Book Review “A Notable Omission” by Isabella Muir


Historical Mystery. Set in the 70’s

Janie Juke Mystery Book 4

Length : 246

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Outset Publishing Ltd for historical crime and mysteries


A Notable Omission

A 1970s debate on equality is overshadowed by a deadly secret…

Spring 1970. Sussex University is hosting a debate about equality for women. But when one of the debating group goes missing, attention turns away from social injustice to something more sinister.

It seems every one of the group has something to hide, and when a second tragedy occurs, two of the delegates – amateur sleuth Janie Juke, and reporter Libby Frobisher – are prepared to make themselves unpopular to flush out the truth. Who is lying and why?

Alongside the police investigation, Janie and Libby are determined to prise answers from the tight-lipped group, as they find themselves in a race against time to stop another victim being targeted.

In A Notable Omission we meet Janie at the start of a new decade. When we left Janie at the end of The Invisible Case she was enjoying her new found skills and success as an amateur sleuth. Here we meet her a few months later, stealing a few days away from being a wife and mother, attending a local conference on women’s liberation to do some soul-searching…

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The thing that drew me to A notable Omission was the fact that is was set in the 1970’s. I grew up in this decade and it was great reminiscing about the 70’s and ir reminded jus how much fun it was. Isabella Muir brought this decade to life superbly and it really came to life for me.

The characters are all great, each with their own agenda on this weekend in Sussex University discussing women’s’ equality. It absolutely makes you realise just how hard women had to fight for any level of equality. Clem, organiser has a very poor view of men and the establishment. She hates the police and all things relating to them. The two main characters Janie and Libby, I took to straight away. Especially Janie, she really shone out as a great mind who is trying to expand her life beyond being a mother and a wife.

Isabella Muir’s writing style is no nonsense and she has a fabulous way with words that easily recreates the situations so that you, the reader, feel like you are part of it all. You really feel invested in the plot and want to know what exactly has happened to one character and you hope that Janie and Libby can get to the bottom of everything before something else dastardly happens.

I thoroughly enjoyed A Notable Omission and am drawn to Janie Juke so much so that I will be looking out for more escapades with her.

Just a quick aside, this is book 4 of the series but it definitely works as a stand alone.

Author Bio –

Isabella is never happier than when she is immersing herself in the sights, sounds and experiences of family life in southern England in past decades – specifically those years from the Second World War through to the early 1970s. Researching all aspects of life back then has formed the perfect launch pad for her works of fiction. It was during two happy years working on and completing her MA in Professional Writing when Isabella rekindled her love of writing fiction and since then she has gone on to publish seven novels, six novellas and two short story collections.

This latest novel, A Notable Omission, is the fourth book in her successful Sussex Crime Mystery series, featuring young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke. The early books in the series are set in the late 1960s in the fictional seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, where we meet Janie, who looks after the mobile library. She is an avid lover of Agatha Christie stories – in particular Hercule Poirot. Janie uses all she has learned from the Queen of Crime to help solve crimes and mysteries. This latest novel in the series is set along the south coast in Brighton in early 1970, a time when young people were finding their voice and using it to rail against social injustice.

As well as four novels, there are six novellas in the series, set during the Second World War, exploring some of the back story to the Tamarisk Bay characters.

Isabella’s love of Italy shines through all her work and, as she is half-Italian, she has enjoyed bringing all her crime novels to an Italian audience with Italian translations, which are very well received.

Isabella has also written a second series of Sussex Crimes, set in the sixties, featuring retired Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi, who is escaping from tragedy in Rome, only to arrive in the quiet seaside town of Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, to come face-to-face with it once more.

Isabella’s standalone novel, The Forgotten Children, deals with the emotive subject of the child migrants who were sent to Australia – again focusing on family life in the 1960s, when the child migrant policy was still in force.

Find out more about Isabella and her books by visiting her website at:

With Thanks for Advance copy to…..

Rachel Gilbey

Isabella Muir

Outset Publishing limted


Book Review “The Flame Tree” by Siobhan Daiko


The Hong Kong Collection



Length ; 307 pages

Publisher ; Asolando Books (Pub Date 19th Jan 23)


The Flame Tree

Based on a little-known true story, from award-winning author Siobhan Daiko comes a tale of love and survival against all the odds set in Hong Kong at the start of the Pacific War.

In the spring of 1939, dashing young William Burton and the beautiful Constance Han set sail from London on the same ocean liner to Hong Kong.

Romance blossoms while they enjoy games of deck quoits and spend sultry tropical evenings dancing under the stars. Connie is intrigued by Will’s talent for writing poetry, and she offers to give him Cantonese lessons to help him with his new job— a cadet in the colonial service.

But once in Hong Kong, Connie is constrained by filial duty towards her Eurasian parents, and their wish for her to marry someone from her own background. She can’t forget Will however and arranges to meet him in secret under the magnificent canopy of a flame of the forest tree—where she fulfils her promise to teach him to speak Chinese.

Before too long, trouble looms as Japanese forces gather on the border between Hong Kong and mainland China. Will joins a commando group tasked with operating behind enemy lines, and Connie becomes involved in the fight against local fifth columnists.

When war breaks out, they find themselves drawn into a wider conflict than their battle against prejudice. Can they survive and achieve a future together? Or do forces beyond their control keep them forever apart?

Perfect for readers of Dinah Jefferies, Ann Bennett and Victoria Hislop.

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Wow ! Just WOW! What a completely absorbing read The Flame Tree is. I absolutely lapped up every single word. The fact that it is based on a true story made this book all the more emotional for me. Siobhan Daiko really creates a picture in your minds eye so vivid you can almost feel, smell and live every character, situation and passion contained with in each page. I was totally lost in this epic book. I adored it, I can not say enough just how much I enjoyed The Flame Tree. It offers an insight into just how terrible the war was in Hong Kong. Something I really didn’t have much of idea on until now. I have a deeper understanding of how heart breaking it was. How strong the camaraderie was, how important friendships were and even more, how to live each day as it comes.

