Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews -#FamilySaga Judith Barrow, #History Mike Biles, #PsychologicalThriller Lucinda E. Clarke

Welcome to the first of the cafe updates this week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author is Judith Barrow with a review for her compelling family drama and another book that I can recommendThe Memory.

About the book

Mother and daughter tied together by shame and secrecy, love and hate.

I wait by the bed. I move into her line of vision and it’s as though we’re watching one another, my mother and me; two women – trapped.

Today has been a long time coming. Irene sits at her mother’s side waiting for the right moment, for the point at which she will know she is doing the right thing by Rose.

Rose was Irene’s little sister, an unwanted embarrassment to their mother Lilian but a treasure to Irene. Rose died thirty years ago, when she was eight, and nobody has talked about the circumstances of her death since. But Irene knows what she saw. Over the course of 24 hours their moving and tragic story is revealed – a story of love and duty, betrayal and loss – as Irene rediscovers the past and finds hope for the future.

The new novel from the bestselling author of the Howarth family saga

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Irene is delighted when she finds out her parents are expecting, and when they bring home a beautiful little girl she falls in love instantly. But she doesn’t understand why her Mum doesn’t feel the same and doesn’t want anything to do with her…… She realises her sister is special, and later finds out that she has Down’s Syndrome. Only strengthening the love she has for, Irene has an unbreakable bond with Rose and will protect her above all else. Until she passes away at the age of 8….and Irene believes there is more to it than she is being told.

Left devastated Irene moves on with her life as best as she can with plenty of ups and downs, and eventually ends up back home caring for her Mum. Having kept a secret since the day Rose died, Irene faces up to what she feels she must do to put things right. Stressed, overwhelmed and tired, the only question is will Irene go ahead with her plans……

The Memory was so moving, it actually had me in tears at one point. Told from Irene’s viewpoint, we experience 24 hours with her as she’s at home caring for her challenging Mum who is suffering with dementia. But at the same time she takes us back through her memories of her childhood and life; when she meets her little sister, the bond they have, her death and the challenges that follow for Irene as an adult.

I was so invested in Irene and honestly felt like I was reading someone’s real life memoirs. Irene loved her sister so much and would have done anything for her. We go through the tragic loss with her and it’s heart breaking. As Irene grows she ends up sacrificing her own desires to care for others, something that constantly seems to happen through her life. When she seems to be able to move on with her life, something else crops up. The poor woman is so selfless, and goes through so much. You can’t help but empathise with her and wish you could give her a massive big hug!

I fell in love with Rose instantly. An adorable little character who’s end I was devastated by. Sam is a real gentleman although I could have given him a bit of a boot a few times! And then we have Irene’s Mum, Lil…….this woman brought out every emotion in me. I was angry with her, disgusted, sad and shocked. She says and does some terrible things, but isn’t always what she seems……And I loved Nanna……

The Memory is a truly emotive and heart wrenching novel covering sisterly bonds, family, secrets, betrayal, loss and ultimate sacrifice. I didn’t want to put it down. Highly recommended by me.

Read the reviews and buy the book : Amazon UK

AndAmazon US

Also by Judith Barrow

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Judith: Goodreads

Connect to Judith via her blog: Judith Barrow

The next author with a recent review is Mike Biles for his history of Britain that I can also highly recommend.. A Bit About Britain’s History.

About A Bit about Britain’s History: From a long time ago to quite recently.

Could this short, elegant, volume be the only book on British history you’ll ever need?

A Bit About Britain’s History is for anyone who wants a serious, yet light, introduction to Britain’s amazing story. If you don’t know the basics, or would like a reminder, this book is for you. It is also perfect for those that didn’t enjoy history at school, but who have suddenly realised they’d like to understand it a bit better now.

What did the Romans achieve? How did Christianity arrive? Who are the English and why did they fight the French so often? What is Henry VIII’s greatest legacy? When did democracy start and people get the vote? Why on earth did Britain get involved in WW1?

Organised clearly and chronologically, A Bit About Britain’s History covers every period from a long time ago until quite recently. It begins by briefly mentioning that the place was once inhabited by extremely large lizards, and ends up with a post-war 20th century consumer society. Brief articles explain the essential aspects of Britain’s past, including how the ancestors of its current inhabitants arrived, how they fought each other, formed nations, fell out over religion, acquired a large empire, became gradually more democratic, helped win a couple of world wars and were left wondering what to do next. At the end of the book are detailed timelines for each period, which provide useful reference and make fascinating reading in their own right.

