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Cover Love. . . With Kitty Wilson

Posted on 17th September, 2021

This week it is a great pleasure to welcome my lovely friend Kitty Wilson on a return visit to my blog. Kitty is the author of the very successful Cornish Village School series, published by Canelo.

 

 

She has now written her first stand-alone novel, Every Day in December, published by One More Chapter, which is about the relationship between Belle, who, in spite of personal difficulties, believes that in December special things can happen; and Rory, who, because of what happened to him some years ago, now hates that time of year.

 

Today Kitty is here to tell us about Every Day in December's front cover.

 

* * * *

 

I was excited about the cover of Every Day In December as it was my first ever standalone and felt very lucky that they included me in some of the decision-making. I had been very keen that blue was a dominant cover colour because I wanted that feeling of a winter sky and having snowflakes falling across the cover really helps to conjure that. The book is packed with snowy scenes, most of them involving Belle leading Rory astray, and I love that snow became a feature of the cover.

 

 

As an author, you hear horror stories about covers where the hero and heroine bear no physical resemblance to the characters themselves but in this instance, they have captured them perfectly. I have always seen Rory as looking a bit like Jamie from Outlander but in a suit, so I'm really happy with the way he looks on this cover. Belle reminds me of a young brunette Debbie Harry and the cover does a great job of showing her as a relaxed, creative type. I love that they are on opposite sides of the street looking across at each other - which symbolises to me that as interested as they are in each other, they both have a little work to do before they can bridge that gap and have their happy ever after.

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The book is set in Bristol and Bath and the surrounding countryside, and I'm so happy that the design highlights the Georgian features that the area is so well known for. With Belle's love of Shakespeare threaded through Every Day In December, a nod to the history of the two cities is really very cute. And of course, as a fan of all things historic, I love the inclusion of the old-fashioned lamppost and railing. In real life they make me squeal so having them on the cover makes my heart happy. It is also pertinent because one of the key scenes towards the end of the novel involves Belle taking Rory to task under the light of a streetlamp as snow is falling around them.

 

But my favourite bit is the tagline. I may be able to write a whole novel but distilling it into a sentence I always find tricksy. Luckily my editor has manged to capture the story perfectly. The structure of the book is that each chapter relates to one day in the month of December and Rory is preparing to fly back to Australia on the first of January so they really do only have one month in which to fall in love and I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed writing the hurly-burly, slightly daft but beautifully romantic way they got there.

 

* * * *

Blurb:

Two people. One month to fall in love.

Belle Wilde loves December. Yes, she’s just lost her job and Christmas is not a good time to find yourself ‘financially challenged’. And yes, her parents are still going on about the fact that she really should have it all together by now. But Belle believes that in December, magic can happen.

 

Rory Walters hates December. Whilst it looks like his life is together, he’s still reeling from a winter’s night five years ago when his life changed forever. Now back at home, he’s certain that this will be yet another Christmas to endure rather than enjoy.

 

But as midnight on December 31st draws closer, Belle and Rory’s time together is coming to an end. With a little help from a Christmas miracle could Belle find the one thing she really wants underneath the mistletoe?

 

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Every Day in December at Amazon    

 

Kitty's author page on Amazon 

 

Kitty on Twitter 

 

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PS I couldn't resist adding this!

 

 

 

This photo was taken during a wonderful holiday in Bath - sorry, did I say holiday? I meant, of course, to say writers' retreat.

 

Top to bottom: Kitty Wilson, Jane Cable/Eva Glyn, Cass Grafton, Kirsten Hesketh/Poppy Cooper and yours truly. The champagne was because it was Kitty's publication day.

 

 

Versions of the Past.

Posted on 10th September, 2021

This week I want to share a book review of The Missing Pieces of Us by Eva Glyn. Some of you will know that Eva Glyn is the pen name of Jane Cable. In the interests of transparency, I want to say straight out that Jane is a dear friend of mine - but you may also like to know that I started reading her books before we became good friends, so I hope you feel you can trust my judgement.

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There are three versions of the past -

his, hers and the truth.

