt natural, and his debut novel is a fusion of his growing interest for the
personal life of the philosophers he encountered during his studies and the desire to tell an adventurous love story. Also, he, like Kierkegaard, has a thing for nice, long sentences.

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My thoughts: I remember reading about Kierkegaard when I was studying theology and philosophy, although it was some time ago. So I was intrigued by this book, which moves between Kierkegaard’s life and a modern day mystery.

Christian has become fascinated by an unusual offshoot of Christianity and visits a church that follows this doctrine. There are not many congregants so he stands out as a stranger. He is drawn into a race against time to find the original deeds to the church building and save it from being sold and demolished. He and his new friend Emma need his knowledge of Kierkegaard and her knowledge of the church to solve the mystery.

Once this got going it was really enjoyable, I liked the glimpses into past Denmark and the adventure Christian and Emma find themselves on – hunting for hidden archives in the library and then being tracked to England, where they’re threatened in a church and chased to the airport. It’s all very exciting, gung-ho stuff.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Book of Last Letters – Kerry Barrett

Inspired by an incredible true story, this is an unforgettable novel about love, loss and one impossible choice…

London, 1940
When nurse Elsie offers to send a reassuring letter to the family of a patient, she has an idea. She begins a book of last letters: messages to be sent on to wounded soldiers’ loved ones should the very worst come to pass, so that no one is left without a final goodbye.

But one message will change Elsie’s life forever. When a patient makes a devastating request, can Elsie find the strength to do the unthinkable?

London, present day
Stephanie has a lot of people she’d like to speak to: her estranged brother, to whom her last words were in anger; her nan, whose dementia means she is only occasionally lucid enough to talk.

When she discovers a book of wartime letters, Stephanie realises the importance of our final words – and uncovers the story of a secret love, a desperate choice, and the unimaginable courage of the woman behind it all…

A moving and compelling historical novel from the author of The Girl in the Picture, perfect for fans of The Nightingale and The Keeper of Happy Endings.

My thoughts: inspired by a real book of letters and other things, this is a lovely story, set partly in 1940/1 and now. Elsie is a nurse in a South London hospital during the Blitz, to cheer up her patients and provide some hope, she brings in a scrapbook and asks them to write letters to their loved ones, draw pictures, whatever they’d like.

Years later the book resurfaces after being thought lost and inspires Stevie to create a new book and a mural at the retirement home she works in. She wants to track Elsie down and find out what happened next.

Both Elsie and Stevie are dealing with complicated situations, struggling to stay afloat in their lives. The book connects them across the years and changes their lives forever. Heartwarming, bittersweet and rather lovely.

*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: The Copper Chevalier – Emily Owen

For George and Douglas Abernathy, life is on the up. Their new android-building business is thriving and they are set to move from their clockmaker’s shop in Soho to a spectacular country mansion.

Then, the bombastic General Brassington forces the brothers to create a mechanical soldier to help quell the Indian Mutiny. The resulting steam-powered, clockwork soldier is promptly shipped to India.

The soldier’s mission is clear, he must subdue the rebellious sepoys and uphold the British Empire’s interests. But after becoming embroiled in the struggle, he’s no longer certain who the true enemy is. When the soldier uncovers a plot that could turn the tide of the conflict and alter the nature of warfare, he must decide where his loyalty lies.

Meanwhile, Molly, the brothers’ botanist teenage sister, faces her own challenges while trying to create her dream garden at the family’s new home…

My thoughts: after their success with The Mechanical Maestro, the Abernathys’ fortunes are on the rise as they move house, and build more automatons. Commissioned by a General to build a mechanical soldier to aid in quashing an uprising in India, they create an extraordinary being – Colonel Copperton. But when he uncovers a plot to use a chemical weapon on the sepoys, his true ingenuity is revealed.

Meanwhile Molly (who’s my favourite character) is designing her garden and bickering with the landscape designer her brother George has hired. But methinks the lady doth protest too much…

This was lots of fun but with a serious point at its heart, what the East India Company and the British Army did in India during the 1800s and 1900s was often cruel and brutal, native peoples were oppressed and killed simply for wanting to be left alone to self govern. The history of the British in India is very sad and shameful, unfortunately not everyone is as good as Copperton and his friends, who have strong moral foundations and won’t harm civilians.

