tbyl reviewers

Loyality: The Ambassador’s Daughter

Today’s review of Pam Jenoff’s The Ambassador’s Daughter (Harlequin) comes from the lovely TBYL Reviewer, Tam.


Historical, international, and romantic, Jenoff’s story of friendship and love crosses many boundaries…

the ambassador's daughterParis, 1919. The world’s leaders have gathered to rebuild from the ashes of the Great War. But for one woman, the City of Light harbours dark secrets and dangerous liaisons, for which many could pay dearly.

Brought to the peace conference by her father, a German diplomat, Margot Rosenthal initially resents being trapped in the congested French capital, where she is still looked upon as the enemy. But as she contemplates returning to Berlin and a life with Stefan, the wounded fiancé she hardly knows anymore, she decides that being in Paris is not so bad after all.

Bored and torn between duty and the desire to be free, Margot strikes up unlikely alliances: with Krysia, an accomplished musician with radical acquaintances and a secret to protect; and with Georg, the handsome, damaged naval officer who gives Margot a job—and also a reason to question everything she thought she knew about where her true loyalties should lie.

Against the backdrop of one of the most significant events of the century, a delicate web of lies obscures the line between the casualties of war and of the heart, making trust a luxury that no one can afford.

While I did come to enjoy this book, I must admit that it took me a little while to get into. The author has done her research exceptionally well and this historical fiction is full of details about World War I and the negotiations for the peace treaty at the war’s end. I found myself more engrossed in the story when the very solitary main character, Margot, makes friends with two unlikely choices, Krysia, and then the handsome officer Georg, who she works closely with and starts to develop feelings for. These feelings lead to many questions of loyalty and true happiness.

This story has intrigue, political drama and danger, romance, mystery and misery. Margot finds herself torn between her loved ones, deciding who she will protect and where her loyalties truly lie, and this is a constant struggle for her. Margot is naive to the real happenings of life and this leads her to making many mistakes and being easily mislead. How far will she let the deceptions send her life out of control?

Ultimately, Margot must choose between the life she feels that she should honour or being truly happy and taking the chances in life that she wants to explore.

A beautiful and tragic post-war picture is painted in this novel of Paris and Germany and I believe would be a great read for history and political story lovers.


If you’d like to find out more about The Ambassador’s Daughter, you can visit the Harlequin website here…

Join us: Facebook and Twitter
Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

Subscribe to TBYL News: All Things Bookish… out monthly!

Blue fire: Indigo Awakening

Today, TBYL Reviewer, Carolyn Jones introduces us to the Indigo Children of Jordan Dane’s Indigo Awakening (Harlequin)…


Jordan Dane’s young adult novel Indigo Awakening introduces us to a complex and intriguing idea, bringing us the Indigo Children.

Indigo AwakeningDuring the 1970s, a pseudoscientific new-age theory emerged introducing the world to a new group of people. According to this new notion, children are born with unique and paranormal abilities and are considered to be the next stage of evolution in mankind – they are the Indigo Children. Jordan uses this set of ideas as the basis for her newest novel.

Set in present day Los Angeles, seventeen year old Rayne Darby begins her story on a quest to locate her missing younger brother, Lucas.  She struggles to know where to start, as all she knows is that Lucas has escaped the private mental hospital their older sister had him committed to after the death of their parents.  Rayne has never recovered from the guilt she feels for allowing the committal of her brother to this hospital, and so sets out to find him.

As she begins her search, the only thing that Rayne knows for sure is that she needs to trust her instincts and keep this quest a secret from her older sister, as well as from the adults who run the hospital.

In good fortune, Rayne meets Gabriel – a tall, dark and handsome young man who, from the moment she lays eyes on him, evokes feelings of real love and safety. And, he isn’t your average boy… rather, he is accompanied by a ghost dog, screams silent rage and catches on fire.  With an introduction like that, Rayne realises that she needs this strange and fascinating boy’s help to find her brother.