 

The Missing Pieces of Us is a poignant exploration of the emotions surrounding love and loss and the impact these can have on our lives. In particular, the book takes an absorbing and compassionate look into the complexities of mental health and depression, which makes the story feel very real and vivid in today's world, with our current awareness of the importance, and sometimes the fragility, of mental health, which has come very much to the fore during the pandemic and the lockdowns we have all lived through.

 

 

 

Robin and Izzie, the two narrators, both carry emotional burdens derived from loss and the story shows the impact this has on their lives and relationships. Their memories of past events influence their beliefs, actions, reactions and opinions in the present day. Gradually, this unfolds into a tale of self-discovery, which is at times painful to read, but also heartfelt and fascinating.

 

My favourite character was Izzie's young daughter Claire. She is beautifully drawn, forced through circumstances to show maturity beyond her years, but always a convincing teenager.

 

The story is carefully constructed and the reader will feel as entangled as the characters do until matters gradually become clear - and there are some shocks along the way. At the heart of the story is the importance of understanding - how flawed it can be when we look at others; equally how flawed it can be when we think of ourselves; and ultimately, how it lies at the core of everything we are and everything we do.

 

* * * *

 

Blurb:

When Robin Vail walks back into widow Isobel O’Briain’s life decades after he abruptly left it, the dark days since her husband’s unexpected passing finally know light. Robin has fallen on hard times but Izzie and her teenage daughter Claire quickly remind him what it’s like to have family…and hope.

 

But Robin and Izzie are no longer those twenty-something lovers, and as they grow closer once more the missing pieces of their past weigh heavy. Now, to stop history repeating, Izzie and Robin must face facts and right wrongs…no matter how painful.

 

* * * *

 

Link to The Missing Pieces of Us on Amazon.

 

Cover Love . . . With Chrissie Manby

Posted on 3rd September, 2021

This week it is a huge pleasure to welcome my friend Chris Manby to my blog. We've known one another for some years and I can't quite believe that this is her first visit here - but what better reason could there be for her to drop by than to celebrate the utterly wonderful Saying Goodbye to Tuesday, which you may recall I reviewed here three weeks ago. (If you'd like to see my review, it's here.)

 

So let's here from Chris why Saying Goodbye to Tuesday has the perfect cover. . .

 

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If there’s one subject guaranteed to get any group of writers seriously animated, it’s covers. Yes, yes, we all know that you’re not supposed to judge a book etc… but every debut author learns pretty quickly that covers really matter.

 

Since I published my first book, Flatmates, almost twenty-five years ago, I’ve been lucky enough to publish almost forty further novels. Arranged side by side, they provide an interesting tableau of “fiction cover fashions through the ages”. My early novels had the sort of brightly coloured photographic covers that were all the rage in the nineties. These were replaced by cartoonish illustrated covers in the early noughties (always featuring a “rat-faced girl”, as I once complained to my editor). Five books later, the cartoons were dropped for photographs again. More recently, illustrative covers are back in vogue. I’d like to say that the only thing that hasn’t changed is my name, but that’s been tinkered with too. I started my writing career as Chris Manby, but was persuaded to change it to Chrissie when it became clear that many people thought I was a bloke, despite my author photo.

 

I’ve had covers I’ve liked and covers I could hardly bear to look at. Sometimes, foreign editions have landed on my doorstep with such strange covers I’ve wondered whether I’ve in fact been sent the wrong book. The cover of the Russian version of Spa Wars, my comic novel about two warring beauty salon owners, featured a dwarf dressed in a lab coat pressing a stethoscope against a buxom model’s cleavage. Mind you, the UK version was not much better, featuring a hard-looking model in a white mini-dress wielding a hairdryer in a way that was much more “lad’s mag” than gentle chick lit. That novel bombed.

 

With such a variety of covers to choose from, I thought it would be hard to pick a favourite, but a clear winner emerged just as Susanna asked me to write for Cover Love. It just happens to be my new book. It’s called Saying Goodbye To Tuesday and it’s quite a departure for me. It’s still romantic comedy but the narrator of the novel is Stupendo, a Labrador/ Staffie cross, deceased.

 

 

The cover for Tuesday, as I’ve come to call it, was designed by Jo Myler of Hodder and Stoughton’s in-house team. From the very first sketches, I knew she was going to nail the brief. Of course it had to feature a dog. Stupendo the cover star went through a few iterations. An early version, with more Staffie than Labrador in his lineage, was deemed too challenging for readers who might not be as dog-crazy as I am. It was hard also to get Stupendo’s pose right. How can you draw a dog sitting facing the reader without, a-hem, showing his best doggy bits?

