Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – Joan O’Hagan, John W. Howell and Jacquie Biggar

The first book today that I am featuring is by Joan O’Hagan who passed away in 2014. She wrote highly successful books in the 1080s and 1990s which have been re-released by her daughter Denise who tells us about her work. Then a look at Jerome & His Women published by her daughter in 2015.

Hi, I’m Denise, editor and daughter of the author. I’ve edited many books, but tackling my mother’s manuscripts was the most challenging of all, not least because of her temperamental nature. Her first book was published when I was a teenager and, used to the persistent click-clack of typewriter keys, I thought nothing of it. It was only later, wearing my ‘editorial’ hat, that I came to appreciate her accomplishments. The writing process was harder and less forgiving then – no cut-and-paste or control ‘z’, so if you made a mistake you had to retype the page, or chapter. I sometimes wonder if the rigour involved in this style of writing obliges us to think more clearly in the first place…

About Jerome & His Women

Rome, 382 AD. The Empire is fragile, the pagan beliefs that sustained it are fading. One man stirs up controversy like no other – Jerome.

When the Pontiff, Damasus I, commissions Jerome to translate the Bible into Latin, it is a political masterstroke. Jerome’s Vulgate displaces the many alternative biblical texts and is the quintessence of Christianity as a world religion, with Rome at its centre. He is assisted by a circle of aristocratic, educated women who risk their lives in the pursuit of their ideals. Chief among them is the attractive young widow Paula, who is as devoted to Jerome as she is to his cause. Rumours soon circulate as his enemies try to dispose of him once and for all…

Joan O’Hagan was a crime writer, and author of the internationally acclaimed A Roman Death. Thanks to meticulous research, a wicked imagination, and over thirty years of living in Rome, she breathes new life into an ancient saint and his world, drawing us irresistibly into a highly-charged life of danger and intrigue, while reminding us to question our own values.

One of the reviews for the book

The NSW Writers’ Centre: By Robert Fairhead:

“O’Hagan’s fifth and last novel, ​Jerome & His Women​ (2015), is set in Ancient Rome, at the end of the fourth century AD. It is a time of upheaval for the Roman Empire, with internal rioting and external threats, and pagan beliefs and gods giving way to the spread of Christianity and the worship of a new, monotheistic God.

“The Pontiff, Damasus I, commissions Jerome, a priest and foremost theologian and scholar, to translate the Bible from Greek texts into a single definitive Latin version. While he has the Pontiff’s favour, and is even rumoured to be a possible successor to Damasus, Jerome is deeply unpopular with others in the Church hierarchy and Roman aristocracy …

“That’s the twin gift of ​Jerome & His Women​: it is an insight into extraordinary times and people, and into a talented researcher and writer.”

Also by Joan O’Hagan

Read the reviews and buy the books:

Amazon UK:

Read more reviews on Joan O’Hagan’s author website:

And Black Quill Press:

The next author to update and to share as a reminder of a great gift for Christmas is John W. Howell with Circumstances of Childhood which I am currently reading… and enjoying too.

About Circumstances of Childhood.

When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?

Greg and his boyhood pal dreamed of big success in professional football and then later in business. Greg was the only one to live the dream. Now the founder of an investment fund Greg is faced with a routine audit finding by the SEC. The audit points to irregularities and all the tracks lead to Greg. The justice department hits him with an indictment of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. His firm goes bust, and Greg is on his own.

His best friend knows he is innocent but has been ordered under penalty of eternal damnation not to help.

If you enjoy stories of riches to rags, redemption, brotherly love, and a little of the paranormal, Circumstance of Childhood will keep you riveted.

One of the recent reviews for the book

on November 18, 2017

It’s always a pleasure to read a novel written by John Howell. He has a way of mixing action, thriller level excitement, real world politics, intelligent discourse and detail (much of which feels ripped presciently from today’s headlines), all wrapped up in believable, relatable, and importantly – likeable – characters. And it’s all his own – the John Howell style – immediate, engrossing and always great fun.

This time the author notes some autobiographical parts, and an homage to great friendships. And this is what surrounds the novel – a great, true friendship from life and beyond life, adding a paranormal element that is warming and comforting rather than frightening or strange. It is a testament to John’s writing skill that you accept the supernatural premise immediately and naturally. Of course such a strong friendship, which is more like a family tie than just companionship – of course it survives even death. And of course it becomes a guarding angel over the thrilling ups and downs of the narrative itself.