“The damned thing moved and drifted like a ghost. Rayne could’ve sworn it never touched the ground. She blinked twice, but the phantom dog didn’t go away, and that boy never looked down. Frozen in that moment with him, Rayne felt strangely calm and watched as he kept his face lifted toward the night sky. She thought things couldn’t get any weirder, but when that ghost dog brushed against him –

The boy caught fire.

Blue fire.”

At the same time, we meet a gang of teenagers living in the abandoned and forgotten underground of L.A.  These are no ordinary teenagers, they have the ability to communicate telepathically – they are Indigo Children.  Some have stronger powers than others but all are on a common mission to locate the many misunderstood Indigo Children to keep them safe from the “Believers”.  The Believers are adults running a fanatical church, who spend their time hunting Indigo teens in order to run scientific and inhumane research, mostly involving tests on the brains of these children.

The author of this book, Jordan Dane, takes the reader on an action-packed ride, building suspense throughout each chapter.  She has created strong female characters, all of whom have a power over the males in their lives.  She nurtures and grows each character so that readers will empathises with them in their struggle against a conspiracy-lead adult world.

This novel is young adult fiction and I believe Jordan Dane beautifully describes the angst and fear that is associated with first love.  She describes the transformations that the Indigo Children experience so vividly all while managing to let the reader know how these young adults are struggling with their own misunderstandings of their powers.  I believe the author did a stellar job at knowing her market, making children stand together as one to fight adults in a very one-sided world.  She also taps into relevant pop culture making reference to current music groups and comedy shows to engage her audience.

Indigo Awakening is the first book in the “Hunted” series and can be read as a stand alone novel or as the introduction to a new series. Interestingly, Jordan Dane does what so many young adult stories do these days, ending the novel with a cliffhanger, ‘encouraging’ readers to buy into the franchise.  Fortunately an excerpt of the follow-up novel is provided.  I can see this story being made into a film with state-of-the-art special effects following the lead of other young adult franchises such as The Hunger Games and Twilight.

Indigo Awakening is a good read and contains strong lead characters that may empower young readers to trust their instincts. Using the city of L.A. as the backdrop, this fast moving city symbolises the confusion that all teens feel at some point in their lives.

I have read quite a bit of paranormal teen fiction in the last few months so believing in the powers of Indigo Children was not too difficult for me.  For those who are new to this genre I do think Indigo Awakening might be a tad hard to get into at first, as the start of the novel introduces a large number of characters with little explanation of what motivates them.  Perhaps this is the trick to Jordan Dane’s intrigue but I found it to be a little too rushed and had to force myself to sit down for a long period just to get into the story.  However, if you love young adult stories or even paranormal fiction then I think you will enjoy this novel.  Considering there really is a phenomenon surrounding Indigo Children I believe some readers will be enticed to learn more about this idea and the conspiracy theories associated with it.

If you’d like to find out more about Jordan Dane’s Indigo Awakening, visit the website here…

Join us: Facebook and Twitter
Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

Subscribe to TBYL News: All Things Bookish… out monthly!

Secrets: Garden of Stones

Today’s review comes from my friend and new TBYL Reviewer, Anne Hoye. In January Anne read Catch of the Day, a fun, light-hearted romance. This time, Anne she’s gone for something a little darker.  Anne’s review this week is of Sophie Littlefield’s Garden of Stones (Harlequin)…


“In the dark days of war, a mother makes the ultimate sacrifice.”

garden of stonesGarden of Stones is a story of a mother’s love and a daughter’s courage, set in America during the second World War, with flashes forward to the year 1978. This is a wonderful story, well written, and it’s very interesting.

Lucy and her parents  are Japanese, living in Los Angeles. They lead a comfortable life, filled with luxuries. However, after the sudden death of her father, and the bombing of Pearl Harbour, Lucy and her mother’s lives are turned upside down. Their non-Japanese friends and neighbours turn against them, “because you’re a Jap”.  All Japanese people, including Lucy and her mother, Miyako, are rounded up and sent off to Manzanar, a prison camp. The conditions are harsh, with gaps in the floors and walls, allowing the cold, and the sand, and the heat to constantly enter their sparse rooms.

