Book Review: Never Forget Me by Marguerite Kaye

I was given an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review. My version has the UK cover with the heroine wearing a gorgeous red coat – in my head it’s the characters Sheila and Luc!  Unfortunately I don’t have an image available to post of the cover here yet.

I always knew that this book would be an emotive read by its very subject it has to be. Marguerite Kaye has managed to do this and to show us the horrors of war without it being a history lesson or over dwelling on the horrors – oh they are there and they are done well – but these three stories are romances after all.

The three interlinked stories are: A Kiss Goodbye from 1914 which begins ‘our’ war in 1914 with Flora a young lady from the great house who meets the hero Geraint when he arrives with the army after her family’s home is requisitioned. I was very happy to see the hero’s surname and you’ll have to ask me if you want to know why! I enjoyed all of the stories, but this one is my least favourite I think. Perhaps as I was almost anticipating how awful the war would get before the stories concluded and although I liked Flora and Geraint I felt I connected more the the later couples and their struggles. Flora in this story has to find her own place in this terrible new world as a nurse or VAD and Geraint has to come to terms with his past and decide upon his future – if they have one. This story is all set in Scotland.

The second part is Dearest Sylvie, and picks up with the hero Robbie, Flora’s brother as he serves in France and meets his heroine Sylvie in 1916 at the peak of a series of now infamous battles across Europe. Sylvie is working in a bar to support herself but is by no means selling herself if you know what I mean. Her actions when meeting a tired and wounded Robbie are therefore more unexpected. After connecting at the bar they subsequently begin a sexual relationship that neither expected or really knows what to do with. Is there more between them or was it a mistake to act upon their attraction in the middle of a war? This story connects us to the hero and heroine by their letters a common practice at the time which is cleverly used to move the story forward as they see and miss each other over a period of time. This story is set in France and the will they/won’t they is very strong as the war rages on. Sylvie has a very tragic past due to the suffering that regions of France had in wartime and Robbie cannot know whether he will even survive the war. I really liked this couple, but my favourite were part of the final story of the three.

Forever With Me takes us full circle to 1918 and after briefly showing us the celebrations of the end of war in Europe via France while Sheila, friend and former servant of Flora and Robbie and Glen Massan House who left early on to become a VAD and has now experienced a taste of freedom that servants let alone women could never have dreamed of meets an attractive man when celebrating the end of the war. This of course turns out to be surgeon Luc who is not only her hero but is destined to run the new hospital at Glen Massan for badly injured soldiers and we are returned to Scotland and not a little awkward. Along with freedom Sheila has had her fingers burned and Luc has lost his wife to the war and is wary of opening his heart too. Should they and could they be together? The war is no longer keeping people apart, but society. Women’s freedom has again become curtailed and even should they want to a relationship between co-workers surely cannot be sanctioned…

I would give the final story 5 stars for the last few pages alone, which are extremely emotionally charged and 4 for the others as all are well and sensitively written and well researched. Don’t be put off by the subject, these are great stories and all of us, even now can still feel the emotional after effects of this terrible war to end all wars. All of the stories contain at least some sensual scenes. Marguerite Kaye takes a tough period in our history and does a great job with it – as she also did with her Titanic set story, which these remind me of a little. You may want to try that story next if you enjoyed these ones.

A copy of this review can also be found on my Goodreads page.

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Book Review: The Couple in the Dream Suite by Marguerite Kaye

This is a short historical novella which is part of the Chatsfield continuity series which I understand the majority of are contemporary. I was given an advance copy by the author in return for an honest review.

I love the period of the 1920s but don’t often read in this period strangely. I’m glad I read this one though – and I also read it around the same time as Marguerite’s WWI trilogy of short stories thus making it an even more emotional experience for me. But I’ll come back to that.

We meet the hero Justin Yorke at the launch of the hotel with his friend Dexter. A journalist, he is hardened yet made vulnerable by his experiences in the war. His friend is about to leave and arranges that Justin meet the heroine Vera Milton-Kerr who is actually part of that night’s entertainment. Vera also has had a life where her experiences are as tragic as Justin’s but a much tougher, brittle exterior.

