Posts Tagged ‘Rachel’s Random Resources’

  • Title: The Return of Her Lost Knight
  • Author: Melissa Oliver
  • Publisher: Mills and Boon
  • Publication Date: 24 June 2021

Copy received from Rachel’s Random Resources for review purposes.


Her second chance

With her lost love…

To avoid a forced marriage, Lady Gwenllian plans to escape to a convent. She couldn’t possibly honor another when her heart still belongs to Ralph de Kinnerton, the man she had to betray to save his life—only to hear of his death shortly after. So how is it possible he’s here at this knight’s tournament? Now the pull of their unfinished past forces Gwen to question the choice she’d made for her future…

My Thoughts:

As part of the Notorious Knights series, this book is another example of Melissa Oliver’s fantastic writing. Although the books can be read and enjoyed without following the series, I would recommend reading the previous two books as these give a more rounded feel to the books. Especially as characters from previous books can appear, and it’s quite lovely to see what has been going on in their lives.

Historical romance books are an enjoyable read, they invite the reader to step back in time and experience a world so rich in detail and full of wonderful characters. And I think that Melissa Oliver is a name readers want to keep an eye out for, her books give the reader more than just an historical romance, there is drama, danger, and tension.
The characters are intriguing from the moment you meet them, you want to know more about their stories and feel a connection to them, or certainly become invested in their tale … wishing for success and happiness. I felt that Ralph and Gwen’s tales had me drawn in, they were so well crafted and I loved finding out more about them, watching as they tried to overcome their pasts.

I would definitely recommend checking out the books written by Melissa Oliver, they are a real treat for readers and have you falling in love with the period, the characters and the stories.

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  • Title: The Highlander’s Secret Son
  • Author: Jeanine Englert
  • Publisher: Mills and Boon
  • Publication Date: 27 May 2021

Copy received from publisher for review purposes.


His first love

Now his sworn enemy…

What is Fiona MacDonald doing on the run across his lands? With a wee baby as well! Brandon once loved this woman with all his heart―until her family killed many of his clan. Now, as the new Campbell Laird, he must make sure she pays the price for her betrayal. But how can he claim his vengeance if what she says is true…? That her child is his son and heir!

My Thoughts:

I have been absolutely loving the human side to the tales of books from Mills and Boon recently, and so when I read the description of Jeanine Englert’s latest book I just knew it was going to hit the mark perfectly.

In both Fiona MacDonald and Brandon Campbell readers are given two characters that come alive from the pages. The way they have been crafted, Jeanine Englert draws the reader in, slowly giving glimpses that all is not as it might first appear. There are hints of heartbreak, betrayal and longing surrounding MacDonald and Campbell, and as readers get to know more about their personalities, their stories and shared histories, it soon becomes apparent that this is more than a simple romance tale.
When I first encountered Fiona MacDonald it was hard not to feel a need to understand her more, try to work out what happened between her and Brandon Campbell, and most importantly lead to the hatred she faces from the Campbell clan.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was the exploration of Brandon’s mindset, his turmoil and struggle with being Laird and holding the remains of his family and clan together. Watching him work through his feelings, face the things that haunt his thoughts … it all adds up to a powerful story of seeking forgiveness, trust and love.

As if readers weren’t already spoiled enough with such wonderful characters, there is also the fantastically detailed writing that vividly paints a picture of each scene as it happens in the book. I felt like I could actually see the locations mentioned, even the small details were written in such a way to craft a full, colourful picture.

I’d highly recommend this, and if you’re a fan of the Outlander series, then I think you’d probably enjoy this!

Purchase a copy:

Amazon US/Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Highlanders-Secret-Son-Jeanine-Englert/dp/1335506284

Amazon/US Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08NPTH2J3

Amazon/UK Paperback: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Highlanders-Secret-Son-Jeanine-Englert/dp/0263284034

Amazon/UK Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Highlanders-Secret-Mills-Boon-Historical-ebook/dp/B08ND9NYW6

Author Bio –

Jeanine Englert’s love affair with mysteries and romance began with Nancy Drew, Murder She Wrote, and her Grandmother’s bookshelves full of romance novels. She is a Golden Heart ® Finalist, Silver Falchion, Maggie, and Daphne du Maurier Award Winner in historical romance and mystery. Her Scottish Highland historical and historical romantic suspense novels revolve around characters seeking self-acceptance and redemption. When she isn’t wrangling with her characters on the page, she can be found trying to convince her husband to watch her latest Masterpiece or BBC show obsession. She loves to talk about books, writing, her beloved rescue pups, as well as mysteries and romance with other readers. Visit her website at www.jeaninewrites.com.