I liked the contrast between the chapters set in India and those back home in Britain – the lighthearted escapades of Molly and the various automatons in the house stopped the book feeling too heavy – as even in the Abernathy household there were some more serious things going on with George that set his siblings at odds with him. This was also sensitively handled and Doctor Molly is a force to be reckoned with.

I was gifted a copy of this book to read and review by the author, who remembered I had been on the blog tour for The Mechanical Maestro, so thank you Emily. The Copper Chevalier will be published in paperback and ebook formats on March 31st, 2022.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Secrets Left Behind – Antoinette Tyrrell

Hungry for scandal, the villagers of Rathmichael congregate in the grand Hatchwood House.
Before the night is over, the elusive Kate Millington will lie dead at the bottom of the Hatchwood stairs – her death opening a disturbing window into the past for three women.

Alice, Kate’s daughter, is faced with her grief for a mother who was forever distant. As the circumstances of Kate’s death, and her state of mind, are drawn into question, Alice struggles to understand the appalling truth about her mother’s past.

In New York, a death bed secret brings Faith Cranston to Ireland, where news of a shocking accident in a rural community leads her to a distressing discovery.

Nancy Canning has only seen Kate from afar. Ashamed of her past, an overwhelming fear of human relationships drives Nancy. As the news of Kate’s death spreads through the village, she is forced to overcome her fear of connection, and come to terms with the fact that the shame she feels may not be hers alone.

Over the course of a harsh Irish winter, the women battle misogyny and impediment as they struggle to reveal the secrets about Kate’s past.
But will they ever be able to make peace with the devastating truth they’re about to uncover?

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Antoinette’s dream in life is to be paid to read books but as a close second, she’s happy to write them instead. She studied English and History at NUI Maynooth, followed by a career in public relations. Her debut novel, Home to Cavendish, was published by Poolbeg Press in 2019, the same year that Antoinette decided she’d had enough of 9 to 5 life and endless commuting. 

Her decision to set up her own writing consultancy coincided neatly with the start of a global health pandemic but despite some setbacks, she has established herself as a successful business and ghost-writer. She recently moved to the Costa Blanca with her partner Ahmed. True to her Irish roots she spends most of her days convinced that it is going to start raining, any minute now.  

The Secrets Left Behind, her second novel, is a multi-layered tale of the savage severing of maternal ties, a crumbling marriage built on conjecture, and the devastating impact on the next generation of women. It is set against the backdrop of the patriarchal regime once imposed by the Catholic Church in Ireland and spans the period from 1952 to 1981.
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My thoughts: this was really interesting, covering one of the saddest things that women in the recent past were subjected to – religious run homes for unwed mothers and forced adoption of their babies. Kate Millington is a deeply unhappy woman, carrying secrets and shame all her life. Even married she can’t shake the pain of her past and it wrecks her relationships.

After her death, her daughter starts to dig, at the same time two other women, Nancy and Faith, on opposite sides of the Atlantic are also asking questions about their pasts. Nancy was raised in an orphanage and Faith was adopted, but on her deathbed, Faith’s adored mother tells her a secret.

Between them, these women (and a few helpful men) investigate their pasts, the terrible cruelties done to young women and finally bring two very different mothers some peace in their deaths.

The story is sad and shocking, but ultimately redemptive for Alice, Nancy and Faith. Situations like Kate’s should never have happened and the terrible secrecy around it needs to be lifted. The Catholic Church doesn’t come out well in this book – it’s the priests and nuns who did these terrible things after all. Thankfully it doesn’t happen in modern Ireland, though probably in some developing countries something similar goes on but there are people living now who are affected by this and they need all the support and understanding that Faith finds completely absent.

*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 Physician’s Daughter – Martha Conway

A compelling novel of female perseverance and the role of women in society set in the aftermath of the American Civil War. For readers of Tracey Chevalier and The Second Mrs Thistlewood

It is 1865, the American Civil War has just ended, and 18-year old Vita Tenney is determined to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a country doctor like her father. But when her father tells her she must get married instead, Vita explores every means of escape – and finds one in the person of war veteran Jacob Culhane. Damaged by what he’s seen in battle and with all his family gone, Jacob is seeking investors for a fledgling business. Then he meets Vita – and together they hatch a plan that should satisfy both their desires.Months later, Vita seemingly has everything she ever wanted. But alone in a big city and haunted by the mistakes of her past, she wonders if the life she always thought she wanted was too good to be true. When love starts to compete with ambition, what will come out on top?

