30 July 2012

Lizzie and The Guernsey Gang by April W. Gardner, Book review

Publisher: CreateSpace 
ISBN-13: 978-1468144796


 Lizzie Browning loves nothing more than her tiny, island-home of Guernsey, but when German bombs drop on her crystal beach, her peaceful world explodes. For months, the big war in Europe has been nothing more than stories in the paper, but as the enemy takes over Guernsey, the war rushes to her doorstep.

For Lizzie, younger brother Andre, and cousin James, the time to escape is now, and they know just how to do it. Phillip Seifert, the odd boy from down the street, has all the markings of a genuine Nazi-lover. Lizzie knows better than to trust him, but he somehow manages to weasel his way into James’ good graces. 
Phillip joins the gang in their audacious escape plan, and Lizzie can do little more than pray he doesn’t get them all shot. 

But Lizzie soon learns that God doesn’t always answer prayers in the way she expects. He might actually plan for them to live under Nazi rule…forever.

My thoughts:

'Lizzie and the Guernsey Gang' promises to be entertaining as well as a great way to introduces children to the Channel Islands history during WW2. Guernsey was occupied by German Forces from 30 June 1940 until the end of the war merely as an object of propaganda. 
British troops were removed by order of the Crown on 15 June 1940 with most Guernsey islanders children evacuating shortly after. By the 28th of June, German bombers attack St Peter Port leaving 44 dead. War had come to Guernsey, the oldest Jewel in the Crown!

Whilst based on Ruth Davies' life (Islander who inspired Lizzie's character), this is only a fictional story intended to entertain and reflecting the bewilderment of the children (and even adults) who remained behind and faced long years of total isolation from the rest of the world. Their beautiful island occupied, the oppressive rules, the devastating food shortage and their constant fear of reprisals changed everything. 

As such the author is enticingly introducing Lizzie and her gang comprised of her little brother, her cousin and a distinctly disconcerting youngster who might just be associated with collaborators.  
This little group promises to be interesting as we discover yet new adventures. My favourite is James, Lizzie's cousin!
Lizzie learns life is not as it used to be and God is not only with the Britons as German buckles shows:
'Gott mit uns'.

Of note however, the memories of a youngster are definitively quite different from an adult. As such it seems Lizzie and even her younger brother expresses themselves more like adults at times. Keeping in mind children grew very fast during the war, this first book reflects only the first few months after all.

I question also some inaccuracy in the French patois or Dgernesiais, spoken until the late Fourties by the islanders. Despite English being widely spoken today, French is still very much a part of their history and when using it should reflect the feminine and masculine genres as well as good grammar, using the singular or plural form. 

April W. Gardner has opened a vivid window on the resistance in the Channel Islands and knowing its tumultuous past, it will be interesting to see how she brings us more of Lizzie's adventures.

I give this YA novel 4 stars!

About the Author:

 April W Gardner lives in Georgia with her computer nerd Air Force husband, ten year-old bookworm son, and eight year-old art-loving daughter. The Gardners enjoy watching nature shows, visiting national parks, and eating popcorn and chocolate every Friday during family night. April writes her Lizzie stories for God, her precious children, and every other kiddo who loves a good adventure. She is also the author of the Creek Country Saga, an inspirational historical romance series for moms. 

Best of all,  to learn more about Guernsey and what events in the book really happened, to find out what Lizzie’s up to next, and to chat with Ruth, the “real” Lizzie, please visit April on the web at :

( Ruth Davies Age 8)

Note to Readers: 

I am particularly pleased at posting this review as I actually won a copy of this title on 
SARAH SUNDIN's blog! (here)
Sincerest thanks to Sarah and April W. Gardner for this wonderful giveaway!
Even better...April signed my copy and I am absolutely thrilled!
Of course you know this post reflects my opinion only and was not requested by the author!

28 July 2012

Definition Of A Dreamer...

Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one.