 

To solve the problem, Jo brought artist Fiona Purves on board. Fiona specialises in pet portraits. Her Instagram feed (@fiona_purves) is a feast for the animal lover’s eyes. With her paintbrush she has captured the spirit of all manner of creatures great and small, from tiny birds to the majestic blue whale. I was sure she would be able to bring my fictional dog to life (or afterlife, as it happens), and she has.

 

Saying Goodbye To Tuesday is out in e-book from the 9th September but I can’t wait to see the paperback on the shelves this November. Thanks to Jo and Fiona, my new book has a cover that I can truly claim to love.

 

* * * *

 

Blurb:

To love and protect. The code of the good dog is clear.

 

When single mother Tuesday took on mongrel pup Stupendo, she made a friend for life. Through the best and the worst of times, Stupendo has been there for her. Ever faithful, ever loyal, ever true. Nothing could break their bond. Until last week.
 
Stupendo doesn't know why Tuesday is suddenly ignoring him or why his doggy antics no longer seem to soothe Baby William. It takes his worst enemy - the cat next door - to break the news that Stupendo has become a ghost.
 
Somehow left behind on Earth, Stupendo knows he has unfinished business. Enlisting the help of the community of animals in the neighbourhood, Stupendo must get to the bottom of the very human sadness that hangs over his old home and keeps him from saying goodbye to Tuesday.

 

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Chris's links:

Chrissie's author page on Amazon   

 

Chrissie on Twitter  

 

Chrissie's author page on Facebook 

 

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Calling All Netgalley Readers

Posted on 3rd September, 2021

My big news this week is that book number 3 in the Surplus Girls series, Christmas with the Surplus Girls, is now on Netgalley, so if you're a Netgalley reader who loves sagas, I hope you'll consider asking to read it, especially if you've already enjoyed The Surplus Girls and The Surplus Girls' Orphans.

 

 

One reviewer says: "Such a joy to read.... This series is turning into a remarkable collection."

 

Here's the link to Netgalley - Christmas with the Surplus Girls  

 

... and here's the blurb:

 

After the sorrows of war, can Christmas wishes come true?

 

Manchester, 1922. Nancy Pike is out of her depth. A pupil at the Miss Heskeths' school for surplus girls, she's blundering through her lessons and her job placements. She never wanted to leave her beloved pie-shop job, but she knows she needs to better herself. Her only joy is getting to know the children at St Anthony's orphanage. And working for Mr Zachary Milner twice a week.

 

Zachary's new business is off to a flying start. Alone in the world since the death of his brother, he's determined to do well for the both of them. And Nancy's presence has brought a little sunshine back into his life. But when she makes a terrible mistake that puts his livelihood in jeopardy, he has no choice but to let her go.

 

As Nancy struggles to find a way to make it up to him, she must also try to make this Christmas the best the orphans have ever seen - or risk losing yet another chance to help her family. As she battles the prejudices around her, and her own fear, can she bring a little Christmas cheer to the orphanage, and maybe even to Zachary Milner?

 

 

Cover Love. . . With Eva Glyn

Posted on 26th August, 2021

This week I am delighted to welcome Jane Cable back to my blog, this time as her other self - Eva Glyn - to talk about why the cover of her new novel, The Olive Grove, means so much to her.

 

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It was a dark February teatime in the middle of lockdown when I first saw the cover for The Olive Grove and I almost wept. It was just so beautiful, so instantly evocative of Croatia, and spoke to me of longed for sunshine and travel. I am not an especially emotional person, but it all but brought me to my knees.

 

 

The more I looked at the cover, the more mesmerised I became. The sea almost looked as though it was moving, gently rocking the boat with every ripple telling a story. In the distance, the horizon blurs into the bluest of skies.