There is pain here – a relationship ending which you partly see coming from sad, well placed clues but you hope against hope will not happen. And when it does you feel right alongside the main character. But also you are warmed by his strength and an innate goodness that I always believe would be true of the author . This flows from his writing and its generous spirit, and it lives in the characters as well.

I thoroughly recommend this novel. It is exciting, heartwarming and also spiritually affirming (without you having any particular religious or spiritual affiliation). It gives you faith and hope in something greater than that – and simpler: faith in a little thing called love.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And on Amazon UK:

Also by John W. Howell.

Buy all of the John Cannon Series and find our more about John W. Howell:

and on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow John on Goodreads:

Connect to John via his website:

And since we are officially in the countdown to Christmas now I am sharing a festive romance by Jacquie Biggar… Silver Bells.

About Silver Bells

Will a Christmas wish give a lonely author a family? A heartwarming, passionate story of true love.

Mystery writer, Joel Carpenter, has no time for romance. He has a deadline to meet, and too many skeletons in his closet to trust the slightly spinny artist renting his house.

Christy Taylor has her hands full dealing with an ailing business and a diabetic daughter, she doesn’t need the temptation that is her landlord, Joel Carpenter.

Can a Christmas wish bring two stubborn souls together and give a little girl the gift she wants most? A delightful mixture of women’s fiction, chick-lit, and romantic comedy, Silver Bells has something for every reader.

One of the excellent reviews for the book

SILVER BELLS: A Holiday Romance by Jacquie Biggar is a holiday novella that was sweet and easily read in one sitting curled up on the couch while the weather outside is frightful.
Joel Campbell, award winning mystery writer, has moved from Scotland to Vancover Island. He wants to be closer to his grandmother and hopes the change will get him over his writers’ block. Hating his fame, he has walled off his heart, become gruff and hates anyone interrupting him and yet, he is lonely.

Christy Taylor is an artist who has started her own shop attached to her rented home. Her life cannot be more hectic. She is attempting to grow her clientele, while caring for her small daughter, Jill, who has been diagnosed with Type 1, Juvenile diabetes. Christy is a great mother, but her divorce and her exes attitude toward their daughter has made her distrustful of any help from any man.

These two need to open up their hearts and learn to trust again before it is too late.
This novella is an enjoyable and quick read. I loved the characters in this short read, but being short, I felt some of the character development was lost. Jill was adorable and her disease was handle extremely well. I also feel this novella was not really a Christmas story, just a winter setting. That said, still a good heartfelt novella for a cold winter day.

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

and Amazon UK:

A selection of of other books by Jacquie Biggar

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And at Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Jacquie Biggar on Goodreads:

Connect to Jacquie via her website:

I hope this has given you some ideas for gifts for Christmas.. thanks for dropping in  Sally.

This entry was posted in Book Promotion by Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.. Bookmark the permalink.

About Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

My name is Sally Cronin and I am doing what I love.. Writing. Books, short stories, Haiku and blog posts. . I move between non-fiction health books and posts and fairy stories, romance and humour. I love variety which is why I called my blog Smorgasbord Invitation and you will find a wide range of subjects. Free Book Marketing, Music, Health, Book Reviews, Short Stories, Poetry and Humour. Find out more at

35 thoughts on “Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – Joan O’Hagan, John W. Howell and Jacquie Biggar

  1. Pingback: Sally’s Christmas Book Fair – Joan O’Hagan. John W. Howell. Jacquie Biggar. – The Militant Negro™

  2. Pingback: Christmas Book Fair featuring Joan O’Hagan, John W. Howell and Jacquie Biggar | Annette Rochelle Aben

  3. Pingback: Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – Joan O’Hagan, John W. Howell and Jacquie Biggar | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  4. Three great books Sally. I must admit Jerome and his women sounds exactly my type of read Thank you for introducing me to the author. Off to check it out now. PX


  5. Great selection of books and authors here, Sally! It was nice learning about Joan through her daughter, Denise. “Jerome and His Women” reads fascinating. I’m a huge fan of John Howell and I look forward to reading his new book. 😀 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Christmas Trees, Abba, Santa’s wish list and Potatoes… | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

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