Miyako and Lucy are beautiful. Miyako catches the eye of the prison guards, and suffers abuse over many months. When Lucy begins to be targeted by the same prison guards, Miyako is horrified, and tries to protect Lucy. Unfortunately, the manner in which Miyako protects her daughter is shocking, horrifying. As a mother, I can only imagine the horror that Miyako must have gone through at the hands of the prison guards for her to think that her actions toward Lucy were better than the thought of Lucy having to suffer the same such abuse.

Sadly, unable to bare any more, Miyako commits suicide leaving Lucy alone in the world. We follow her story as she tries to find her way through life, a path made more difficult by her looks. Lucy eventually finds love and comfort, however, after an unplanned pregnancy, this is also taken away from her.

Throughout the book, the story moves between the past, and the present (which is set in 1978.) Despite the changes in time and place, the narrative is easy to follow, as the chapters are clearly marked with the year in which that part of the story is occurring. In the year 1978, we are introduced to Lucy’s adult daughter, Patty. Patty is planning her wedding, when her mother Lucy is implicated in a murder investigation. Patty has grown up with no father, and no knowledge of who he is. She knows little of her mother’s past and it is through Patty’s determination to clear Lucy’s name, that she uncovers the real story of her mother’s upbringing.

Garden of Stones is a story of tragedy and revenge, but it is also a story about love, kindness, and forgiveness. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and couldn’t put it down. I was intrigued to find out what happened to Lucy, and through Patty’s discoveries, I kept finding out more and more surprising details which ensured I kept reading. The surprises kept coming right up until the very end. This is a real page turner – part suspense, part drama.

A highly recommended read!


You can find out more about Sophie Littlefield’s Garden of Stones here…

Join us: Facebook and Twitter
Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

Subscribe to TBYL News: All Things Bookish… out monthly!

Bridie’s Choice

Earlier in the week we got a little bit country, and so I thought maybe we’d stay on theme and take a look at what TBYL Reviewer, Tam J thought of her recent read of Bridie’s Choice, by Karly Lane (Allen and Unwin)


Bridie's ChoiceFaced with a choice, Bridie must decide whether to turn her back on her heart or her dreams in order to make the biggest decision of her life…

Bridie Farrell desperately wants to escape her small home town, Tooncanny. She’s also longing to distance herself from her family name, a name whose reputation brings nothing but trouble and struggle. And God knows she has tried, many times, but each time her responsibilities hold her in place making escape seem impossible.

Bridie has lost her mother, her father is in jail and she is now legal guardian to her younger brother – all meaning that they’ll be no escaping Tooncanny, in the short term at least.

Shaun Broderick on the other hand couldn’t be more different to Bridie. From a different world, he comes from a wealthy farming family and in Lane’s story, we see him trying to realise his dream of taking over the management of their prestigious property, Jinjulu. Despite his lofty ambitions, he will first have to struggle against his dictatorial father. It’s going to be a tough fight.

In the tradition of star-crossed lovers, when Bridie and Shaun give in to their attraction to each other it, not surprisingly, it causes a lot of turmoil for them both. Shaun’s family are very unimpressed with their son’s choice of partner – a simple town girl with a bad family name – and they make no secret of their disapproval. Perhaps a predictable reaction, but would they really make him choose between his family property and his new love?

Bridie is facing her own challenges, waiting for her younger brother to finish school and join the army so she can finally be free to leave town and start her own adventure. As such, she cannot afford to get too serious with Shaun, she can’t give up her lifelong dreams in the pursuit of her new love for Shaun. Surely experiencing her dreams need to come first, before she slips in love with someone? Surely she should avoid becoming responsible for someone else when she finally has a chance to put herself first?

Bridie’s Choice is a well researched story set in the outback of Australia with scenes easy to picture and characters easy to relate to. It is full of turmoil, dramatic family drama, well-hidden secrets and of course, romance. It did take me a little while to get into this story, but I found it well worth sticking with. I became really invested in the characters and didn’t want to put the book down – the story and secrets were starting to reveal themselves and I just had to discover them! Karly Lane’s novel is an enjoyable country romance and an easy read. Worth a look…


If you’d like to find out more about Bridie’s Choice, by Karly Lane you can visit the A&U website here.

