Book Reviews

Harry Riley’s Book Review of Whittington Manor :

I must confess I don’t read a lot of romantic fiction, being more of a blood and gore man myself, but I was intrigued by the book-cover, illustrating a beautiful manor house. Now, this was something I could get my teeth into! Like many people, visiting stately homes and gardens over the last two decades, has been one of my abiding passions. In addition to this, I do have a fascination for stories relating to World War Two, and from the very first page I was hooked. I don’t know how you could not like this all-too-short, glimpse into troubled times.

I’m still a little baffled as to why the story had such a pull on me, but the simplicity of line and style made the chapters fly by, for a very easy read.

The storyline concerns Sarah, a rich girl with the admirable ambition to become a nurse, and Joe, a young boy from a poor family. Their social and domestic situations could not be more different and they meet at a time when the whole world is in turmoil. Very soon Joe is whisked off to do his duty as a soldier and their unofficial engagement-to-be-married, has to be put on indefinite hold.

The girl is attractive and Laura (Sarah’s mother) has high hopes that one day her protected and naïve daughter will find someone of their own class to marry and live the kind of life she was raised to pursue.

As the saying goes: ‘into every life a little rain must fall’ and it seems Sarah is destined to get more than her share.

Without wishing to give too much away, a more eligible and charming hunter (from the mother’s perspective) is very soon on the scent of this pretty butterfly and his net is swiftly closing in on the unsuspecting prey. The storm clouds are gathering.

A heavily bombed Portsmouth is the backdrop to this wartime romance, giving the reader a real taste of those dark, anxious days, from the comfort of an armchair.

I would be surprised if this well-crafted and enjoyable tale does not make a sudden leap nationwide, especially if it reaches our television screens!


Review for The Ghost of Bluebell Cottage by Amazon Reader

I have read other work by this author and enjoyed all of it, but this is my favourite book from her so far. (I do hope there is more to come!). Writing about ghosts and all things paranormal is not, I think, all that easy. Many people have many different views on whether we might, or might not, have an after-life, or even a past life. I am, like most I reckon, very open-minded about the subject. Who really knows what happens when we shuffle away from this mortal coil? and who really knows whether we actually used to be someone else? Who knows when dreams are just that, dreams? Do we dream something that is going to come true, was once true, or merely just a jumbled mix of thoughts? The author tackled this, I thought, very well. It was all very plausible, and I could see many people having similar experiences to report on that the main characters in the story had. The story itself I found to be most enthralling, with the characters well formed as the story got going, and the plot thickening nicely. The parts of the story where the reader is taken back a few hundred years worked very well indeed, I thought. I was gripped as the plot took several twists and turns, none of which I will reveal, but suffice to say I enjoyed this charming story very much indeed, and would not hesitate to recommend it. Well done Claire Voet!


Review for Whittington Manor II – The Poppy Sunset by Amazon Reader

This book is another triumph for this talented and versatile writer. I have been continually impressed by Claire Voet’s books, with her ability to form a solid base for the story she wants to tell. She introduces us to the main characters, lets the reader get to know them gradually, while thickening the plot of the story. This story is a follow up to Whittington Manor, as the title would suggest, so I would recommend that the earlier one is read first. However, even without doing so this is a marvellous story in it’s own right. The war is over, the country is slowly being rebuilt, as are the lives of so many who had their world ripped apart by six years of the most terrible carnage our planet has ever known. There was, quite obviously, much hope and optimism in those early years of rebuilding, though not everybody had the same goals, as this story covers very well. As Joe and Sarah pick up the pieces of their lives, with a baby on the way and Joe beginning a new career, everything appears to be going quite well for them. But things do not go quite to plan as an unexpected, and ultimately unwelcome, visitor to Whittington Manor threatens to ruin everything for them. A gripping tale follows. I will not give any of the plot away, but suffice to say what follows covers many of the traits, faults and, happily, the good points of human behaviour. Greed, jealousy, deceit, love; strap yourself in for a roller-coaster ride of emotions. An excellent book that I heartily recommend.



Review of The Other Daddy – A World Away by Amazon reader:

This is a great read. It grabbed me by the coat tails, and I found it really hard to put down. I loved the twists and turns of the story, and how the characters interact with each other. The sensitive way in which Claire Voet manages the character of Callum is exemplary. You can’t help but put yourself into his shoes. His misery at not being able to make the grown-up understand what he doesn’t fully understand himself is heart wrenching.
I like the way Claire weaves in the two distinct timelines, 2003/2011. Alternating very cleverly between the two. Dialectical speech is handled really well when the action takes place on Eday. If you read it as it is written, the dialogue really sounds Scottish, it’s amazing; it gives a real sense of place.
There is also the back story of the two married couples, Amy’s parents, and Callum’s parents. Confusing times for children, and a sensitive understanding of how children would react in the circumstances in which they find themselves.
I was initially drawn to this book because it takes place, for the most part, in an area of the UK where I live. As I got past the first few pages it was evident that I was going to be drawn right into the heart of the book, and thereby find it enormously difficult to put down. When I was nearing the end, I thought that I had worked out the final outcome, almost, but not quite. The twists and turns in the last few chapters kept me on my toes, and I would never have guessed the ending.
I gave this book 5 stars because it is an engrossing read, with no loose ends.
BUY it! Read it! And you will know exactly what I mean.

Review of The Other Daddy – A World Away by Fiona Wilson Book Reviews:

This book was a great read for me. It had murder, mystery, and rather a lot of paranormal activity within its pages.

The story jumps back and forward from a double disappearance on a small Scottish island to a young boy, 7 years later, who starts behaving strangely and talking about things which can’t possibly be true. Or are they?

We also meet a team of paranormal investigators who attempt to decipher what is going on with Callum, the young boy. The team themselves have problems, and we learn a lot more about them throughout the story.

Callum is a great character. Being so young he can’t properly explain things to his peers, and he struggles a lot because he can’t understand what is happening to him, and also can’t communicate this properly to the adults around him. A child’s view of life is totally different to an adults, and the author captures this perfectly in the story.

I knew the 2 stories were intertwined together in some way, but I honestly didn’t guess exactly how that would be. When it was finally revealed it was a twist I didn’t see coming.

All the way through this book I was imagining it on TV. The story would be so well suited to becoming a short drama series, and I hope the author takes that into consideration as she would definitely have a fan in me!

All in all a very welcome change to my recent reading material. A book I would definitely recommend to anyone who likes a bit of murder mystery, with a paranormal twist.

More reviews available on Amazon and Good Reads.

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