Book Review: The Library by Bella Osborne

Last month, I was excited to discover my local library delivers books every four weeks to those who are stuck indoors. Ever since the pandemic, lockdown and inability to use my mobility scooter for long distances I’ve been unable to visit my library. How I’ve missed browsing the shelves, discovering new books, finding those that have slipped under the radar and rediscover old ones. The Library by Bella Osborne was in my first library stash and what a joy it was. Scroll down to see why.

Photo of a stack of books form the library including The Library by Bella Osborne, The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
Library stash -February

Book Review: The Library by Bella Osborne

The Library by Bella Osborne cover - a colourful stack of books
The Library by Bella Osborne

Title: The Library

Author: Bella Osborne

Publisher: Aria

Genre: Fiction, Women’s fiction

Release Date: 2nd Sept 2021

Purchase: Amazon

Blurb

Two lonely bookworms. An unexpected friendship. A library that needs their help

‘A touching story of a friendship between a troubled teenager, a yoga-practising farming woman in her seventies and a local library. A delight!’ – Sunday Times bestselling author Katie Fforde

Teenager Tom has always blended into the background of life. After a row with his dad and facing an unhappy future at the dog food factory, he escapes to the library.

Pensioner Maggie has been happily alone with her beloved novels for ten years – at least, that’s what she tells herself.

When they meet, they recognise something in each other that will change both their lives for ever.

Then the library comes under threat of closure, and they must join forces to prove that it’s not just about books – it’s the heart of their community.

They are determined to save it – because some things are worth fighting for.

My Thoughts

Some books are meant to be treasured and like the village library depicted in this story, this is one of them. The distinct voices of Tom and Maggie shine on the page as they both battle with not only loneliness but their resistance to connect with other people and change.

The attention to detail and the everyday observations made me feel like I was experiencing their lives alongside them. Tom is a shy teenager with dealing with exams, unrequited love and his father. While Maggie is a feisty pensioner with a strong sense of independence. The novel has funny moments such as when Tom discovers his preferred genre to read and hands on experience at Maggie’s farm but also poignant times when they both reveal their lives to each other cementing their deep friendship.

Maggie’s farm is a delightful escape from the world. If I could stay there in reality, I would especially for the cakes and food she served. Also with a stroppy ram called Colin, how could I not fall in love with this location?  

The community the library serves has a collection of memorable personalities adding to the novel’s warmth and acts as a reminder that most people are sociable beings and need that human connection to help them through bad times and celebrate the good.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this is a timely read and highlights the fact loneliness can strike all ages but you can find friendships in unlikely places and it can cross the generations. The Library is a warm, honest heart-felt novel sprinkled with humour and leaves you with a sense of hope, calm and a grin.

Author Biography

Bella has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full length novel.

In 2016, her debut novel, ‘It Started At Sunset Cottage’, was shortlisted for the Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year and RNA Joan Hessayon New Writers Award.

Bella’s stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. She likes to find the humour in the darker moments of life and weaves these into her stories. Her novels are often serialised in four parts ahead of the full book publication.

Bella believes that writing your own story really is the best fun ever, closely followed by talking, eating chocolate, drinking fizz and planning holidays.

She lives in The Midlands, UK with her lovely husband and wonderful daughter, who thankfully, both accept her as she is (with mad morning hair and a penchant for skipping).

Social Media

Website www.bellaosborne.com

Twitter@osborne_bella

Instagramhttp://www.instagram.com/bellaosborneauthor/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/BellaOsborneAuthor/

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

signature of Katie

Book Review: The Lost Chapter by Caroline Bishop

I’m excited to share my review for The Lost Chapter by Caroline Bishop. The tagline ‘It’s never too late to start writing a different story’ called to my inner writer and I jumped at the invitation for this blog tour -thanks Random Things Tours. Scroll down to see if it met my expectations.

Book Review: The Lost Chapter by Caroline Bishop

Book cover for The Lost Chapter by Caroline Bishop
The Lost Chapter by Caroline Bishop

Title: The Lost Chapter

Author: Caroline Bishop

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Genre: Women’s fiction

Release Date: 3rd February 2022

Blurb

1957,France.

 Florence and Lilli meet at finishing school in Lyon. Despite some differences, they forge a firm friendship that promises to last a lifetime. But a terrible betrayal prematurely tears them apart. Years later in England, Florence has become the woman her friend knew she could be – creative, bold, and independent. The exact opposite of Alice, a young woman troubled by a recent trauma, whom Florence is determined to help bring out of her shell. Just as Lilli once did for her. When Florence discovers that the novel she’s reading is written by Lilli and is based on their time at school, the two stories begin to unfold together. Past events illuminate the future, and it becomes clear that long-held secrets can’t stay buried forever

My Thoughts

As I said previously, the blurb and tagline caught my eye but it wasn’t long before Flo captured my heart and I had to keep reading to discover her past. This is a clever book that intersperses Flo,  Carla and Alice’s narratives with that of Lilli, in the form of the chapters of an autobiographical novel, The Way We Were. This in turn tells the tale of two friends of opposite personalities which gives the foundation of the overall story.

Flo is a feisty, down to earth octogenarian with a talent for art and prints. The scenes describing the process of printing were mediative and made me itch to have a go. The chemistry between her and younger Alice was a joy to read as she attempted to soothe her fears and when secrets from all characters were revealed it brought tears. Flo is a character everyone needs in their lives. The strained relationship between Carla and her daughter was authentic and emotive.