Social Media Links –

FB: http://www.facebook.com/JeanineWrites

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeanineWrites

Website: https://www.jeaninewrites.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55922667-the-highlander-s-secret-son

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jeanine-englert?list=about

Instagram: jeaninewrites

Giveaway to Win  A bundle of Highland Treats (Open INT)

Prize contains:

1) One signed paperback copy of The Highlander’s Secret Son.

2) Bookmark and magnet book swag.

3) Scottish Blessing Bracelet.

4) Sterling Silver “Spread Your Wings and Fly” Necklace.

5) Red Journal.

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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  • Title: The Duke’s Runaway Bride
  • Author: Jenni Fletcher
  • Publisher: Harlequin/Mills & Boon
  • Publication Date: 18th February 2021

Copy received from publisher and blog tour organiser for review purposes.


From shopkeeper…

To Duke’s wife

When Beatrix, Duchess of Howden, writes to her estranged husband offering a divorce, she’s stunned when he arrives on her doorstep with a different proposition: a six-week marriage trial! Quinton Roxbury seems cold and inscrutable, but Beatrix gradually realises his rough exterior hides a heavy burden. As their connection deepens, dare she trust him with her own scandalous past and risk the marriage she never knew she wanted?

My Thoughts:

I was so intrigued from the outset with this book … the notion that the Duchess of Howden was writing to her estranged husband to offer divorce, and wanting to live a quiet life doing what she loves most … That had me curious and I really wanted to know more about this character and her life. As it turns out, Beatrix is a lovely character, one who has been hurt and has learned that she must shield herself, build walls to protect herself from events from the past in the hopes that she will not be exploited, hurt or cheated. All well and good until you realise she’s married to a Duke who wants to save his family and his home. Quinton Roxbury is under pressure from those around him, he is the head of the family and in the public eye, he wants to do what’s right for everyone.

A surprising proposition leads to Beatrix and Quinton giving their marriage a chance and it leads to suprising consequences for the entire Roxbury clan. Secrets are unearthed, truths learned and bonds strenghthen as Beatrix touches the lives of everyone around her.
The development of the relationship between Beatrix and Quinton is wonderful to watch unfold, seeing how they interact with each other and other characters because of the influence of the other really changes the characters. Learning about Beatrix and her life before her marriage is fascinating, her reasons for wanting to keep her past hidden make her such an endearing character, her need for self-preservation is admirable. And I loved getting to know each of the Roxbury clan, even the ever so frightening dowager …

The details woven into the narrative really bring the settings alive and make this such an enjoyable read, it felt like Jenni Fletcher had really taken a great deal of time and care to ensure that readers felt transported to the settings of her book and would experience them through the eyes of her characters.

I will definitely be looking out for more books from this author!

Purchase Links

Amazon UK  https://amzn.to/2HP64em

Amazon. com https://amzn.to/35A0gPb

Kobo https://bit.ly/36CPLKp

WHSmith https://bit.ly/36BUpsc

Author Bio

Jenni Fletcher was born in Scotland and now lives in Yorkshire where she writes historical romance novels ranging from the Roman to late Victorian eras. She studied English at Cambridge and Hull and has been nominated for 4 RoNA awards, winning for Short Romantic Fiction in 2020. She teaches Creative Writing at a university in the north of England and her favourite hobbies are baking and, of course, reading.

Social media links:

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  • Title: The Inheritance
  • Author: Anne Allen
  • Publisher: Sarnia Press
  • Publication Date: 8th April 2019

Copy received from Rachel’s Random Resources for review purposes.


1862 Young widow Eugénie faces an uncertain future in Guernsey when her husband dies at sea. A further tragedy brings her to the attention of Monsieur Victor Hugo, exiled on the island and living in his voluptuous house only yards away from Eugénie. Their meeting changes her life and she begins working for him as a copyist, forming a strong friendship with both Hugo and his mistress, Juliette Drouet.

2012 Doctor Tess Le Prevost, born in Guernsey, now living in Exeter, is shocked to inherit her Great-Aunt’s house on the island. As a child she listened to Aunt Doris’s tales of their ancestor, Eugénie, whose house this once was, and who, according to family myth, was particularly close to Hugo. Was he the father of her child? Tess doubts it, but inheriting the house allows her to make a fresh start in her beloved island.