The detail on the cover is exquisite, right down to the yellowish rosemary so typical of the Dalmatian islands, the grey rocks, and the pine trees that cling to the edges of everything. And as I looked at the cover I was there with Antonia the first time she swims in Vincenzo the sculptor’s cove:

 

The cool tingle of seawater on Antonia’s skin melted into a delicious freshness, contrasting with the warmth of the sunlight flooding the deserted bay. Vincenzo had been right about how wonderful it was, and she ploughed through the gentle wash of the crystal waves to tell him.

“Now you have tried you must come every day. Make the most of it.”

“I certainly couldn’t do this at home at the beginning of June. Even though I live near the sea I rarely ever go in. It’s too bloody cold.”

Vincenzo flipped onto his back to float. “I swim summer and winter. Every day. When I have to travel I miss it; a hotel pool is not the same.”

Antonia joined him, gazing up into the pale blue sky. “Do you travel very often?”

“Only when I have to visit galleries if there is a show of my work, or to meet important buyers. This winter it will be Amsterdam and Tokyo. I’ve never been to Japan before – it should be cool.”

“I’d love to travel more.”

“Then do it. When you finish here in October, see the world.”

She laughed, then started to swim towards the shallow sloping rocks that lined the bay. “Not possible.”

“Everything is possible.”

 

In a year when many of us have been unwilling or unable to travel abroad I hope The Olive Grove will be true to the promise of its wonderful cover and take readers on a journey in their heads and hearts. I was lucky enough to be able to make the journey a few weeks ago, and this picture will show you just how true to beautiful Croatia the scene on the cover is and I am truly indebted to the cover designer for making it so.

 

* * * *

 

Blurb:

An English woman searching for a different future

A man desperate to escape his war-ravaged past

Can these two find what they are looking for on the beautiful Croatian island of Korčula?

Antonia Butler is on the brink of a life-changing decision and a job advert looking for a multilingual housekeeper at a beautifully renovated Croatian farmhouse, Vila Maslina, is one she can’t ignore.

Arriving on the tiny picturesque island of Korčula, Antonia feels a spark of hope for the first time in a long time. This is a chance to leave the past behind.

* * * *

 

The Olive Grove will be published on September 3rd. Click here to visit Amazon.

 

Cover Love US-Style . . . With Rosie Hendry

Posted on 19th August, 2021

Welcome to a Cover Love blog with a difference. This week saga author Rosie Hendry is going to share the American covers for her East End Angels series. It's facinating to see the difference between the US and UK covers.

 

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The rights to publish the East End Angels series in the USA and Canada were never sold to my UK traditional publisher, so I’ve now published all four books independently in e-book and print in those territories.

 

Each book has been re-edited and given a new cover more suited for the American and Canadian market. I did lots of research looking at book covers, comparing UK and USA/Canadian covers and there’s a definite difference. Sometimes publishers take account of what readers look for in each country and will publish the same book with separate covers for the UK and USA/Canadian markets.

 

I used Design for Writers who came highly recommended, to design the covers. Andrew did a wonderful job designing the whole series.

 

One of the important things that I wanted to get across on all the covers, was that the books are set in London, so they needed iconic images on the front that shouted out London to a reader at first glance. And of course, they had to say wartime, too.

 

Andrew came up with the brilliant background image that conveys both time and place for East End Angels. It’s a real photograph of the burning docks beyond Tower Bridge, taken at the start of the Blitz. The sight of plumes of smoke rising into the air from the bombing, combined with silhouettes of aircraft flying overhead portrays the place and era perfectly. This is a sight witnessed by the characters in the book. It’s perfect for illustrating the dangers and challenges they must face in their role as ambulance crew, as well as in their personal lives living in a city under attack.

 

With these books, we decided to go for just one person on the cover, compared with the three used on the UK covers. Each book has the same model but different images. The whole series, with the different colour tones on each cover, also fit together well as a set.

 

It took time to get the East End Angels cover right, coming up with an appropriate tag-line and blurb, making small adjustments until we were happy. I’m delighted with the finished result and the cover has had good feedback.

 

It feels different to the UK publisher’s edition of East End Angels, which looks cosier.

 

 

My daughter recently read the book for the first time and was surprised at the story. In her late teens, she’d judged it to be a gentler, Second World War on the Home Front book, going by the publisher cover, when in fact it is a grittier story, portraying the reality of working as ambulance crew rescuing casualties of the Blitz. She felt the new cover of East End Angels was a better fit for the story. I hope that American and Canadian readers of historical fiction will be intrigued enough by the cover to find out more!