(J. Lennon) 

A Boy and his Dream...  

'Ten year old Ethan listened intently as people in his church talked about the upcoming mission trip to Nicaragua to minister to orphans. It was almost unbelievable to him that some of the children in the orphanage didn’t even have their own pillow and blanket. Ethan knew he was too young to go on the trip, but he wanted to help. Then he had an idea: he would raise money himself to provide pillows and blankets for the children. His goal: $400...'

The faith of a child...

Join Carla Stewart to meet this incredible young man and do not miss the rest of the story (here)

What a wonderful dream! 
God speed Ethan! 

Animal Behaviour...

North Beach side...So quiet...Absolute bliss!

Meet Alex (short for Alexandre of course) and no, I am not in the habit of naming the wildlife...
Ex-RAF fly boy does!

Alex prefers his profile of course (you might have noticed his antler...someone mentioned he might have tangled with a fence)

 Alex has a knack for showing up at supper time...

 He is not shy as you can see...

We also observed strange behaviour from this Chickadee family...

Frantic the female is looking at herself (?) or for something (?) in the mirror...

'Eleanor'  seems convinced there is something there...(we actually believed her and opened all doors/hatch)

Finally we tried removing temptation...

You will notice Frank the male just waiting like the rear guard (?)...They have been doing this for the last three days sometimes for hours...

 To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and the flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.

(R. Carson)

Just another day on the island...

27 July 2012

A Hero For Holly by Kristy K. James, E-Book review

(Available on 30 July 2012 - See author's page below for more information)


Single mom, Holly McGinty, has no life.  No personal life, that is.  After her husband left her pregnant, with a four-year old son, there was never much time for her.  Between raising two boys and saving her restaurant from bankruptcy, she’s been too busy taking care of everyone and everything to give much thought to her own needs.   In fact, the highlight of her week is swooning over her oldest son’s sexy scout leader.
Sam Jensen never believed in love at first sight…until the first time he saw Holly.  But even though he gets along great with kids, and is successful as both an architect and investor, figuring out relationships with women has never come easy to him.  Now it seems as though his luck has changed.  As long as one little tiny secret remains a secret.

My thoughts:

Kristy K. James is a Christian author from whom you can expect a great book and after reading ENZA, I knew I was in for a treat! 
I know I have said it before, I prefer a good hard copy in my hands but given the opportunity to review an E-book version only, I set aside my apprehension. She is just too good to miss!
So what exactly sets out 'A Hero For Holly' and why do I recommend reading it?  

Kristy's magic touch! I am a dreamer as you well know it and I love to see things turning out for the better for everyone betwixt the pages of a book. After all, when reading a trade book (versus a textbook which is not always so pleasant), you wish to immerse yourself in another dimension, seeing and believing the best in everything. 
Then there is the fact that Sam is a Scout Master who loves kids of course and it brings back a few memories...(Just ask hubby!)

Such is the story behind 'A Hero For Holly'. Holly and Sam have stars in their eyes but of course there are a few challenges along the way for you to discover, a sure inducement for you to turn page after page, sometimes bringing a tear or two, sometimes making you chuckle...
Somehow I do not think you will guess Sam's little tiny secret!

When an author can actually make you feel so alive that you feel tingling in your fingertips (or toes!),, you know you have something good in your hands (I almost forgot...in front of you as in a Mobipocket  Reader!).

Once again, Kristy K. James has a way to make you believe in 'living happily ever after'. You will find good families values in this romance and do not have to fear loaning your copy to any young adult!

I give it 4 stars!

About the Author:

'Kristy K. James' first goal in life was to work in law enforcement, until the night she called the police to check out a scary noise in her yard. Realizing that she might someday have to check out scary noises in other dark yards if she continued on that path, she turned to her other favorite love...writing. 
Since then her days have been filled with being a mom and reluctant zookeeper (7 pets), creating stories and looking for trouble in her kitchen.'
For more on this author and 'A Hero For Holly' go to her website (here).