Will she discover the truth about Eugénie and Hugo? A surprise find may hold the answer as Tess embraces new challenges which test her strength – and her heart.

My Thoughts:

I am a huge fan of Anne Allen’s writing and have enjoyed many of the books in the Guernsey series, each of the so different yet so rich in characters and wonderful settings.

The linking of two timelines always appeals to me in a novel, and I know from the outset that any of Anne Allen’s books will be just the right mix of modern day and historic setting. With characters in 2012 and 1862, we span a few centuries but see in both of these times circumstances that impact on society then as much as they do now.
Eugénie in 1862 is mourning the loss of her new husband, his death at sea robbing her of happiness and companionship, and so a chance meeting with Victor Hugo opens her eyes to a world she could never have imagined. She is a character that we slowly watch transform through the pages, the once quiet and withdrawn young woman becomes more confident, more sure in her own skin and begins to move on after the early tragedies that befell her. The friendships she forms are a lifeline for her, they are a comfort to her and they enable her to be Eugénie again, and not just a sad widow.
2012 brings the reader the story of Tess, a young doctor finishing off her training in Exeter. Stunned to learn that she has inherited the home of her Great- Aunt on Guernsey, she makes the life changing decision to move back to her beloved island, and make a life there. But if that wasn’t enough to deal with, there are the simple matters of family politics, clearing out the possessions of her Great-Aunt and unravelling a myth that has run through her family for generations, thrown into the mix.

In both Eugénie and Tess, we see strong female characters who take control of situations they are in. There are times that life throws them a curveball, makes things somewhat difficult for them, but these women are wonderful to watch, they take it in their stride, use the events to give them courage, strength and ultimately adapt.
The mystery element of the plot is fascinating, readers follow Tess as she pieces Eugénie’s life together to form a narrative that gladdens and breaks the heart in equal measure, as well as experience events through the perspective of Eugénie. In Anne Allen’s hands, this is done with sympathy as well as highlighting the harshness of situations that her characters find themselves in.

There’s something comforting about picking up a book from this author, she has a wonderful way of bringing a story alive with rich and atmospheric settings, I felt like I could see the sights of Guernsey, like I could see the houses that she described, I felt like I got to know the characters and became so invested in them. I shared their frustrations, their sorrows, their confusion and eventually, their happiness.
Of all of the Guernsey novels, I think that this has been my favourite so far, I can’t quite put my finger on what it was that grabbed my heart, but something about this book has lingered on after I read the last page. It’s perhaps just my head wondering “what next?” for Tess, her family and her friends, but I do know that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and absolutely recommend it, and all of the books.

All of the books in this series can be read as standalone.

Check out Rachel’s Random Resources for the blog tour!

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The Failsafe Query - Cover Image.jpg

** My thanks to the author and Rachel’s Random Resources for my copy of the book and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour **



The Failsafe Query is a gripping thriller set in the contemporary world of modern British espionage.

Sean Richardson, a disgraced former intelligence agent, is tasked to lead a team to search for Alfie Chapman, an Intelligence officer on the cusp of exposing thousands of secrets to the media. This includes a long lost list of Russian moles embedded since the Cold War, one of whom remains a public favourite in the British parliamentary system.

The action moves with absorbing pace and intrigue across Central Asia and Europe as the puzzle begins to unfold through a deep hidden legacy.

Tense, fast paced, and insightful, The Failsafe Query twists and turns to a satisfyingly dramatic finale. 

My Thoughts:

From the opening chapter, readers are taken on an action packed and adrenaline fueled adventure through the worlds of espionage and intelligence.
The main character in this book is a disgraced former intelligence agent, who has become involved with tracking down a current member of the intelligence community, one who was ready to leak privileged and incendiary information. Sean Richardson is a character very much fighting against his own demons and trying to find a way to life with the lasting impacts his career have had on him. But he is also a team player, and part of the draw of this character is seeing him pull together the right team for the mission and watching to see whether they can succeed. The camaraderie between the members of the team was great to see and really added to the realistic feeling of the characters.