 

* * * *

 

In a city under attack, everyone must play their part.

 

London, 1940 - When East-Ender, Frankie, joins the ambulance crew at Station Seventy-Five, she finally has a chance to follow her dreams, while still caring for those she loves at home. Can she find her inner strength when faced with the shocking reality of a city at war?

 

Upper-class Winnie likes to go her own way, working as an ambulance driver despite her parents’ disapproval. Pushing against the rules, she throws herself into her work until a tragedy forces her to wonder if she’s made the right choice.

 

Former housemaid Bella’s ambitions were crushed by family circumstance. Now she’s found a new job and a home she loves. But when the air raids start, will she be forced to begin life all over again?

 

Working together at ambulance Station Seventy-Five, in London during 1940, the three East End Angels form a strong bond and come to depend on each other. Can the ties of friendship, family and love help them survive the Blitz?

 

Readers love East End Angels

“What an absolutely stunning debut. I simply adored this book.” NetGalley reviewer

 

“As soon as I opened up the book I felt myself transported back in time. Rosie Hendry has a beautiful way of writing that completely draws the reader into the story. I could hear the bombs and smell the smoke as I totally and utterly got swept away.” It’s all about the books blog

 

“This book touched my heart!” 5* NetGalley reviewer

 

“One of the best books I’ve read for a while, each time I opened the book and got stuck into the chapters I was just in the world and nothing else mattered! I adored the characters and the friendships that bonded and I was just so invested.” Goodreads reviewer

 

“I absolutely loved this book” Goodreads reviewer

 

“Utterly brilliant nostalgia.” Goodreads reviewer

 

“The author creates an authentic sense of time and place which really captures the uncertain war time mood.” Jaffareadstoo book blog

 

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Rosie's author page on Amazon UK   

 

Rosie's author page on Amazon US 

 

Rosie's author page on Amazon Canada  

 

A Love That Knows No Bounds

Posted on 12th August, 2021

When my friend Chrissie Manby asked me if I'd like to read a pre-publication copy of her latest book, she said, "Oh, by the way, the story is narrated by a ghost-dog." A ghost-dog? Really? That didn't sound like my sort of thing at all. I even wondered if she'd gone a bit barmy.

 

But d'you know what - Saying Goodbye to Tuesday is utterly gorgeous. It's clever and different, but not at all in a look-at-me, I've-written-something-marvellous kind of way. It is a deeply touching story, filled with emotion - hope, fear, despair, courage, humour - but above all, with love. . . because this is a story told by a dog whose love for his owner and her baby knows no bounds.

 

 

The dog in question is Stupendo and the story opens with his discovery that he is now a ghost. He doesn't want to leave his beloved Tuesday and William behind and neither can he remember what happened to him at the end of his life. I spent most of the book in a state of near-dread because I desperately didn't want anything bad to happen to Stupendo - which was daft, because obviously something Very Bad was going to happen or else he wouldn't now be a ghost. But that speaks to the quality of Chrissie's writing. In Stupendo, she has created a wonderful, loveable, funny character, who carries the story along with ease.

 

In case you're wondering, this isn't just a tale about animals. It's also about human relationships of various kinds - including a depiction of a controlling relationship that will make your skin tingle in the most unpleasant way.

 

Saying Goodbye to Tuesday is wonderfully funny at times (I wish my cat was as clever as Caligula), deeply moving at other times and heartwarming from start to finish.

 

* * * *

 

PS When our cat Cassie yowls at us to feed her, we now tell her she should press the sad button. When you've read the book, you'll understand.

 

Click here to go to Saying Goodbye to Tuesday on Amazon. It is published in Kindle format on September 9th and as a paperback on November 11th.

 

Cover Love x 2!

Posted on 6th August, 2021

Here's a photo I'm keen to share with you. Does it remind you of anything? Take a look....

 

 

Does it ring any bells? Here's a clue...!

 

 

The cover of The Surplus Girls' Orphans is extra special to me because I actually had a hand, albeit a mnor one, in helping to design it. My experience with book covers up until then had always been that the first time I saw them was when I was shown the almost-finished article.

