‘A Day Out In London’ by Jenny Worstall #ThePeoplesFriend

My story ‘A Day Out In London’ appears today in ‘The People’s Friend’. It was inspired by the wartime experience of my grandfather as a doctor during the Birmingham air raids.

The picture below shows my grandfather (left) with his wife and father after receiving the George Medal.

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I have changed some names and details for the story and relied heavily on my imagination to fill in the blanks but the bit about my grandfather helping someone who had fainted after having the pin of his medal stuck in him by the King is true, according to a very reliable source, my mother; I owe her a great debt of gratitude for answering my endless questions about her father and about the War, furnishing me with material for this story and many others.

I am thrilled that ‘The People’s Friend’ chose this story, which is very close to my heart, for their 11th November Remembrance edition of the magazine.

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Gloria Crumb, the Crimplene Mum

My short story ‘Gloria Crumb, the Crimplene Mum’ is published today in ‘The People’s Friend Special’.

This is how I feel:

 

Thank you, People’s Friend, for patiently ploughing through my stories and selecting this one!

Note to writers: The People’s Friend is the most generous of magazines and so encouraging to fledgling writers. It will comment on your work and gently steer you in the right direction. Feedback from magazines is rare these days, except from The People’s Friend. They genuinely want to help you develop.

The inspiration for Gloria Crumb came many years ago from my sister. As teenagers, we shared an aversion to crimplene. We thought it was old-fashioned and used to laugh (and not always in a nice way!) at crimplene-clad characters. I filled in a coupon at the back of a magazine which promised to send you various free samples of crimplene so that you could choose the most suitable pattern to cover your sofa – but I filled it in using my sister’s name. She was naturally enough ecstatic to receive the little multi-coloured squares in the post and set about making a patchwork bag, the home for a cardboard cut out figure she named Gloria Crumm (now changed to Crumb). I came across the bag recently at the bottom of my wardrobe and decided it was time for Gloria to feature in a story.

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Hope you manage to grab a copy of ‘The People’s Friend Special’ (4.1.2017) and get acquainted with ‘Gloria Crumb, the Crimplene Mum’. You can buy The People’s Friend Special 134 from today from all good newsagents – or a digital version through The People’s Friend website. https://www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk/category/the-magazine/

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Elizabeth Papers’ by Jenetta James #RBRT #BookReview

The Elizabeth Papers by [James, Jenetta]

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber’s Review Team.

The Elizabeth Papers is an intriguing romantic suspense novel that flashes seamlessly between the lives of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy once they are married, and Evie and Charlie in the present day.

I was drawn to it immediately as Elizabeth Bennet is my favourite Austen heroine. I don’t think it is possible to capture completely the chemistry between Darcy and Elizabeth nor Elizabeth’s brilliantly witty and teasing speech patterns unless your name is Jane Austen, but in my opinion this book stands up with the best of the sequels to Pride and Prejudice and for this reason I have given it five stars.

The attention to detail is faultless, both in the historical settings and in the present day world of art and detection, but the tale really becomes interesting when Evie and Charlie, the present day characters, make a visit to Pemberley and the two worlds collide…but no, I can’t spoil the mystery for you! I thoroughly recommend this book – but make sure you put some unbroken time aside because once you are hooked (in the very first chapter) you will have to read on and on until the mystery is solved.

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘What Tim Knows’ by Wendy Janes #RBRT #BookReview

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber’s Review Team.

This wonderful collection of short stories takes six characters from Wendy Janes’ novel ‘What Jennifer Knows’ and gives each of them a canvas to themselves. The stories link back cleverly to the novel and give further insights into the characters’ lives and behaviour. Jennifer, the heroine of ‘What Jennifer Knows’, appears in every story at different points in her life. Even though the stories are entwined with the novel, they can be read as a standalone volume with great enjoyment too.
The fifth story, ‘The Perfect Family’, explores the shifting loyalties and cruelties of childhood friendship and how a child’s perception of her parents can change in a crisis.
The emotional gem, for me, is ‘What Tim Knows’. Wendy Janes has a real understanding of what it feels like for a child to be different and how this affects the behaviour and feelings of others too. The closing scene between Tim and his mother Blythe is truly heart-wrenching.
I have no hesitation in recommending this fantastic collection and hope it will send new readers in search of the novel it is so much part of.

Link to ‘What Tim Knows’ on Amazon UK

 

What Tim Knows, and other stories by [Janes, Wendy]

IRISH CHARM New collection of ten short stories

This new collection of ten short stories can be dipped into throughout your day – a bit like a box of chocolates but without the calories.

Many of the stories have soft centres but some have more bite and crunch. You will find tales of romance, family life, love and loss, friendship and cosy crime. Feast and enjoy!

 

Link to Irish Charm on Amazon

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#TuesdayBookBlog Murder on the Tor by Frances Evesham #RBRT #BookReview

Link to Murder on the Tor on Amazon UK

 

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber’s Review Team.

Murder on the Tor is the latest Exham on Sea Mystery by Frances Evesham. There are two previous titles and they can be read as standalones or as part of a series.

Murder on the Tor is well-paced and written in an easy conversational style. It has an intricate plot involving amber beads, a glimpse of the seventies, dangerous jealousies and homemade chocolates, all set in the glorious Devon countryside.

Our two detectives, Libby and Max, continue their tentative romance from an earlier story, while following a trail of confusing clues about a new murder. In the end, the mist lifts and the truth is revealed, not only about the Murder on the Tor, but also about Libby’s deceased husband, Trevor and his gang of crooked friends.

My favourite character has to be Bear, the gentle giant of a dog. The account of how Bear manages to help a young girl communicate is very touching.

For readers looking for a quick cosy mystery – with hidden depths – I thoroughly recommend this delightful read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My review of ‘Jam for Tea’ by Cathy Murray

‘Jam for Tea’ is a touching, funny and affectionate look at the author’s childhood in the 1950s and ’60s. It follows on from ‘Cabbage and Semolina: Memories of a 1950s Childhood’ and takes us right up to the point where Cathy Murray is a qualified primary school teacher and is, in her own words, ‘on the cusp of some of the best experiences of my life’.
We learn where Cathy was when JFK was assassinated, how she tried to subdue her naturally curly hair with sellotape in an effort to copy Twiggy’s hairstyle and of the fun she had on her trip to Wales with the Girl Guides even though conditions were fairly basic. Cathy tells us about her holiday jobs, why we might want to follow her example of never sending food back to the kitchen in a restaurant and reveals why the book is called ‘Jam for Tea’ (hint: there is a canine influence).
One of my favourite reminiscences has to be the story of Cathy’s mother attending a wedding reception wearing a dress made out of the new one hundred per cent man-made fabric, Crimplene. In the crowd, her mother was pushed against a heater then spent the rest of the evening with her back turned away from the other guests so that no one would see the large brown scorch mark on her bottom!
There are charming glimpses of the future too, for example the vignette of Cathy and her father dressed up in their wedding outfits, playing piano duets at home while waiting for the ancient Bentley to arrive and take them to Cathy’s wedding. These hints of what is to come whet our appetite for the next installment of Cathy’s life story. More please, Cathy!

 

 

Why not take a look on amazon? UK USA

A link to my review of ‘Cabbage and Semolina’ by Cathy Murray.