Michael Jenkins has a wonderful style of writing that is packed with vivid detail and an authenticity that almost has the reader wondering “what if”, whilst managing to maintain a calm and steady approach. By this I mean that he constructs settings so clearly for readers to experience them, captivating the audience with the scenes playing out before their eyes and ensuring that they are on the edge of their seats, waiting with bated breath to see what will happen next, how the situation will unravel around our protagonist. This is undoubtedly an explosive and thrilling read, but at no point did I feel that the pace was rushed.

This is a modern spy thriller that I would rank up there with my beloved John le Carré books.

You can buy a copy of The Failsafe Query via:

Amazon UK

Amazon US


About the Author:

Michael Jenkins served for twenty-eight years in the British Army, rising through the ranks to complete his service as a major. He served across the globe on numerous military operations as an intelligence officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal Engineers.

His experiences within the services involved extensive travel and adventure whilst on operations, and also on many major mountaineering and exploration expeditions that he led or was involved in.
He was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical Society for mountain exploration and served on the screening committee of the Mount Everest Foundation charity.

He was awarded the MBE on leaving the armed forces in 2007 for his services to counterterrorism.

The Failsafe Query is Michael’s first novel. He has started work on his second spy thriller, The Kompromat Kill, and hopes to publish it the spring of 2019.

Social Media Links:





Giveaway – Win 5 x PB copies of The Failsafe Query & a spy linkage map (unframed) (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link

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Leo's War - Poolbeg cover - FOR PRINT.jpeg

** My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my copy of this book and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour **



It’s 1943 and young Leo tries to protect his disabled sister Ruby as the Nazis invade Italy.  After his mother is arrested, he turns to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty to save them.  But he is no ordinary priest.  Known as ‘The Pimpernel of the Vatican’, the Monsignor is the legendary organizer of the Rome Escape Line.  Soon Leo is helping out with this secret network dedicated to saving the lives of escaped prisoners of war, partisans and Jews.  But as the sinister Nazi leader Kappler closes in on the network, can Leo and his sister stay out of his evil clutches?

My Thoughts & Review:

I am a huge fan of stories with a setting in WWII, and so when this book popped up on my radar I instantly added it to the ever growing list of books I’d like to read. It is part of a set by the publisher of “Hands on History” books, an entertaining and enjoyable way of bringing historical tales to the hands of children. The other books in the series look just as promising and I have already added these to my mountainous list to buy.

Leo’s War is set in Italy during the Italian Campaign of WWII, where many people took measures to rise up against the Fascists and Nazis. One such person who made it a mission to subvert the ruling forces was Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a man that would have a pivotal role in the life of young Leo and his sister Ruby.
One night Leo’s mother is arrested at their home, and being like any young adventurous hero, Leo takes the decision to head to Rome with is disabled sister to seek safety and the mysterious Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty. All he has is a name, a location and tune to whistle … what could possibly go wrong? As the youngsters make their way under the cover of darkness, they have little idea of how truly dangerous their journey could be or who they might encounter.
Eventually they do reach Rome and make contact with the Monsignor, what then follows is a tense and often anxious ride to the end of the war in Italy.

Leo is a character that I think many readers will take an instant liking to, his personality is such that it’s hard not to. He has a kind heart and loves his mother and sister dearly, his main concern throughout is the safety of those around him and not once takes a moment to think for himself, quite commendable really. He does at times struggle with the decisions that other characters make, not able to perhaps see “the bigger picture”, his youthful naivety colouring his thinking. He takes to helping those who need to escape without a second thought, and some of the scrapes he gets into are enough to have you gasping in horror or chuckling in admiration. But as much as I adored Leo, I have to admit that Ruby was the one that stole my heart, something about her just made dazzle me. Whether it was her determination to be heard or perhaps just the stories she told, she really brought out a side of characters in this book that made them more human, more real. I cannot ramble this far and not mention the wonderfully cunning yet sneaky Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a truly remarkable man for what he did to help those in desperate need. His actions saved so many lives and the depiction of him in Leo’s War makes him such a easy character to connect with.

The writing is fantastic, the pace of the story is such that no matter how many times you say “just one more chapter”, you will end up racing through the book eager to see what happens next. The language used throughout makes this suitable for children and teenagers, as well as grown ups.
It’s an exiting and enjoyable read that educates on an aspect of WWII that many might not have much knowledge about, and more importantly it highlights the work of a truly remarkable figure from history that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Absolutely cannot recommend this book highly enough, and I cannot wait to see what the other books in the Hands on History series are like!

