Title: Things a Bright Girl Can Do

Author: Sally Nicholls

Pages: 432 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.

Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women’s freedom.

May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who’s grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.

But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?

The Review

Things a Bright Girl Can Do looks at the suffragette movement from three different perspectives and at what girls in that period of post-Victorian change would do to get equality. It is still a fight that we are striving for today but it is interesting to look at a fictional account of what suffrage meant during its hey-day.

We get to look at how the different classes were affected by the need for equal rights and how even with the onset of the Women’s Vote some people were still excluded. We see it from the perspective of a well-to-do young lady whose desperate need to fight the cause ended up with a prison sentence and a hunger strike. We see the Sapphic love between two girls from different classes, and we see how they both want the same thing when it comes to freedom and rights but how they both try to achieve it in different ways.

Things a Bright Girl Can Do is an interesting read and one that still holds relevance in modern society where the battle for total equality is still happening.

Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls is available now.

For more information regarding Sally Nicholls (@Sally_Nicholls) please visit www.sallynicholls.com.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton

Author: Anstey Harris

Pages: 330 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

GRACE ATHERTON HAS FALLEN OUT OF LOVE … AND INTO LIFE

Between the simple melody of running her violin shop and the full-blown orchestra of her romantic interludes in Paris with David, her devoted partner of eight years, Grace Atherton has always set her life to music.

Her world revolves entirely around David, for Grace’s own secrets have kept everyone else at bay. Until, suddenly and shockingly, one act tips Grace’s life upside down, and the music seems to stop.

It takes a vivacious old man and a straight-talking teenager to kickstart a new chapter for Grace. In the process, she learns that she is not as alone in the world as she had once thought, that no mistake is insurmountable, and that the quiet moments in life can be something to shout about …

The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton is the story of a woman who has her heart broken, but then puts it back together again in the most uplifting and exquisite way.

The Review

Before I start this review, I must thank Sara Jane at Books and the City for sending me a physical copy of this book to review.

Grace Atherton. What can I say about Grace Atherton? Well, she is a quiet thing who lives a seemingly quiet life but underneath her exterior façade lives a young woman with infinite adventure in her life. She has a dramatic relationship with an older man, she is an accomplished cellist, a shop owner and she is a friend two others.

Dig deeper and you find that her quiet little existence is not so quiet at all.

I really don’t want to give too much away about The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton because it is a damn good read and so it would be unfair to leak any spoilers before you pick it up. What I will say is that one of my favourite things about this novel was the multigenerational friendships that prove to be the heart of the story. You have the fiestiness of youth and the wisdom of age with Grace firmly plonked in the middle. I think it is this element which I enjoyed the most.

The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton has the potential to be as loved as Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. It is a heart-warming and engaging story that will make you want to find out what has happened but equally to not want it to ever end.

The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton by Anstey Harris is available now.

For more information regarding Anstey Harris (@Anstey_Harris) please visit www.ansteyharris.com.

For more information regarding Simon & Schuster (@simonschusterUK) please visit www.simonandschuster.co.uk.

Title: A Gift from the Comfort Food Café

Author: Debbie Johnson

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Harper Impulse

The Blurb

Christmas has never been Katie Seddon’s favourite time of year. Whilst everyone else shares memories of families coming together and festive number ones, the soundtrack to Katie’s childhood wasn’t quite so merry.

But since she moved to the village of Budbury on the gorgeous Dorset coast, Katie and her baby son have found a new family. A family who have been brought together by life’s unexpected roads and the healing magic of a slice of cake and a cupful of kindess at the Comfort Food Café.

This year, Katie’s new friends are determined to give her a Christmas to remember, and with a gorgeous newcomer in town, Katie’s Christmas wish for a happy home for her son might just come true.

The Review

I love the frequent visits to Budbury. This time it is through the eyes of Katie. Katie has been somewhat of a mystery in the Comfort Food Café series. A bit reclusive, keeping herself and her young son out of arms length but now we get to see why.

As we watch Katie unfold and start to appreciate the closeness of the regulars of the café we get to understand exactly what made her this way to begin with. You constantly shout at her to keep those arms open and accept everyone’s metaphorical hugs because you get the sense that one bad move and Katie will be out of Budbury asap.