Join us:   Facebook  and  Twitter
Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

Subscribe to TBYL News: All Things Bookish… out monthly!

Get truckin’: Queen of the Road

Have I introduced you to Jade? No? Well that’s quite remiss of me…

I’d like to welcome our newest TBYL Reviewer, Jade Blann. Jade’s a friend of a friend of TBYL at she’s been wonderfully generous with her time, agreeing to take a look at the recently released Queen of the Road by Tricia Stringer (Harlequin).

Here’s what Jade thought of this outback, truckin’ tale…


queen-of-the-roadIn an attempt to sort out her mounting debt and escape the problems she has created during a drunken wedding, Angela agrees to help out her Dad’s trucking business by temporarily re-locating to Munirilla, a remote farming community between Adelaide and Perthwhich. Munirilla is relying on Angela to transport their essential supplies in Big Red, her double B truck. Problem is, not everyone is pleased to see a female driving the truck, much less one with an inquisitive four-year-old Claudia in tow.

From the outset I was attracted to this story by the idea of a female truckie. I take great satisfaction in any female pushing her way into an environment that is generally male dominated, and Queen of the Road was packed full of strong women forging ahead in this arena. Angela is welcomed into the community by many locals, after all, they have been desperate for someone to provide a regular, and reasonably priced service of goods back and forth to the city. But it turns out not everyone is happy that the new service is being provided by a woman. Suddenly orders are being changed or cancelled, information is mis-communicated and Angela’s attempts to bring some stability to the community seem to be in jeopardy.

Adding to Angela’s problems, Claudia’s father turns up, wanting contact with his daughter, just when Angela thought she had finally come to terms with the fact he was no longer a part of her life. Then appears Coop, a farm-hand from out of town, in the area to keep things going while his boss Alice, another admirable character, spends time under going treatment in an Adelaide hospital. Coop is a loner, itching to move on but he made Alice a promise, and Coop is a man of his word. When he meets Angela, Coop discovers feelings he hasn’t encountered in a long time. the trouble is, does Angela feel the same? Coop has his own problems to deal with, the fields need planting and the seeder needs fixing, it looks like Alice’s predicted rain is finally arriving and now sheep have gone missing. Thus ensues a lovely dance of emotions, as both characters work on dealing with their own problems.

While being a fairly predictable romance story, Queen of the Road incorporates a variety of mystery elements, making for an interesting read. This kept me engaged and wanting to know more. I had great respect for several of the characters and Claudia’s antics amused me, maybe because I have my own four-year-old daughter! On the whole, I found this to be a very enjoyable read, and I read it faster than I’ve read a book in a long time – I think that that fact itself speaks volumes!


Sounds like a fantastic blend – strong women, hard work, outback romance.

If you’d like to find out more about Queen of the Road by Tricia Stringer, you’ll find details here…

Join us:   Facebook  and  Twitter
Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

Subscribe to TBYL News: All Things Bookish… out monthly!

Interwoven: Triburbia

As you know, I love anything New York, and I’ve had today’s book on the Reading Pile for a number of months. I was looking forward to reading Triburbia, by Karl Taro Greenfeld (Allen and Unwin), but alas it just didn’t seem to happen. No matter what I tried, it just didn’t seem to get far enough up the reading pile to get read.

One of the things that I like the most about having so many great people reading and reviewing for TBYL is that I get to try and match friends to books, and when my friend Stephanie agreed to do some reading for me, I thought that Triburbia would be just her cup of tea. Here’s what she thought of it…


Tribeca is a well-known, ultra-cool area of Manhattan that we’ve heard lots about from the likes of Sex and The City and many movies. The name conjures up images of beautifully dressed women like Carrie or Charlotte, handsome men and to die for apartments. Triburbia shows another side to Tribeca, a side that is not always pretty or to be envied…

triburbiaWith an unflinching eye, Triburbia explores Tribeca, Manhattan, a neighbourhood synonymous with western affluence, in which an artists’ community has been overrun by the faux-bohemian haunts of those made staggeringly wealthy by the world of finance. Thrown together by circumstance, a group of fathers – a sound engineer, a sculptor, a film producer, a writer, a career criminal – meet each morning at a local cafe after the school run. 