You can buy a copy of Leo’s War via:

Amazon UK
Book Depository


There is a giveaway running on this blog tour, the prize is a £30.00 Amazon gift voucher (this is however only open to UK entries).

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link


About the Author:

 Patricia Murphy is the bestselling author of The Easter Rising 1916 – Molly’s Diary and Dan’s Diary – the War of Independence 1920-22 published by Poolbeg.

She has also written the prize-winning “The Chingles” trilogy of children’s Celtic fantasy novels.   Patricia is also an award winning Producer/Director of documentaries including Children of Helen House, the BBC series on a children’s hospice and Born to Be Different Channel 4’s flagship series following children born with disabilities. Many of her groundbreaking programmes are about children’s rights and topics such as growing up in care, crime and the criminal justice system. She has also made a number of history programmes including Worst Jobs in History with Tony Robinson for Channel 4 and has produced and directed films for the Open University.

Patricia grew up in Dublin and is a graduate in English and History from Trinity College Dublin and of Journalism at Dublin City University. She now lives in Oxford with her husband and young daughter.

Social Media Links:

Website: https://www.patriciamurphyonline.com

Twitter: @_PatriciaMurphy

Facebook – h https://www.facebook.com/Leos-War-Irelands-Secret-World-War-2-Hero-714055598929732

Facebook  –  https://www.facebook.com/Mollys-Diary-The-1916-Rising-277254289106782/


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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Last Plantagenet? by Jennifer C. Wilson, I am thrilled to be able to share a post about including time slip elements in novels.


The last plantagenet-FinalCover-jcw small for 3d


The fireplace hadn’t looked like a time-portal.
All Kate had wanted was a fun, relaxing day out, watching the knights jousting at Nottingham Castle. What she ended up with was something quite different.
Transported in a heartbeat from 2011 to 1485, how will Kate handle life at the Ricardian court? Even more importantly, how will she cope when she catches the eye of the king himself?

You can buy a copy of The Last Plantagenet via Amazon


This is the first time I’ve tried incorporating a timeslip element into my writing, but I don’t think it will be the last. In The Last Plantagenet?, Kate ends up slipping from 2011 to 1485, with the majority of the tale set in the latter timeframe. To make things slightly easier for me, as a first-time time-traveller, I decided to reduce the amount of back-and-forth, so I wouldn’t get myself (or any future readers!) confused. I’ve read some great examples where characters have hints of timeslip in each chapter, or move between times, but it was too great a challenge straight away.

The biggest challenge for me was finding a way to demonstrate that modern life was intruding in Kate’s 1485 reality, without it sounding too contrived, and happily, the answer came out of a conversation at writing group, and fitted perfectly both with the medieval elements, and 2011’s story. I can’t go giving away what it is here though, can I?

Apart from that, I really wanted to make sure I got my timings right in 1485. I have a book detailing Richard’s last 100 days, showing where he was on each of those days, when he was travelling, and what he was up to. Helpfully, being a king, that was recorded in good detail, but I still managed to get myself in a muddle on one day, which managed to have three mornings and two evenings! My poor characters didn’t have a clue what they were doing, constantly waking up and going to bed, without any change in day! Clearly time-travel wasn’t a problem, just spending a whole day in a single time-zone, and basic counting… Once this was cracked though, having the outline of where the court was each day made plotting the tale easier, having that skeleton to hang my story on. Somehow, having the fantasy element of timeslip included, made me even more concerned that I was getting the history right. So, when Richard III went on a hunting trip, practically a holiday, just days before Bosworth, that’s exactly where his court went in The Last Plantagenet? It also gave me the perfect opportunity to reference one of my favourite ever films, the magnificent Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, so I could hardly ignore that.

Moving forwards, I’ve decided to have another go at timeslip, but this time, to build more of the back-and-forth element into it. For this, I think a LOT of plotting will be required, to make sure the timelines match up. I’m anticipating plenty of post-it notes, timelines on long sheets of paper, and breaking my rule of a lifetime and working in silence for a change. I’ll let you know how it goes!

About the Author:

Jennifer is a marine biologist by training, who developed an equal passion for history whilst stalking Mary, Queen of Scots of childhood holidays (she since moved on to Richard III). She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Hull, and has worked as a marine environmental consultant since graduating.

Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east reignited Jennifer’s pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since. In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and also continues to work on developing her poetic voice, reading at a number of events, and with several pieces available online. Her Kindred Spirits novels are published by Crooked Cat Books and available via Amazon

Social Media Links:



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I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for the Vanished Child by M J Lee, I have a fantastic post to share with you about family secrets which has really got me intrigued and I look forward to reading The Vanished Child soon!