I genuinely love the Comfort Food Café series. I eagerly anticipate each new release and I am not ashamed to admit that I pre-order them and count down the days until each new story will be with me. If that is not a big enough reason to buy and read and love each of these books then I really don’t know what is.

A Gift from the Comfort Food Café by Debbie Johnson is available now.

For more information regarding Debbie Johnson (@debbiemjohnson) please visit www.debbiejohnsonauthor.com.

For more information regarding Harper Impulse (@HarperImpulse) please visit www.harperimpulse.com.

Title: Look at Me

Author: Sarah Deguid

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Headline/Tinder Press

The Blurb

Lizzy’s mother died two years ago, leaving a family bereft by her absence and a house still filled with her things. Then, one day, Lizzy finds a letter from a stranger to her father, and discovers he has another child. Lizzy invites her into their world in an act of outraged defiance. Almost immediately, she realises her mistake.

The Review

Ok, so this is a confusing one for me. I wasn’t necessarily a huge fan of Look at Me but it is undeniable that the writing was good. I say this because Sarah Deguid genuinely managed to creep me out. Her story telling was exceptional in the sense that the character driven tale was really engaging and you felt Lizzy’s discomfort so fervently that it could quite easily be your own discomfort. So whilst I say I didn’t like the book it was not because it wasn’t good but I was so uncomfortable that it made me not like it which in my view is the sign of good writing.

Sorry Sarah Deguid, I didn’t like your book but in the most positive way.

Look at Me by Sarah Deguid is available now.

For more information regarding Tinder Press (@TinderPress) please visit www.tinderpress.co.uk.

For more information regarding Headline (@headlinepg) please visit www.headline.co.uk.

Title: Get Back

Author: Donovan Day

Pages: 270 Pages

Publisher: Park Slope Publishing

The Blurb

Imagine going back in time and befriending The Beatles at the height of their fame. Imagine seeing “the boys” interact onstage and off, hanging out with them in the dance clubs of London, visiting John & Paul at Paul’s house across from Abbey Road Studios.

Imagine all the questions they’d ask when they learn you’re from the future – questions about how music is recorded, whether their music will last, if anyone will people remember The Beatles. And then John Lennon asks the biggest question of them all – “What will become of me?”

That last question sets 17-year-old Lenny Funk off on the adventure of his young life with a goal that seems impossible – to stop John Lennon’s assassin, Mark David Chapman!

Lenny Funk (given name: Lennon) is able to time travel thanks in part to his grandfather’s old iPod Nano which is loaded with classic music from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Together with new friend Yoko (yes, she’s named after that Yoko), Lenny “time slips” backwards to a world he thought he’d missed where he meets some of his musical heroes, including the Beatles, Jim Morrison and James Taylor, among others.

Lenny must make some difficult and heart-breaking decisions. Should he change the course of history or not? And what are the consequences if he does? Would John reunite with Paul? Would he remain married to Yoko and, if not, who would be his next wife?

The year 2015 marks what would have been John Lennon’s 75th birthday and also the 35th year since his murder.

The Review

I love The Beatles. As a Liverpudlian – born and bred – I find books that are about the fab four to be really entertaining and I guess I find it titillating when my hometown is referenced. Alongside those reasons, I also thought the concept of Get Back by Donovan Day sounded interesting.

If you could go back in time and save someone, would you?

It is a question that people get asked but usually it is Hitler put as the subject of the question. Would you kill Hitler if you had the chance? Get Back is less dark that that, it is asking if you had the chance to save John Lennon, would you?

Most people would say, yeah sure, why not. It makes sense to do a good deed but like all classic time travel stories, by altering the present you create a ripple in the time space continuum that will impact on the real present day.

It is delicious time travel headache inducing science.

Either way, Get Back is a great story. I loved going back in time and seeing musicians that I know and love and sing along to and getting to imagine what they would be like on a more personal level was great.

What I loved most about Get Back is that Day did not make a cliché out of the fab four. The colloquial vernacular was great. As a scouser, I hate it when writers overwrite the way we speak. Day got the balance right.

Get Back by Donovan Day is available now.

For more information regarding Park Slope Publishing (@parkslopepub) please visit www.parkslopepublishing.com/books/