I received this E-book free courtesy of LIGHTNING BOOK PROMOTIONS as part of their blogger review program.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

24 July 2012

This Bright River by Patrick Somerville, Book review

Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
ISBN-13: 978-0316129312


Lauren Sheehan's career in medicine came to a halt after a sequence of violent events abroad. Now she's back in the safest place she knows--St. Helens, Wisconsin--cut off from career, friendship, and romance.

Ben Hanson's aimless life bottomed out when he went to prison. But after his release, a surprising offer from his father draws him home. In Wisconsin, he finds his family fractured, still unable to face the truth behind his troubled cousin's death a decade earlier.

As Lauren cautiously expands her world and Ben tries to unravel the mysteries of his family and himself, their paths intersect. Could each be exactly what the other needs?

A compelling family drama and a surprising love story,
This Bright River confirms Patrick Somerville's status as one of the most exciting young writers at work today.

My thoughts:

I am actually puzzled as to how describe my thoughts for once! Frankly 'This Bright River' is not what I expected and yet I want to be fair to the author. 

Despite concentration (and I opened this book quite a few times only to put it down time and again!) I remain confused. I could not get hooked.
For one thing, the numerous layers of introspection, the tedious plots and the cynical characters themselves project dark tendencies, none which I cared to identify but reminding me life is much simpler when you trust in God. 
So, to be fair...

Contemporary stories rarely attracts me as I have said before but I thought the thriller and the love story combination might just be entertaining. 
Not so!

Quotations by John Muir and Epictetus did peak my interest however.
'John Muir scoffed at the Christian God and went through life as a wild and unbounded soul'. Maybe, but whom did he think created this beautiful world he was so enamoured with? 

As to Epictetus 'First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.' Good advice...Human nature dictates however we often say one thing when we really mean another...Timing is also of the essence...

I would not describe this story as anything compelling yet there is a message there...somewhere...betwixt the pages...

The story alternates from Ben and Laura's point of view. Both of their background painfully tumultuous and each is at a turning point. But neither of these two protagonists or their confusing common past grasped my interest at anytime.
I breathed with relief after the last page.

So it might be entertaining to others but not for me. Adult thematic contents, expletives  and questionable editing are to be noted as well.

2 Stars!

About the Author:

Patrick Somerville is the author of two novels - 'This Bright River' and 'The Cradle' - and two books of short stories - Trouble and The Universe in Miniature in Miniature. He lives with his wife and son in Chicago, and he teaches creative writing in the MFA programs at Warren Wilson and Northwestern University.

For more on the author visit his website (here) .

I received this ARC from HACHETTE as part of their blogger review program.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

The Forgiven Duke by Jamie Carie, Blog Tour and Giveaway News

As part of Bookshelf Confessions Blog Tour for Jamie Carie's 'The Forgiven Duke', here is the latest scoop on this lively author and her Book # 2 in her series 'The Forgotten Castles'!

Readers might remember this book review but I am always happy to spread good news!
Jamie Carie is dreaming of breaking into the Top Kindle 100!!

Additionally I am told her first book 'The Guardian Duke' (see my review here) E-book is now sold in Amazon, CBD and Barnes & Noble.  

Congratulations Jamie and God speed!!

Publisher: B&H Books 
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1433673231
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.


Tethered by her impulsive promise to marry Lord John Lemon - the path of least resistance - Alexandria Featherstone sets off toward Iceland in search of her parents with a leaden heart. A glimpse of her guardian, the Duke of St. Easton - the path less traveled by - on Dublin’s shore still haunts her.

Will he come after her? Will he drag her back to London, quelling her mission to rescue her treasure-seeking parents, or might he decide to throw caution to the wind and choose Foy Pour Devoir: “Faith for Duty,” the St. Easton motto. The Featherstone motto Valens et Volens: “Willing and Able,” beats in her heart and thrums through her veins. She will find her parents and find their love, no matter the cost.