The Vanished Child Cover EBOOK


What would you do if you discovered you had a brother you never knew existed?

On her deathbed, Freda Duckworth confesses to giving birth to an illegitimate child in 1944 and temporarily placing him in a children’s home. She returned later but he had vanished. 

What happened to the child? Why did he disappear? Where did he go? 

Jayne Sinclair, genealogical investigator, is faced with lies, secrets, and one of the most shameful episodes in recent history as she attempts to uncover the truth.

Can she find the vanished child?

This book is the fourth in the Jayne Sinclair Genealogical Mystery series, but can be read as a standalone novel.

Every childhood lasts a lifetime.

You can buy a copy of The Vanished Child here

Guest Post by M J Lee

Does your family have a secret?

Every family has things they don’t talk about in front of the children. Or sometimes in front of other adults.

You only have to watch the mesmerising revelations on Who do you think you are? or The Will  to see that the deeper we dig into our families the more secrets we will find. Hidden by old aunties, buried in old photographs, or simply hushed up by drawing a curtain over the past.

An illegimate child. A black sheep. A missing son or daughter. A shotgun marriage. A drunken uncle. A convicted felon. A runaway bride.

Funnily enough in Britain, it looks like Geordies have the most secrets, followed by Lancashire. Here’s a table from a recent survey:

survey results

They were always canny people in Newcastle.

My own family secret doesn’t appear on the chart. My grandfathers fought on opposing sides during the Irish Civil War. One was a member of the Free State Army whilst the other was a Captain in the IRA. I often wonder whether they ever met.

Most family secrets are swept under the carpet, kept hidden by aunties. But occasionally, they come to light in genealogical searches, in old photographs, letters, and journals. They are a wonderful source of material for novelists. Through the techniques of the genealogical researcher, secrets can be discovered, tales told, and the past revealed in a way that no other mystery can match.

Family secrets form the basis of my own series of novels, featuring genealogical investigator, Jayne Sinclair. She’s an ex-police detective who, after her partner was shot and killed, found researching her family history  a way of forgetting the trauma. She left the police force and now investigates family history for her clients. Family histories that no other genealogist wants to touch.

In the latest book, the Vanished Child, Jayne helps her new mother-in-law to investigate one of her secrets; an unknown brother born out of wedlock in 1944. In the case, Jayne is faced with lies, secrets and one of the most shameful episodes in recent history as she attempts to uncover the truth. What happened to the Vanished Child?

I hope you enjoy the book. But what about you? Do let me know at the email address below if you have any unusual family secrets. They could form the basis of a new investigation by Jayne Sinclair…


Martin Lee is the author of four genealogical mystery novels, featuring investigator, Jayne Sinclair. He can be contacted at www.writermjlee.com, on Facebook at writermjlee and on twitter at @writermjlee. He’s nothing if not original with his names.


About the Author:


Martin has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a University researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, tv commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.

He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the North of England. In London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and London Festivals, and the United Nations.

When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, researching his family history, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake and wishing he were George Clooney.

Social Media Links 

Website: www.writermjlee.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/WriterMJLee


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Today I am delighted to share a short review of a set of short stories as part of the blog tour for Chilling Tales of the Unexpected.

Box Set Cover

** My thanks to Rachel for my copy of these books for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **



Four twisty, short reads.
Addictive works of suspense,
That will leave you breathless and give you goose bumps…

Trading with Death
What sacrifice might we make for those we love? In the face of death, will we be selfish or selfless?

Tell Me a Secret
Deceit, lies and secrets – how well do we know those close to us?

Sweet Justice 
We follow Tess as she confronts the dark side…

Written on the Apple Tree 
A moment from a past life, a possession, or a simple meeting between strangers?


My Thoughts & Review:

Chilling Tales of the Unexpected is an interesting collection of short stories that are filled with intrigue and suspense that show a character in some form of trouble or a dilemma of sorts.

The author’s background in psychotherapy shows through her writing where she explores the intricacies of the mind when each of her characters are in a situation that causes turmoil.  Each of the stories focuses on a different setting and different set of characters that will give readers pause for thought.  Trading with Death was one of the stories that made me really made me wonder, and it was interesting seeing how the events were portrayed to maximize impact with just enough detail to grab the attention of readers.