Over the course of a single year, we learn about their dreams deferred, their secrets and mishaps, their passions and hopes, as they confront terrible truths about ambition, wealth and sex. Seen through the eyes of these men and the women with whom they share their lives, Triburbiashows that our choices and their repercussions not only define us, but irrevocably alter the lives of those we love. 

The first chapter introduces us to Mark, a sound engineer and father. Through Mark we’re introduced to a group of fathers who catch up for breakfast each day after school drop-off. With each chapter we learn more about each father, their children, wives and friends. As we learn more we begin to see how interwoven their lives are, links that sometimes even they aren’t aware of.

Karl Taro Greenfeld has written an intriguing book. As we learn more about each character we start to make connections and I found myself re-reading sections so that I was clear on who knew whom, and who they were married to or sleeping with. I found it very hard to stop reading as I wanted to find out how each family was connected and what would come next. Sometimes it was almost as if I was eavesdropping on conversations between characters that could have been sitting at a table next to me in a cafe.

“The irony of everyone supposing that Brick wasn’t the type to have an affair was that he was exactly the type. A more voluble man, a talkative fellow, would never have been able to pull this off. No one expected conversation from Brick, so he could go wordlessly from Bea to Ava, unchanging, unflinching, unmoved. The same metronomic nods as he listened, occasionally a tilt of the head or, and both women love this, he would open those blank, big eyes even wider, like he was redoubling his attention.(He didn’t even know he did this.) But keeping your trap shut around two woman isn’t much harder than maintaining radio silence around one.”

I highly recommend Triburbia, it was an entertaining and enjoyable book. It will keep you reading, wanting to find out about each family and how they will affect or have affected each others lives.


If you’d like to find out more about Triburbia, by Karl Taro Greenfeld visit the Allen and Unwin website here.

Join us:   Facebook  and  Twitter
Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

Subscribe to TBYL News: All Things Bookish… out monthly!

Keeping counsel: Mistress to the Crown

I can’t quite believe that so many wonderful people are keen to become part of the TBYL Reviewers team! Today I get to welcome the lovely Kate Barber.

Over the summer break, Kate read Mistress to the Crown, by Isolde Martyn (Harlequin). It was a different kind of book to that which she’d normally read, and Kate shared what she thought of this historical drama…


After having a few weeks off reading over the summer holidays, I was eager to get back into a good book, and so when Mistress to the Crown arrived on my doorstep, having not read many historical novels, I was ready to ‘read outside my comfort zone’.

mistress to the crown“The day Lord Hastings came into her husband’s store, Elizabeth saw the opportunity she had waited 12 years for – a way to separate herself once and for all from her dull, impotent husband, William Shore. The handsome stranger presented not only the chance to partake in the dance of desire, but legal counsel to annul her 12 year marriage.’

And so begins the real historical tale of Elizabeth Lambard – Mistress Shore, Mistress to King Edward IV of England in the 15th century.

Australian author Isolde Martyn is well known for her brilliantly researched and vivid accounts in her historical novels and has won numerous awards. She is a historian and former chair of the Richard II Society, and is more than qualified to write a book such as this!

The beginning of the book sees Elizabeth, at 14, trying to get legal counsel to annul her marriage to her husband while her ‘maidenhead’ is still intact. Having been ‘chosen’ to marry at 12 years of age by the 26 year old William, two years later she cannot stand her husband who she describes as ‘dull, dull, dull’ – not to mention impotent –  and she embarks on her not so easy quest to be granted a divorce, a notion almost completely unheard of in the 15th Century.

Fast forward 11 years and she is still married to William, working in his shop and bored, dreaming of grander things. When the handsome and debonair Lord Hastings (Lord Chamberlain and close friends of King Edward IV) visits the shop and spies her, she decides that this is her way out – she promptly asks him to ‘teach her’ the ways of love and so begins their affair.

