Archive | April 2023

Shameful Secrets On Coronation Close by Lizzie Lane

Community Minded

Shameful Secrets On Coronation Close by Lizzie Lane is a delightful book and the second one in the series. It can be read as a stand-alone but I recommend reading book one first to see both story and character progression.

The year is 1937 and the residents of Coronation Close are very much looking forward to the King’s coronation in May, much like we are today. The reader is caught up in the excitement and preparations as the residents celebrate together. They are a close-knit bunch, offering help where it is needed. They share lives but some are hiding secrets.

We see the dreadful effects of shell shock from World War I which still persisted. “Looking at the mud brought back fragments of memories that still haunted him.” Shell shock or PTSD was not understood. It never goes away. We see a character who has hidden his identity since deserting in World War I. He hides behind more than just curtains, as the reader’s heart breaks for this gentle soul.

Other characters have secrets too. Some are kept because to let them out would put lives at risk. Others are kept through guilt and shame although they have nothing to be ashamed of, having been caught up in unwanted action.

Continue reading

The Lost Daughters Of Ukraine by Erin Litteken

Choose Hope

The Daughters Of Ukraine by Erin Litteken is a powerful and heart-breaking novel that consumed me.

The action is mainly set during World War II and up to 1947. We follow three lost daughters of Ukraine as the war tears them apart – first the Soviets, then the Germans, and then the Soviets again. It is a book that will affect your emotions. It really resonated with me as I had an uncle from the Ukraine who was born in1922 and who suffered under the Soviets and the Germans, and who chose to come to Britain at the end of the war.

The Daughters Of The Ukraine is grounded in fact as it is based on the experiences of the author’s relatives.

All the characters are well drawn and realistic. Their bravery and their tenacity to overcome is amazing. “Fight because life is always worth fighting for.” It was a daily choice, to choose life. Anything else would have meant giving up.

There is a generosity of spirit. They shared what they had with those who had nothing. In contrast, the Soviets and the Germans were brutal. I remember my uncle saying that he did not want to fall into the hands of the Soviets.

My heart broke for a character who had lost her whole family. “Everyone I love dies, so I won’t love anyone.” She tried to build a wall around her heart, to harden her emotions but her heart broke free.

Continue reading

The Cruise by Caroline James

Grab Life & Live It!

The Cruise by Caroline James is a delightfully fun novel that will make you smile.

A Christmas cruise in the Caribbean is a wonderful escape from the cold December days in Britain. It is a new experience for three school friends aged sixty three. They prove that you are never too old for new experiences.

Life has been difficult in recent years – we have a widow who has endured a lifetime of domestic abuse, a divorcee, and a character lacking in self confidence. Now is the time for a fresh start.

We meet an eclectic mix of characters cruising. Some are seasoned travelers; others are new to it. It is important to grab new experiences and opportunities. Don’t let life pass you by. Life is for living, as we see several characters having epiphanies.

Some characters need to be encouraged to try new things. We see that an obsession with weight and body-shaming has held a character to ransom over the years.

Caroline James has introduced not only the characters, but the reader too, to the joys and delights of cruising. Her words have vividly painted the landscape and the sights. We can almost ‘feel’ the heat as we figuratively step onto the white-hot sand.

Continue reading

The Heart Ladder by Sibby Spencer

A Marvellous Debut

The Heart Ladder by Sibby Spencer is a compelling historical novel that I read in just one sitting.

The novel is set during the Vietnam war and in 2003. It is about roots. We all long to know where we come from and where we belong.

It is about actions and regrets. All our choices have consequences. Sometimes we dive straight in without thinking. We are blessed when others think ahead for us. We can spin tales and alter the stories we tell ourselves but we must not be fooled – the truth is always the truth even when we have spent a lifetime telling ourselves lies.

Family is important. As we grow up, we sometimes lose sight of ourselves and our loved ones but blood is always thicker than water.

We see the futility of war. Leaders drag the ordinary person into battle. We witness good hearts who just want to help and to heal.

Continue reading