There’s always the danger with short stories that they might not have enough information in them or you’d want the story to be expanded on but here the tales are just right.  The information given is just enough to set the scenes and pull the reader in, and there is an unsettling edge to the tales that keeps you on edge as you read.

An interesting and quick read!

You can buy a copy of Chilling Tales of the Unexpected via:

Amazon UK


About the Author:

Born and educated in the UK, Ann Girdharry is a trained psychotherapist and has worked as a manager in the not-for-profit sector for many years.
Today she lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children.

She writes suspense and thrillers, is a book reviewer and occasionally blogs for the Huffington Post UK. Her crime thriller novel, GOOD GIRL BAD GIRL, was an Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist 2017. Two of her thrillers are READERS’ FAVOURITE Five Star Books.

Social Media Links –

follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AnnGirdharryAuthor/

follow on Twitter www.twitter.com/GirdharryAnn

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** My thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **



Treachery and theft lead to death – and love

1940. Teresa Bichard and her baby are sent by her beloved husband, Leo, to England as the Germans draw closer to Guernsey. Days later they invade…

1942. Leo, of Jewish descent, is betrayed to the Germans and is sent to a concentration camp, never to return.

1945. Teresa returns to find Leo did not survive and the family’s valuable art collection, including a Renoir, is missing. Heartbroken, she returns to England.

2011. Nigel and his twin Fiona, buy a long-established antique shop in Guernsey and during a refit, find a hidden stash of paintings, including what appears to be a Renoir. Days later, Fiona finds Nigel dead, an apparent suicide. Refusing to accept the verdict, a distraught Fiona employs a detective to help her discover the truth…

Searching for the rightful owner of the painting brings Fiona close to someone who opens a chink in her broken heart. Can she answer some crucial questions before laying her brother’s ghost to rest?

Who betrayed Leo?

Who knew about the stolen Renoir?

And are they prepared to kill – again?

My Thoughts & Review:

The mystery of this book appealed to me, what was the connection between the events in the 1940s and 2011?  Initially when I heard about this book I panicked, it was part of the way through the series The Guernsey Novels but I needn’t have worried as this is a standalone novel.

With a storyline that moves back and forth between the two time settings, readers learn about Leo and his wife Teresa on Guernsey, how they are preparing for invasion by the Nazis and their parting is of necessity.  Once Leo has got his wife and child to safety he awaits his fate along with the remaining islanders.
In 2011 Fiona stumbles upon the body of her twin brother Nigel in their antique shop, an apparent suicide that makes no sense to Fiona or any of their friends.  She sets out to prove to the police that they are wrong, not realising the danger she might be putting herself in.

I enjoyed the way that the stories of Leo and Fiona ran alongside each other, each of their lives filled with moments of heightened emotions, whether trauma and fear, happiness and love.  I perhaps felt a little more connected to the tale of Leo and the Nazi occupation due to having an interest in stories set in this time.  Leo’s life was undoubtedly lonely once he got his wife and child to safety, reading the short narrative where he mentions his love for them both was heart warming and when he recounts the memory of meeting his wife for the first time, it gives readers a wonderful insight into this character.
It did feel that Fiona’s story took up more of the narrative and it needed to, it was the driving force of the plot.  But I felt less connected to it, less invested.  There were aspects of the plot that I found didn’t work for me, but they worked to convey the messages that the author wanted to share.

The descriptions of the settings are so clear and vivid, Guernsey sounds like such a wonderful place and so appealing.  The beaches sound beautiful and the way that the scenery comes to life through the writing makes this a delight to read.  I enjoyed the way that this history of the island was told through the characters and indeed finding out more about the way that the occupation impacted on the lives of the islanders was very interesting.

A well written mystery with touches of romance and danger.

You can buy a copy of The Betrayal via Amazon UK


And for one lucky person, there is a giveaway running on this blog tour with the great prize of a signed copy of The Betrayal (which is open internationally!) and all you need to do is click on the rafflecopter link to be in with a chance.

** Giveaway**


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About the Author:

Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children, and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby.  Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.

By profession, Anne was a psychotherapist, but long had the itch to write. Now a full-time writer, she has written The Guernsey Novels, six having been published and the seventh, The Inheritance, is due out in 2018.

Social Media Links –

Website: www.anneallen.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Anne-Allen-Author-176883759173475/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnneAllen21

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