All is going well with Lord Hastings until King Edward – Ned to his friends – spies her and thinks he would like in on the action. Being the King, he is not to be refused, and so Lord Hastings hands her over to the King. After some convincing, Elizabeth obliges and becomes his Mistress.

It is turbulent times within the Kingdom – wars, power struggles, take-over bids for the Crown, hangings, beheadings, the pox… but despite the hard times, Elizabeth is soon nickname ‘Jane’ by the King (as his wife is Queen Elizabeth and he doesn’t want to confuse the two!!) and moved into her own quarters within the Palace grounds where she is at Ned’s beck and call. They fall in love and the King begins to rely on her for ‘counsel’, friendship and comfort.

However, Elizabeth is labelled a strumpet and a whore and ostracised by her family and friends. She is scorned and despised by King Williams’s posse (except Lord Hastings, who still holds a flame) and frequently propositioned by the men at the Palace who despise the hold she has over the King. Nonetheless, Elizabeth is a strong and sure woman who stands up to her enemies and remains faithful to Ned.

That is until, after a short illness, Ned dies and the Kingdom is thrown into turmoil. Without the protection of the King, Elizabeth is on her own and her sorry downward spiral, at the hands of the King’s Counsel, begins. She moves from the Palace grounds and is labelled a witch, accused of sorcery and treason. She is taken to trial, thrown in jail and threatened to be burned at the stake.  When her only ally (and ex-lover) Lord Hastings is beheaded for treason she thinks there is no way out and concedes that she may well be killed.

But, a last minute reprieve, with the intervention of the new King’s Crown Solicitor, who just happens to fall for her quick wit and womanly charms (which apparently she has not lost despite being in prison with no toothbrush or shower!) and her destiny is once again changed. He devises a plan – if he marries her and gives up his Royal commitments, he can free her from the charges against her and make her a free woman. And so it is.

Having not read many historical novels, I was pleasantly surprised as to how easy this novel was to read and how much I enjoyed it. At the beginning of the book there is a ‘Family Tree’ and a list of characters appearing in the novel which comes in handy when the various Kings, Princes, Lords and Royal Counsel are discussed. There is also a ‘Glossary of Medieval Words’ at the back of the book – would’ve been good to be aware of this before I finished the book! Elizabeth is portrayed as a witty, feisty and clever woman trying hard to change her course and get out of the shackles that women in this era were bound by. The story has been told with humour and passion and gives an insight into the tumultuous times that were the 15th Century.

If you love an historical novel, I am sure you will enjoy this one too!


If you’d like to find out more about Mistress to the Crown, by Isolde Martyn you can do so here…

Join us:   Facebook  and  Twitter
Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

Subscribe to TBYL News: All Things Bookish… out monthly!

Out Now! TBYL News: All Things Bookish February 2013

A fun edition of TBYL News: All Things Bookish… this month – competitions, handmade goodies and great events to start off the year!

navel gazingTBYL News is a great way to catch up on recent reviews, upcoming news and words from my lovely special guests. This month you’ll find lots of chances to win great books, and an introduction to a new friend.

Click here to read TBYL News: All Things Bookish… February 2013

If you’d like to subscribe to the newsletter, you can click here. This’ll mean that you get our monthly news by email, on the first Monday of the month. Perfect!

Join us:   Facebook  and  Twitter
Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

A delicious story: The Storyteller’s Daughter

I’m thrilled to be able to welcome our newest TBYL Reviewer to the team – the amazing Carolyn Jones! Welcome Carolyn, I can’t wait to share your wonderful reviews!

Over the summer break, Carolyn read The Storyteller’s Daughter, by Maria Goodin (Allen and Unwin) and kindly shares her thoughts on it today…


storyteller's daughterThe Storyteller’s Daughter is a tale of a young and intelligent woman who suddenly leaves her ordered life and promising career as a geneticist to look after her sick Mother.  Meg May believes her mother to be crazy, largely due to that fact that she has always avoided answering direct questions, rather replacing factual answers with a wonderful, imaginative concoction of make-believe centred around food; Val’s favourite thing in the world.  As a result, all that Meg remembers from her early childhood is a mixture of stories created by Val.