The powerful yet wing-clipped Duke of St. Easton has never known the challenge that has become his life since hearing his ward’s name. Alexandria Featherstone will be the life or the death of him. Only time and God’s plan will reveal just how much this man can endure for the prize of love.

My thoughts about Jamie Carie's 2nd book in the 'Forgotten Castles' series:

'The Guardian Duke' by Romance Novelist Jamie Carie was a treat and once again this latest adventure of Alexandra Featherstone and her guardian Duke appeals to our romantic side giving us a delightful opportunity to escape from the doldrums of life. 
By now,  you guessed it, Jamie Carie has many followers! Dreamers, all of us!

Jamie Carie's vivid imagination had led her to create interesting plots full of lively and colourful situations which leaves you... just wanting a little more! It matters little that this novel ends with (unanswered) questions to be pursued in the next installment, this time called 'A Duke's Promise'! 
All will be revealed in due course!
The Forgiven Duke is a warm lighthearted tale with many endearing characters, locals that will fire your own imagination and a plot with all the right ingredients: love, hope, faith aplenty, intrigue and the unsavoury side of the great powers who ruled the high seas and our world in the Nineteenth Century!
Finally it is a story to enjoy just knowing our fair protagonists are in God's hands and in this case His plan reveals how much a man such as Gabriel will do when in love!
As for Alex, you will feel wishing to have her determination in her quest despite the many pitfalls she encounters!

'The Forgiven Duke' is Book 2 of 'A Forgotten Castles' series and the sequel to 'The Guardian Duke'.

About the Author:
Jamie Carie has a knack for weaving interesting plots and warm characters allowing you to escape from daily drudgery! 
'Jamie Carie is also the author of Snow Angel, a ForeWord magazine Romance Book of the Year winner, USA Book News National “Best Books 2007” Awards winner, and 2008 RITA Awards® Best First Book finalist. Her third novel, Wind Dancer, was a 2010 Indiana State Library Best Books of Indiana finalist.'
She writes the sort of Christian fiction that allows you to believe there are still dreams to be lived! And what would be life without dreams?!
Visit her website (here

And now for news of the GIVEAWAY!

BOOKSHELF CONFESSIONS has a GIVEAWAY running until 5 August 2012!

Winner will received a signed paperback copy of The Guardian Duke and The Forgiven Duke (Forgotten Castles # 1, #2)!

Be sure to enter for your chance to win these two titles (here)

Note to Readers: This post is part of a blog tour sponsored by Bookshelf Confessions (see here for upcoming events) and reflects only my opinion and support of another blogger!

23 July 2012

Paws And Stripes...Service Dogs Deserves Better!

You might have seen this add not so long ago...

PAWS AND STRIPES is a non profit organization matching wounded US Military Veterans suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and Traumatic Brain Injury with Service Dogs.
All Service Dogs are obtained FROM SHELTERS and trained at no cost to the Vet.

As such they are to be commended as many soldiers (here and abroad) are coming home only to experience time and time again the horrors of war. Their sacrifice should not be forgotten.


My family and I were absolutely shocked to hear therefore of the abuse of their founder Jim Stanek and his service dog SARGE by UNITED AIRLINES employees, not once but twice!

I believe any animal lover would be outraged at Sarge's treatment but to have also a three combat tours Veteran being treated so should not go unnoticed! 

Please take a moment to read the following:



As a retired AFES for the ARC and a SOLDIER's ANGEL I absolutely refuse to fly with an airlines which treats our heroes this way!

Take notice World, such treatment is NOT ACCEPTABLE!!

From MacIntosh the Corgi to Sarge: WOOF!! Hang in there Girl!!

Note to readers: This post reflects my opinion only of course!

22 July 2012

If Children or Bloggers Ran This World

If Children or Bloggers ran this World...