A Bit About Britain’s History might be the only book on British history you’ll ever need; or it might be your stepping stone to more in-depth academic reading

One of the recent reviews for the book

Denise G. McGee 5.0 out of 5 stars A great way to learn more about the history of Britain  Reviewed in the United States on May 22, 2020

I thoroughly enjoyed reading “A Bit About Britain’s History.” While history has always fascinated me, too many non-fiction books about history tend to be exceedingly dry. This book was very informative and entertaining and didn’t put me to sleep. I’m American, and more than a bit of an Anglophile, so this book was right up my alley. I’ve been following Mike’s blog for several years now, and am delighted that he has a published book. I’m very much looking forward to the second installment!

Read the reviews and buy the book : Amazon UK

And on Amazon US: Amazon US

Follow Mike on : Goodreads

Connect to Mike via his blog: Bit About Britain

The final author today is Lucinda E. Clarke with a recent review for her latest release A Year in the Life of Andrea Coe: A Psychological Thriller (In the life of …. Book 2)

About the book

Andrea was Leah’s best friend. A strange attraction between a wild, confident, fun-loving, widow and a quiet, insecure housewife.

But Leah’s gentle and loving nature hide the depths of an underlying iron-hard mental strength. After surviving her vicious husband’s terrifying games and the mental asylum he committed her to, Leah’s only desire now is for a life of peace with her new partner, and her best friend, Andrea. What could possibly go wrong?

Plenty, as it turns out. With her husband now on the run from a mob hitman, and his family each hiding their own secrets, they are prepared to go to any lengths to finish what they started three years ago. Will they succeed this time?

Leah knew the only person she could rely on was Andrea.

This is book two in the series and answers all the questions raised in Book 1: A Year In The Life of Leah Brand.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Tom 5.0 out of 5 stars Keep your enemies closer …  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 May 2020

A superb sequel to ‘A Year in the Life of Leah Brand’. Yes, this is Andrea’s story but a key component is her best friend, Leah. This tale has been well-constructed to develop and highlight every aspect of Andrea’s life, but it also refreshes readers’ memories about how fragile Leah is psychologically and how she interacts with other people.

In monthly increments, we are introduced to a level of promises, lies, deceit and artificial support normally only found in political election campaigns. Apart from the monthly episodes, the chapters are presented in the point of view of the main individual characters. I believe this increases the depth of the intrigue and suspense rather than diluting it.

The characterisation is produced to the author’s usual high standard, so although the supporting characters do not all have personal chapters they are still well-developed and earn their places in this excellent tale of relationships, need and greed.

There may be readers who would like to see this become a trilogy, which, if the author wished, it could be, but if left as Leah’s year and Andrea’s year, the two books are fine entertainment.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Lucinda E.Clarke

Read the reviews and buy the books:  Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Lucinda: Goodreads

Connect to Lucinda via her blog: WordPress Lucinda E. Clarke

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books under your arm.. thanks Sally.


33 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews -#FamilySaga Judith Barrow, #History Mike Biles, #PsychologicalThriller Lucinda E. Clarke

  1. Judith’s The Memory is a 5* read from start to surprising finish. I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking for a moving and gripping tale of family dynamics.
    Just read the opening pages of A Bit of Britain’s History and am sorely tempted to buy it.
    As for Lucinda – I’ve just read her author blurb on Goodreads and that makes for fascinating reading on its own!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Reblogged this on Judith Barrow and commented:
    Sally has, yet again, included me in her cafe updates, the first for this week with her recent reviews for authors on the shelves post. Many thank, Sally, thrilled to be included with Lucinda and Mike. Must check out their books. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Three wonderful authors today. I’m almost finished Judith’s blockbuster of the familial kind and have full intentions of getting into Lucinda’s books as well as Mike’s British history. Congrats to all for wonderful reviews. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 14th -20th June 2020 – Outsmarting the Crows, D.G. Kaye and Relationships, USA 1985, Books, Authors, Music and Funnies. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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