 

But this time around, I had the chance to be involved in the process, initially because I had a family photo from the 1920s, with my grandmother as a young woman sitting on a bench with her much younger half-brother sitting at her feet. His cheeky face and bright smile were loaded with character and the image would have been perfect for the cover, but the picture resolution wasn't good enough.

 

 

I was offered a selection of 1920s photos of young women to look through and comment on, including the photo at the top of this page. I chose the two women on the left and the gap between them and the other three made it easy to crop the image.

 

 

When the time came to create the cover for Christmas with the Surplus Girls, I was again sent some pictures to look at, and the picture of five women wasn't included. When I asked why not - because I thought that using the other three ladies would be perfect - it turned out that neither my editor nor the cover designer had hung onto that photograph... but I still had it (phew!) and you can see the result above.

 

So there you have it. One gorgeous, characterful photograph became two appealing book covers.

 

Or, to put it another way:

 

1 beautiful photograph + 2 lovely covers = 1 very happy author.

 

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Link to The Surplus Girls books on Amazon   

 

 

 

Cover Love . . . with Juliet Greenwood

Posted on 29th July, 2021

You may remember that my favourite book of 2020 was The Ferryman's Daughter, which was written by Juliet Greenwood.

 

This week I am delighted to welcome Juliet to my blog to talk about her new book, The Girl with the Silver Clasp, and tell us why the front cover is so special to her.

 

I love everything about the cover for ‘The Girl with the Silver Clasp’, my second book for Orion and out on 22nd July 2021. When I first saw the cover, I gave an audible gasp. It’s not only beautiful in itself, especially that hopeful clear blue of the sky, but it also perfectly reflects the story. I love the simplicity of the way the figure stands on the cliffs, with the hint of the harbour that lies at the heart of the book just visible in the background. I love her quiet dignity and look of contemplation as she gazes over the evening sea, and her sense of inner strength that all three of my heroines possess in their different ways. And the cliffs, of course, unmistakeably the Cornish coast where the story is set, with the heather giving it that summer feel. It is both calm and dramatic, and I just long to follow that path and find out where it leads!

 

 

What I also love is that the figure reflects a part of each of my three heroines. In the story, Jess stands on the cliffs in the evening light as she falls in love with the process of turning metal into stunning objects, and determines to pursue her creativity. The path on the cliffs above the harbour is also where Rachel tries to overcome what we could now call PTSD after her experiences driving an ambulance on the front line in WW1. While the tiny silver clasp barely visible on the figure’s hair reflects Giselle, the Hollywood actress with a broken heart, who turns out to have unexpected connections to both Jess and Rachel, and the harbour itself. When I was thinking of the cover, I couldn’t imagine choosing between my three heroines, whose intertwining stories are impossible to separate. I never believed it was possible to hint at each of them, while also capturing the determination they share to overcome the odds stacked against them, and for it to be so exquisitely beautiful.

 

But I have to say that the thing I love most, and is a total streak of genius that makes the cover come utterly alive, is the yellow scarf, blowing behind the figure in the breeze. I’ve tried to visualise the picture without the scarf, and it just wouldn’t be the same. It would be too blue, and with the heather and the evening light it would be too dark, which – despite the heartache all three women face at times – doesn’t reflect the story. It’s such a simple thing, but it provides that splash of brightness that makes all the difference and brings the cover into one.

 

I can’t imagine a better cover for ‘The Girl with the Silver Clasp’. Every now and again I have to take another peak to make sure it’s just as perfect as I imagined it to be – and it always is!

 

 

The Girl with the Silver Clasp

 

Will they find the courage to follow their dreams?
 
St. Ives, 1916.
 

Jess Morgan always hoped to become a celebrated silversmith, but when the men return from war she's forced to return to her job as a seamstress. All she can cling to is the memory of that delicate, unique silver clasp she created for a society bride.
 
Rachel Bellamy served as an ambulance driver on the front line during the Great War but now it's up to her to save the family home and picturesque harbour from her wealthy brother-in-law, before it's too late.
 
Giselle Harding fought her way up from poverty to become a Hollywood movie star. Yet even the most beautiful jewels she owns will never fill replace the man she lost.
 
As the lives of the three women collide, will they be able to overcome their differences and fight together for the dreams they once held so close?