The 1957 timeline was also a delight to read for other reasons. The attention to detail brought the  time period and location to life with a pace of its own and worked perfectly against the other chapters. Unlike some dual timeline novels, I wasn’t drawn more to one; I was invested in both threads.

The Lost Chapter is a beautifully written emotional novel that left a warm glow when it ended with unexpected turns.

Would I recommend?

A huge yes, this could be a contender for one of my top books of the year. With beautiful prose, strong emotional connections, characters to hold dear and a mystery that makes you turn the page it is a must read.

It’s perfect for fans of last year’s Dear Grace by Clare Swatman.

Author Biography

Photo of Caroline Bishop
Caroline Bishop

Caroline Bishop began her journalism career at a small arts magazine in London, after a brief spell in educational publishing. She soon moved to work for a leading London theatre website, for which she reviewed shows and interviewed major acting and directing stars. Caroline turned freelance in 2012 and a year later moved to Switzerland, where her writing veered towards travel and she has contributed to publications including the Guardian, the Independent, the Telegraph and BBC Travel, writing mainly about Switzerland, and co-wrote the 2019 edition of the DK Eyewitness Guide to Switzerland. For two years Caroline was editor of TheLocal.ch, an English-language Swiss news site, and it was during this time that she became fascinated with aspects of Swiss history and culture, particularly the evolution of women’s rights

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

signature of Katie

Book Review: The Book Lovers by Victoria Connelly

Happy Easter to you all. This will be an unusual on for many and on days like today, it is always good to know books are consistent companions for you to escape into.  I am pleased to share with you one of my favourite books of this year,  The Book Lovers by Victoria Connelly.

Book Review: The Book Lovers by Victoria Connelly

The Book Lovers - Victoria Connelly

The Book Lovers by Victoria Connelly

Title: The Book Lovers

Author: Victoria Connelly

Publisher: Notting Hill Press 

Release Date: 27 Aug. 2015

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Purchase: Amazon

Blurb

Author Callie Logan never expected to swap her life in London for one in rural Suffolk but, after the breakdown of her marriage, she decides that a fresh start is just what she needs. Finding Owl Cottage in the tiny village of Newton St Clare, Callie determines to give up on love and throw herself into her work. But fate seems to have other ideas and she soon has two very different men vying for her attention.

First there’s Leo who likes to live on the wild side which usually means taking his dates foraging in the local woods for their supper. Then there’s Sam Nightingale, owner of Nightingale’s bookshop. Sam, recovering from a divorce, has also vowed to embrace the single life. That is, until he meets Callie.

But is Callie willing to risk her heart again and, if she is, will she make the right choice?

The Book Lovers is the first in an exciting new series by the bestselling author of The Rose Girls and A Weekend with Mr Darcy.

My Thoughts

This book is simply wonderful and the perfect escapism for 2020. As you may know, I love books about books and book shops. This one excels itself in the passion for the written word and the physical book.

I was in heaven as I wandered the Nightgale bookshops in Castle Clare. Each one is run by a different member of the Nightgale family; all shops are unique and specialise in a different form of books. The Book Lovers focuses on the rambling second hand shop belonging to Sam Nightgale. The descriptions and small details made me believe I was there. The enthusiasm the characters had for the books they held, sniffed and adored called to me.  The author understands the mind of a book worm well. The settings alone would have kept me reading but the characters had depth, warmth and back stories that kept me captivated. I binge read the whole series in less than a week. 

Callie is an author, recovering from a painful divorce and as a novice writer, I connected with her instantly as she struggled with writer’s block, deadlines and life. The chemistry between her and Sam Nightgale grows as they bond over their love of books . The conversations between the two characters is an ode to literature and I could not help hear the voice over from the Marks and Spencer’s ads declaring in a sultry voice “This is not just a best seller, it’s a Nightingale bestseller” as they delighted over the shop’s stock.

There is a plethora of delightful, memorable characters in the town and the introduction of the extended Nightgale family prepares you for the other books in the series.  

Would I recommend?

Yes! This warm, delightful and comforting novel is pure escapism for a bibliophile.  I did not want to leave. I fell in love with Castle Clare, the shops and Sam Nightgale for his passion for books. I loved the writing and immersive story line so much, I bought the audio version to calm me on sleepless nights. This will be on my forever shelf for me to return to over and over. 

Author Biography:

 

Victoria Connelly Author Photo

Victoria Connelly

Victoria Connelly is the bestselling author of The Rose Girls and The Book Lovers series.

With over one million sales, her books have been translated into a dozen languages. The first, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in Germany. Victoria flew to Berlin to see it being made and even played a cameo role in it.

A Weekend with Mr Darcy, the first in her popular Austen Addicts series about fans of Jane Austen has sold over 100,000 copies. She is also the author of several romantic comedies including The Runaway Actress which was nominated for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Best Romantic Comedy of the Year.

Victoria was brought up in Norfolk, England before moving to Yorkshire where she got married in a medieval castle. After 11 years in London, she moved to rural Suffolk where she lives in a Georgian cottage with her artist husband, a Springer spaniel and her ex-battery hens.

She’s written about her experience of country life in three volumes of autobiography: Escape to Mulberry Cottage, A Year at Mulberry Cottage and Summer at Mulberry Cottage.

You can get a heart-warming novella, A Dog Called Hope, when you sign up for her newsletter at: victoriaconnelly.com

You can find her on Twitter @VictoriaDarcy and at facebook.com/victoriaconnelly

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources  for inviting me to this tour, a copy of the book to give my honest opinion  and introducing me to this wonderful series. 

Follow me or pop in later this week for my reviews for the rest of the series. 

Happy Easter and stay safe at home to read!

Love

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