It turns out that Dexter is leaving for America and as a parting gift to them both he gives them the key to the Dream Suite, the most magnificent room in the hotel. Does Dexter know them better than they know themselves? 

They are interested in each other and certainly attracted but I don’t think either believe that they’ll necessarily use it. But they do – and it’s not all about them going off to have sex, they do become very passionate as are these scenes, but during the night they spend together their secrets and pasts are revealed, including very painful ones and it becomes a distinct possibility that they may even have a future together.

To be honest it was short but rather beautiful and emotional and after reading the love stories set in WWI (which I’ll review next) it seemed like a progression and an overspill of the heightened emotions of those times. Catharsis. 

I really enjoyed this book, though have yet to read any others in the series. I do hope we get to see more of Justin and Vera, and I must try some more of the stories!

I haven’t included a copy of the cover in this review as I thought it was a little dull and didn’t do the story justice.

A copy of this review can also be found on my Goodreads page.

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My Furry Sunbeam

Aka the snuggly Merrick cat.Furry Sunbeam

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Book Review: The Secrets of Ghosts by Sarah Painter

The Secrets of GhostsI received a copy of this ebook via Netgalley from the author in return for an honest review.  I read this book back at the end of February/early March but this is my full review for the blog.

It was great to be back to revisit Katie and Pendleford, but if you’ve already read Sarah Painter’s début – don’t expect it to follow on with the happy endings!

Magic packs a bigger punch in this novel, and life is moving on for all those we revisit, even briefly. Katie, the daughter of Gwen’s sister (the heroine of the first book) has now reached 21, and is working at a local hotel. Her parents with a daughter now grown are pursuing their own lives and we don’t catch up with Gwen and Cam straight away.

Katie has more of a spark than Gwen and is very funny. After her early experiences with magic in the first book she is still waiting to see if she will have any power that comes to the Harper women witches. It is while working at the local hotel that things begin to happen – connected to the ghosts of the title – which makes Katie believe that her power may make itself known at last. The unexpected problem with this is that her Aunt Gwen to whom she has always gone for advice is having problems of her own along with Cam, and Katie feels that she cannot approach her about it.

Max is another great character as Katie’s love interest. He is a very tricky character indeed, but I still felt I liked him immensely and that there was no harm to Katie through him – he was certainly very intriguing! 

Dealing with the ghosts was a nice touch, and there was more to them as there is much, much more to Katie – this I liked very much about the book as there were enough surprises to make it engaging. However, I did not feel I loved it quite so much as Gwen’s story – perhaps because I found Katie slightly less easy to sympathise with though I did not dislike her.

I did enjoy this story, and await any further instalments with interest. Is Katie as powerful as we may think?

A copy of this review can also be found on my Goodreads page.

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The Great Hall at Kildrummy

Kildrummy

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Scone Palace

So the connection to Belle was Scone Palace where her portrait with Lady Elizabeth resides!  It was a last minute surprise and we had a nice picnic there too.

Popped by The House of Dun too which I hadn’t been to for years, love it.Scone

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New Films: Belle

I can’t wait to see this film which opens today.  Apparently it was inspired by a painting that resides in a country house I’ve been to – so I’ve seen it!

There is another reason it is interesting this is coming out now as it coincides with something else I’m hopefully doing next week – so watch this space I shall be back to talk about it later…

Here’s the trailer for those of you that are interested in seeing Belle.  A true story that you couldn’t possibly make up.

YouTube Preview Image

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A Trip to Glasgow

For some art research.  Wouldn’t be complete with a coned Wellington and horse outside GoMA!Glasgow

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An Unexpected Gift

My closest friend is brilliant – not only does she get my whimsical sense of humour, she also knows my love of travel!

I love this so much.

TM

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A Good Fede

…and an excellent opportunity for graveyard photography.

Fede

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