From the author of The Floating Theatre, The Physician’s Daughter is the story of two people trying to make their way in a world that is struggling to escape its past.

Martha Conway has been nominated for an Edgar Award and won the North American Book Award for Best Historical Fiction. She teaches creative writing for Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she is one of seven sisters. She now lives in San Francisco with her family.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this book, Vita was so determined and brave, striking out on her own – thinking that that was the only way to get to be a doctor. Jacob was equally determined to find her and support her – he didn’t want to hold her back or force her to be someone she wasn’t. I felt sorry for Mitty, her life wasn’t what she’d invisioned and it was only by following Vita’s example in the end that she got to use her brain again and engage with learning.

Women were so stifled, and banned from doing so much, the incredibly limited medical schools who would take female trainees, and even then only a handful. I know it was the same case here too – this ridiculous idea that women, who deal with blood and bodily fluids all the time (especially if they have children) would faint and be too delicate is absurd. Even now fewer women attend medical school – put off by the patriarchal medical establishment, told they’d be better off elsewhere. The old boys network has a lot to answer for. But reading this book, hearing Vita’s voice reminds me of all the incredibly brave, pioneering women who struck out and stuck up for themselves and forced society (and men) to see them as equals.

*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: Mrs Morphett’s Macaroons – Patsy Trench

London, 1905. A show. A stuttering romance. Two squabbling actresses.
Is it Shakespeare? Is it Vaudeville?
Not quite. It is Mrs Morphett’s Macaroons, a satirical play about suffragettes which its creators – friends and would-be lovers Robbie Robinson and Violet Graham – are preparing to mount in London’s West End.
It is the play rival actresses Merry and Gaye would kill to be in, if only they hadn’t insulted the producer all those years ago.
For Robbie and Violet however the road to West End glory is not smooth. There are backers to be appeased, actors to be tamed and a theatre to be found; and in the midst of it all a budding romance that risks being undermined by professional differences.
Never mix business with pleasure?
Maybe, maybe not.
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Patsy Trench has spent her life working in the theatre. She was an actress for twenty
years in theatre and television in the UK and Australia. She has written scripts for stage and (TV) screen and co-founded The Children’s Musical Theatre of London, creating original musicals with primary school children. She is the author of three non fiction books about colonial Australia based on her own family history and four novels about women breaking the mould in times past. Mrs Morphett’s Macaroons is book four in her ‘Modern Women: Entertaining Edwardians’ series and is
set in the world she knows and loves best. When she is not writing books she teaches theatre part- time and organises theatre trips for overseas students.
She lives in London. She has two children and so far one grandson.

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My thoughts: as a lifelong theatre nerd and feminist, this book appealed to me on several levels, both women’s history and theatrical history being things I will happily read about all day long. It was also very clever and funny, which was a bonus. We often think of Edwardians as being quite stuffy and traditional, women being confined to corsets and the house, but plenty of women were working – including as actresses and theatre producers.

And of course the 1900s saw the rise of women’s suffrage as a political cause, with the Pankhursts and Fawcetts at the forefront – both pop up in this story.

But the story belongs to Violet, Merry and Gaye (I have a great-great-aunt Gaye, who was an Edwardian, funny old world!) and to a lesser extent the other women who people it. All three are women making their own way in a world still hostile to the idea that a woman might want more than a husband and children. They’re living alone and making their own money, not relying on fathers or husbands to help them out. Not an easy thing to do, as Merry and Gaye discover as they try to make a go of their double act.

Violet, who once worked for the famous theatre producer Henry Beerbohm Tree, is a little in over her head but Robbie, who loves her, doesn’t really care, and she’s resourceful enough to pull it all together. As the old saying goes – it’ll be all right on the night!

Really enjoyable, funny but with a serious message at its core, this is a highly entertaining and thoughtful 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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