 Perhaps Norway would not mourn 77 Dead and 242 injured...(see here)

 The US would not fear going to a Cinema resulting in 12 death and 71 injured (see here)...

If Children and Bloggers ran this world...

We could just rejoice at the (first ever ) British cyclist winning the Tour de France!!! 
(Sorry France!)

and enjoy the Olympics for the splendid sportsmanship exuded by athletes from so many countries around the world...



As bloggers we follow others across the world in a spirit of friendship sharing our inner thoughts, good times, sad ones, art and craft, tips and prayers...TOGETHER we circle the globe in a peaceful manner...

Around the World in less than a few minutes...

AUSTRALIA (Cattle, Kids & Chaos)

HOLLAND (Madelief)

SRI LANKA (Mystica)

UNITED KINGDOM (Slow lane life), (Mademoiselle Poirot), (Mrs. Miniver's daughter), (MarmaladeRose), (Gillyflower) to name just a few I love to follow...

USA (By the sea), (Under His Wings),(Little Birdie Blessings), and so many others...

RUSSIA (Natalia)

If only Children and Bloggers ran this World...Peace might be ours...

21 July 2012

The Company by Chuck Graham, Book review

Publisher: WinePress Publishing
ISBN-13: 978-1414120904

A meteor explodes into the planet. Massive earthquakes rock the land as giant tsunamis engulf the coasts. Sleeping volcanoes violently erupt, filling the sky with clouds of suffocating ash, and soon, the world is shrouded in darkness. Last Day has come, bringing death, destruction, and despair. Yet hidden in a mountain valley, the Brigons manage to survive, but with no power and little food or water, their hope is fading into the eternal night. Then a voice calls out in the darkness and offers to bring them light. This is the story of Sam Mitchell, an engineer with one of the power managers in Brigos Glen.
Seventy years have passed since light was restored to the village. Few remember the time before Last Day or the strangers who helped them in their time of need. But Sam has heard the stories and, with the guidance of his friend, seeks to help others as he goes about his seemingly unimportant, routine existence. That is, until he receives an ominous order from beyond the mountains that will change his life forever. 
For centuries mankind has sought God...not simply to find Him, but to understand Him. This quest has left many struggling in a maze of contradictions - one God but a Father, one God but a Son, one God but a Spirit - leading them to the ultimate question: Who is the Trinity? 
The answer is revealed in The Company by Chuck Graham, a clever allegory, carefully woven with surprising revelation of who God is, who we are before Him, and our calling to love and encourage each other.
My thoughts:
I will tell you upfront 'The Company' has a slow start and in the end,  it brought (internal) confusion. The allegory, understanding the concept of the Trinity, as suggested by Chuck Graham is just not what I expected yet there is something in his message. 
I can only deduce I must read it again and eventually grasp more from the whole concept!

The apocalyptic background was interesting but so many factors were unexplained I kept going back a few pages to see if I missed something. I might be a dreamer but I like facts and two and two makes four, not three or five. If that makes me like St Thomas, so be it. 
The story revolves around a small village and their post apocalyptic survival in total darkness. 
So far, so good. When a voice calls and offers a plan to bring power to the village, the elders turn to 'The Company' . Two other smaller companies later bring management and communication. But things do not develop as planned.
Decades later, chosen villagers are sent to meet with the leader of "The Company'.
I assume the Trinity is represented by these three companies but it remained unclear until almost the end of the book. Double meanings, hidden references about true faith and the end times made this story the sort you like to debate and as such has created some lively discussion in this family.  
There is no doubt the author is a skillful writer but based on like/dislike I must admit it was not what I expected.

4 stars to be fair!
About the Author:
 Chuck Graham's legal career as an attorney in private practice spanned more than thirty-one years. He represented many local, national, and international clients, acquiring intricate knowledge about the often-overlapping structures of the corporate world. He also worked against those seeking to create racial division, including the Ku Klux Klan. He has served as a member of the state bar of Georgia since 1979 and an instructor to attorneys and judges through the Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE). He received the Medallion of Appreciation from ICLE.