 

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Juliet's links:

Her author page on Amazon  

 

Meet her on Twitter  

 

Juliet's author page on Facebook 

 

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The Story Behind the Story ... by Eva Glyn

Posted on 22nd July, 2021

The Missing Pieces of Us, the debut novel by Eva Glyn, was published on July 21st.

Eva writes emotional women’s fiction inspired by beautiful places and the stories they hide. She loves to travel, but finds inspiration can strike just as well at home or abroad.

She cut her teeth on just about every kind of writing (radio journalism, advertising copy, PR, and even freelance cricket reporting) before finally completing a full length novel in her forties. The Missing Pieces of Us is her first novel as Eva Glyn, and will be followed by The Olive Grove later this summer.

Eva lives in Cornwall, although she considers herself Welsh, and has been lucky enough to have been married to the love of her life for twenty-five years. She also writes as Jane Cable.

Here, Eva shares the story behind the story . . . .

* * * *

I wrote The Missing Pieces of Us a long time ago, and even then it had been a while brewing.

 

The starting point for the book was visiting the tree in the woods above the River Hamble, where the children leave their letters and the fairies, elves and wee folk who live there reply. And the children have their own way of saying thank you. Or please.

 

The oak stood on a rise just above the path, not too tall or wide but graceful and straight, its trunk covered in what I can only describe as offerings – pieces of ribbon, daisy chains, a shell necklace, a tiny doll or two, and even an old cuckoo clock.”

 

It must have been in the spring of 2010. 2009 had been my annus horribilis, with my husband having a major health scare, me ending up in hospital with blood poisoning, and a close friend having a breakdown so massive they absented themselves from the world for most of the year. The walk above the banks of the Hamble, bluebells lining the way on either side, and the sight of the tree ahead, seemed to me a sign of renewal, of new beginnings. But I knew it had stories to tell.

 

But the initial scene, where Izzie sees Robin as a homeless man in Winchester, was already written, in my head at least. The Christmas before we had gone to the city early one Sunday to visit the Christmas market and beforehand had had a coffee in Caffe Nero, which is opposite the medieval buttercross. As we sat inside, watching the homeless men gather there, a thought occurred to me – a thought so strong the inner author recognised it as an opening scene – and as we sipped our skinny lattes a character sprang to life in my head.

 

Inside the café, Claire sits me down at the nearest table while she queues for our drinks. She’ll be gone a while. I unbutton my coat and spread it over the back and arms of the low leather chair, sliding into its silky lining. I close my eyes but I can still hear Christmas: instrumental carols through the chatter. A face drifts across my memory… a pair of intense hazel eyes. No. It was twenty years ago.”

 

Now I had a place with a story, and a character with a story, and as is the way with these things, they became stronger and stronger in my head. But unlike Susanna, I write my books directly onto my computer, so much of the actual writing of what was then The Faerie Tree and is now The Missing Pieces of Us was done in my study in our cottage in West Sussex.

 

From the calculator on my desk you can tell I was still working as an accountant (which I did for a while even after we moved to Cornwall in 2017). The gladioli and sweet peas had just been brought up from our garden by my husband, and the photos on the wall were of our Cornish holiday home and of the property that inspired my debut novel, The Cheesemaker’s House. Which is of course another story entirely.

 

* * * *

 

The Missing Pieces of Us:

An emotional and page-turning family saga perfect for fans of Barbara O’Neal, Amanda Prowse, and Susanne O’Leary!

‘Full of mystery and magic’ Heidi Swain

There are three versions of the past – hers, his, and the truth.

When Robin Vail walks back into widow Isobel O’Briain’s life decades after he abruptly left it, the dark days since her husband’s unexpected passing finally know light. Robin has fallen on hard times but Izzie and her teenage daughter Claire quickly remind him what it’s like to have family…and hope.

But Robin and Izzie are no longer those twenty-something lovers, and as they grow closer once more the missing pieces of their past weigh heavy. Now, to stop history repeating, Izzie and Robin must face facts and right wrongs…no matter how painful.

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Website: www.evaglynauthor.com

Facebook: Eva Glyn, Author 

Twitter: @JaneCable 

 

Amazon: Eva Glyn's author page