“She was always such a sweet girl. When she was little she was so sweet I used to dip her toes in my tea. It saved me a fortune on buying sugar. I used to lend her out to the neighbours. ‘Don’t bother buying sugar,’ I used to tell them, ‘my daughter’s the sweetest thing around and she doesn’t rot your teeth.’”

I found it hard, in the beginning, to warm to Meg while she distanced herself from her mother’s creativity and focussed on the factual. However, Maria Goodin develops this character gently so that I was able to find a place in my heart for her.  If you want to make the perfect sponge cake you need to prepare the batter carefully for it rise.  Meg’s memory is peppered with holes and she wants more than anything to fill those gaps.  So much so that she feels she has to grow up well before her time and to become the parent to her fantastical and eccentric mother.  Throughout the novel Meg takes a journey of discovery, learning about her past and interestingly, surrounding herself with others who prefer make-believe over concrete and scientific evidence.

The other characters this novel serves up all have a tale to tell, some factual and others mythological, but all delightful for the reader to immerse themselves in.

Upon starting The Storyteller’s Daughter, I must admit, I thought I knew where the narrative was going, following a recipe of a strained mother-daughter relationship.  How wrong could I be?!  Even though Val makes up stories to hide behind her own past, the reader can’t help but be intrigued by her colourful accounts.  The stories are delicious and I could imagine how cosy it would be to sit by the Aga in Val’s kitchen, with the aromas of baking buttery pastries, sipping on a cup of tea and tasting her famous raspberry tartlets all the while savouring exotic tales of a beautiful time and relationship between mother and daughter.

I really enjoyed this book, it allows the reader to conjure up images of delectable treats, baked goods, abundant vegetable gardens, orchards and a delightful English cottage, all in order to tell a story of two people facing their past and present.  I was moved to the point of tears at times as Val and Meg learn what it means to truly love someone.  Some elements of the story made me laugh but it was the unexpected outcomes that made more of an impact.  The Storyteller’s Daughter was a great holiday read and it left me feeling satisfied, just like one does after an afternoon of eating (including dessert).


You can find out more about Maria Goodin’s The Storyteller’s Daughter here…

Join us:   Facebook  and  Twitter
Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

Subscribe to TBYL News: All Things Bookish… out monthly!

Discovering a Legacy: One Mountain Away

It seems most of the TBYL team have had a chance to do a little reading and writing over the break! Kathy P has been enjoying a very touching story in One Mountain Away, by Emilie Richards (Harlequin). Here’s what she thought of it…


One Mountain AwayOne Mountain Away is the story of Charlotte Hale, a woman who seemingly has it all.  She’s rich, the CEO of the company she built from scratch and people in her community almost fear her power.  But she is also isolated, from her family and from her friends.  She is divorced and hasn’t seen or spoken to her daughter in ten years, not since the birth of her grand-daughter. She’s never met her own grand-daughter.

Charlotte is dying and wants to mend some of the bridges in her life…

One terrifying day, facing her own mortality, she realises that her ambition has almost destroyed her chance at happiness. So Charlotte vows to make amends, not simply with her considerable wealth, but by offering a hand instead of a handout. Putting in hours and energy instead of putting in an appearance. Opening her home and heart instead of her wallet.

With each wrenching, exhilarating decision, Charlotte finds that climbing a new mountain — one built on friendship, love and forgiveness — will teach her what it truly means to build a legacy.

Emilie Richards weaves her story with clever use of characters, enabling the reader to see the story from everyone’s viewpoint.   Each chapter is told from a different character’s perspective and from Charlotte’s newly started ‘First Day Journal’.

Charlotte’s journal tells us of her history and in turn provides us with an understanding of who she is and where she’s come from.   Cleverly, Richards doesn’t just offer up a usual storyline, rather, this is the story of one woman discovering what her legacy should be.  It is very much a spiritual journey.

One Mountain Away is a fantastic holiday read.  It will envelop you and give you something to think about in your own life without being too heavy or hard going.


If you’d like to find out more about One Mountain Away, by Emilie Richards, you can visit here…