Chuck is also a speaker and the author of Take the Stand (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996) and the compilations, A Year of Encouragement (Xulon Press).

In 1997 he founded Ciloa (Christ Is Lord Of All), a ministry devoted to sharing God’s encouragement with the world and teaching those who follow Him how to encourage others. Today Chuck serves as executive director and principal author of A Note of Encouragement, a weekly e-zine reaching 175 countries.

As part of this  LITFUSE Blog Tour, I invite readers to check out other reviews (here).

I received this book free from LITFUSE as part of their blogger review program.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

20 July 2012

Someone To Blame by C.S. Lakin, Book review

Publisher: Zondervan
ISBN-10: 0310327393


In the wake of heartrending family tragedies, Matt and Irene Moore move with their fourteen-year-old daughter, Casey, to a small town. Their goal is to get far away from the daily reminders that leave each of them raw and guilt-ridden. Their hope is to find redemption, repair, and renewal. Instead, the threads that hold them together unravel even more. Breakers, a small community perched on the rocky coast of the Pacific Northwest, is draped with cold isolation that seems to mirror the hearts. 

As they settle into their new life, old grief settles with them. Matt is always on edge and easily angered, Irene is sad and pensive, and Casey is confused and defiant. They've once more set the stage for calamity. Into this mix comes Billy Thurber, a young drifter with his own conflicts, whose life unexpectedly entangles with the Moores'. His arrival in Breakers parallels a rash of hateful and senseless crimes, and soon the whole town -- eager for someone to blame -- goes after Thurber with murderous intent. 

Out of this dangerous chaos, however, the Moores find unexpected grace and healing in a most unlikely way. Author C. S. Lakin explores our need to assign reason and fix blame for the pain and grief in our lives. 

Though the circumstances are fictional, the emotions are real and universal, making Someone to Blame a great and inspiring read.

My thoughts:

From love to hate and every emotion in between, this is a novel that shines of God's love!
Dealing with tragedy is never easy for any family and for this particular one, it does not hit once, but twice. In fact, things seem to get worse all the time in 'Someone to Blame'.

Hoping for a fresh new start Matt, his wife Irene and their daughter Casey move to a small coastal town in Northern California. Small town living does not make life any easier however and unexpected complications arise.
Most towns people in Breakers are very decent yet some are not what they seem. And when Matt hires Billy, a young drifter to work in the family's small construction business, things start to unravel even more.
When Casey gets into an entanglement with the surly boy and thefts and arson occurs evidence dramatically points to the drifter. Billy does not trust anyone and carries a big chip on his shoulder.

As the story progresses sadness, anger and guilt overwhelms the three members of the family. A teacher, Matt's wife Irene gets deeply caught up in young Billy's troubled background, and at one point saves his life at the risk of her own. 

Bitterness engulfs everyone and tension is palpable in this book thanks to the author's creative writing!
But where is God when all this is happening?
As always with a little faith of course, God's plan is eventually revealed.
With its ultimate climax, this dysfunctional family finds once again each other and the peace they have been craving. 
As to Billy, you will have to find out for yourself!

A journey not to be missed, this book explores deep emotional drama and is well worth reading. 
Healing as we know never comes easy!
 5 stars!

About the Author:

The author of twelve novels C. S. Lakin is a well known novelist and writing coach who 'seeks the heart of human motivation, to uncover unmet needs, and show the path to healing and grace.'

Read more about her on  her website (here)

I received this book free from ZONDERVAN as part of their blogger review program.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

19 July 2012

The White Pearl by Kate Furnivall, Book review

Publisher: Berkley Trade
ISBN-13: 978-0425241004


Malaya, 1941. Connie Thornton plays her role as a dutiful wife and mother without complaint. She is among the fortunate after all-the British rubber plantation owners reaping the benefits of the colonial life. But Connie feels as though she is oppressed, crippled by boredom, sweltering heat, a loveless marriage. . .