Have a read of the blurb as it really sets the scene much better than I can. All I can do is recommend and then recommend again. It is an utterly breath taking book of epic proportions. FABULOUS !

Author Bio –

Siobhan Daiko is a British historical fiction author. A lover of all things Italian, she lives in the Veneto region of northern Italy with her husband, a Havanese dog and a rescued cat. Siobhan was born of English parents in Hong Kong, attended boarding school in Australia, and then moved to the UK—where she taught modern foreign languages in a Welsh comprehensive school. She now spends her time writing page-turners and enjoying her life near Venice. Her novels are compelling, poignant, and deeply moving, with strong characters and evocative settings, but always with romance at their heart.

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With Thanks for the Advance copy to ….

Rachel Gilbey

Siobhan Daiko See links above

Aslando Books

Book Review (YA) “Patches Through Time” by Sian Turner


Time Travel

Young Adult

Standalone Length : 278 Pages


Patches through Time

An unbelievably believable time travel escapade.

Casual antique dealer Jake Patch picks up an unusual object and can’t put it down. Literally. His find is a time travel device, and he hatches a bold plan to acquire objects from the past and sell them at modern day prices. But when the mysterious Infinity Glass leaves Patch stranded in a dangerous past, it falls to his teen daughter Cass to save him.

With hints of The Time Traveller’s Wife and Back to the Future and a smattering of LovejoyPatches through Time will send you spinning headlong into the past, then spit you back into the twenty-first century.

This book contains occasional profanities. Trigger warning: bereavement (parent, spouse).

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Although Patches Through Time is classified as YA I actually believe anyone who loves a bit of fantasy, time travel and intrigue then absolutely give this wonderful fast read a go. Also a great introduction to the genre for the younger generation. I found this a nice easy read yet it had the perfect mix of pace and plot that keep you entertained throughout.

The main characters are Jake patch and his daughter Cass. Jake can a bit direct which can come across as a tad rude but for me this just added a level of reality to him. Cass however is calmer and I was more than sure she would succeed on her quest. You’ll have to read to find out what her quest is and does she actually succeed?

This is a glorious yet light hearted read that is definitely worth a read. The ending was brilliantly open ended and I can see another book to go with Patches Through Time. A beautifully written poignant story showing how far we as human beings, will go to try and save a loved one.

Author Bio –

Sian Turner was born in Wales, but lives in East Sussex. She has recently started learning Welsh (and can categorically testify that Welsh is difficult).

She works as a part-time volunteer in her local RSPCA cat re-homing centre, from where she keeps adopting new family members (only one or two at a time).

Sian enjoys reading and reviewing some of the many truly amazing novels by Independent Authors, and she is secretary of her local writers’ group, Shorelink Writers.

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With Thanks for Advance copy to …..

Rachel Gilby

Sian Turner

Book review “New Neighbours for Coronation Street” by Lizzie Lane

Book review NO : 158

Historical Saga

length : 320

New Series

Publisher : Boldwood

Synopsis/Book Blurb

New Neighbours for Coronation Close

Bristol 1936

Jenny Crawford has resigned herself to a loveless marriage living hand to mouth with their two children. Like many others, husband Roy struggles to find work at the docks but a chance encounter turns his outlook and the family’s fortunes around.

Not only does he get regular work but they are also allocated a council house on Coronation Close on the outskirts of the city. Jenny and the children are overjoyed, this is the fresh start she could only ever dream of.

But trouble feels never too far away. With Roy spending more time away with Sir Oswald Mosely bullying black shirts, Jenny is left to her own devices and eager to fit in begins to make new friends.

Thankful of peace, Jenny has her head turned firstly by an old love and then by her knight in shining armour.

Does she allow herself to fall in love with either of these?

Whatever happens the consequences could be dire if Roy ever finds out.


Lizzie Lane is one of those writers that you know as soon as you open the book you’re in for a treat. She writes from the heart and creates characters that you love to love and even love to hate. She doesn’t hold back on telling us just how awful life could be for those living in the slums and indeed how much brighter life can be if you were lucky enough to get a new Council house on one of the brand new shiny Estates. It is a life that Jenny can only dream of. The drudgery of her marriage wears her down. No matter how hard she tries her truly awful husband Roy. (He definitely falls into the “Love to Hate” characters) always manages to ruin everything. He has a violent temper and Jenny tries so hard to protect her two girls as much as she can.

Suddenly things change. Roy is out more, he starts dressing in black and becomes more political in his new found gang headed by Sir Oswald Mosely. Jenny has no idea what he is up to, she is just grateful that he isn’t at home giving her grief.

Then wonder of wonders Jenny and Roy are offered a new council house and a new life is on the horizon. A new life that Jenny grabs with both hands. She makes friends and begins to feel that she has more control over her life. She finds love, or does she? should she? Is this a road to more heartbreak?

This is a gritty and heart felt book that leaves you feeling like you’ve just met a whole load of new friends. Lizzie writes in a style that just draws you in and your emotions are certainly challenged. From sad to happy, angry and even astonished. I truly loved every minute and I’m over the moon this is the start of a new Historical Saga that I know Lizzie will bring to life in every single book. BRILLIANT!


Lizzie Lane is the author of over 50 books, a number of which have been bestsellers.  She was born and bred in Bristol where many of her family worked in the cigarette and cigar factories.  This has inspired her saga series for Boldwood The Tobacco Girls.

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With Thanks for the advance copy to……

Rachel Gilby

Lizzie Lane

Publisher : Boldwood