Then, in December, the Japanese invade. Connie and her family flee, sailing south on their yacht toward Singapore, where the British are certain to stand firm against the Japanese. En route, in the company of friends, they learn that Singapore is already under siege. Tensions mount, tempers flare, and the yacht's inhabitants are driven by fear.

Increasingly desperate and short of food, they are taken over by a pirate craft and its Malayan crew making their perilous way from island to island. When a fighter plane crashes into the sea, they rescue its Japanese pilot. For Connie, that's when everything changes. In the suffocating confines of the boat with her life upended, Connie discovers a new kind of freedom and a new, dangerous, exhilarating love.

My thoughts:

I first noticed this title on Mystica's blog (here) and loved the cover! These days I am often puzzled by the lack luster of book covers (chosen by Publishers I am told, not authors) but 'THE WHITE PEARL' intrigued me immediately. 
Like Mystica I enjoy foreign settings and the Fourties was an added incentive! Our local  library was quick to respond to my hold request and from that point on, I could not turn the pages fast enough! 

'Malaya 1941. It was not the first time Connie had killed anyone. But today there were witnesses. A car's bumper should be a mute object, but in November 1941 the chrome bumper on Constance Hadley's 1938 Chrysler Royal found its voice.'

Kate Furnivall gives us a powerful image of Colonial life in Malaya, a distinctly privileged life that would soon crumble with the invasion of Japanese Forces. For me it presented an incidentally well balanced view of the British Empire and plantation owners who occupied sometimes for generations this South Asian country and the natives who systematically breathed under their rules often unnoticed. 

It invoked raw beauty, exotic spices, the subtle but unforgettable smell of the Orient and the mysterious spell most Europeans fell under when they first saw this part of the world.
Connie Hadley is perhaps the main protagonist (albeit each character has its own definite appeal) and described as the perfect English hostess, elegant and charming, serene and in control or so it appears.

The Hadley's are the epitome of the Colonial class, untouchable and for the husband at least,  the enemy's advance is improbable. Others face the truth and the invasion's imminence. Life as they knew is about to change for ever.

The only possible escape for them is aboard the sloop 'The White Pearl', Nigel Hadley's wedding present to his young bride when Connie first came to Malaya. Faced with the inevitable prospect of Japanese invasion, she hires a seasoned sailor to help them and their friends. So starts their voyage along the Malacca strait towards Singapore...

Kate Furnivall excels at describing the heavy atmosphere which surrounds the sloop and never fails to surprise her readers. Just when you think you know what is happening, a new development shifts the whole story for everything comes at a price, especially freedom.

Connie Hadley is a striking character, utterly feminine yet exuding strength, a delicate British rose in a foreign land striving to overcome loneliness, ultimately pitting every ounce of her courage against the enemy. She is a survivor and you cannot but admire her determination to save her family despite the odds. 
She is also haunted by the past but when given another chance at love, she grasps it with both hands and goes on to fight yet another battle.

It is an exquisite story with finely tuned characters, vitally drawing you in its narrative. The end will leave you breathless for we already know history has played its cards. Katie Furnivall's subtle reminder that we have no control over destiny will shake any complacency on your part.

A  book to enjoy, each layer sure to spark your imagination and your romantic soul, it contains a few expletives which I would have preferred not to see and adult thematic contents more appropriate to the mature reader.

In the end, I must none the less give it 5 stars, I could not put it down!

About the Author:

I found Kate Furnivall's background as enticing as her story! 
Born in Wales, Kate's mother spent her own childhood in Russia, China and India, a source of inspiration for the author. Kate now lives in Devon in a 300 year old thatched roof cottage near the sea with husband Norman, an award winning author who uses the nom de plume Neville Steed.
For more read (here)

Note to readers: I was not asked to review this book and this post reflects my opinion only!