Book Review “The Lady of the Loch” by Elena Collins




Length : 438 pages

Publisher : Boldwood Books


The Lady of the Loch

Although I believe I will die here in this castle, my spirit will never be silent.’

Ravenscraig Castle, Scotland. 1307

When the castle she works in is sacked by the army of Prince Edward of England, kitchen maid Agnes Fitzgerald manages to escape north of Inverness to throw herself at the mercy of the Lord and Lady at Ravenscraig Castle. Although safe for now, the people of Scotland are fighting hard for their independence, and the threat of the English hangs heavy over the land.  But when Agnes spies Cam Buchanan swimming in the loch, her mind turns away from war and towards love.  Agnes even dares to dream of a happy future, until she learns that Cam must go and fight alongside Robert de Brus.

Present day

Twins Leah and Zoe need a change, so caretaking at Ravenscraig Castle is the perfect opportunity to get away from it all. Surrounded by rugged Highland countryside, and bordered by a loch, the picturesque setting is everything they dreamed of. But the locals are reluctant to visit Ravenscraig, and there are whispers of ghosts and lost souls. The sisters quickly dismiss such superstition, but soon the overwhelming sadness they feel coming from the tower grows too hard to ignore.

Can the sisters finally right the wrongs of seven hundred years of heartbreak, seven hundred years of betrayal…

USA Today bestselling author Judy Leigh writing as Elena Collins, brings you this heart-breaking and unforgettable timeslip novel, perfect for fans of Barbara Erskine, Diana Gabaldon and Louise Douglas.

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REVIEW ~ NIKI PRESTON ~ 5 STARS PLUS (as 5 stars isn’t enough)

OMG, OMG and OM GEEEEEEE! what an astounding read The Lady of the Loch is. A haunting tale of love, loss and grief across two timelines that seamlessly blend together. I am not kidding Elena Collins absolutely creates exceptional characters that carry the story beautifully. I hate a cliché but she takes you on a journey. It breaks your heart into a million pieces yet builds it all back together all at the same time. Can you tell I LOVED THIS BOOK!

I used to live in Scotland and the wonderful descriptions of the mountains, weather, lochs and castles had me reminiscing about my time there. Elena is spot on with her historical revelations of the Scottish wars and battles. She does not hold back on the brutality of the war between the Scottish and the English. The death and destruction is truly shocking but brings the emotion to life completely. Agnes is just a beautiful character who not only is strong, she definitely will not let her lot in life beat her. She finds the love of her life, but they had to meet in secret. Her heart truly belongs to Cam. Will he be her downfall? will they ever truly be together? Can there be a happy ending? I hope so I really hope so (no spoilers here 😉

In the present day we meet Zoe and Leah. Zoe loves Scotland and her life currently is falling apart. She grabs the chance to become the caretaker of the beautiful renovated Ravenscraig Castle. With every description I felt like I was right there, roaming the castle feeling a presence that gets stronger. Leah feels it strongly but just isn’t sure if it’s real or just because the castle is a haunting place and bloomin’ freezing. Seriously this book has it all and I really didn’t want it to end. I raced through it with hope in my heart that Agnes will find her peace.

The lady of the Loch is devastating, uplifting, haunting, ghostly, full of love. A love like no other. The brutality Agnes witnesses is utterly heart wrenching and I found my tears flowed freely for her. An emotionally charged read that left me breathless, happy, sad and every other emotion in between. Elena is the Queen of this genre and I can not recommend her and her books highly enough.

Author Bio –  Elena Collins is the pseudonym for USA Today bestselling author Judy Leigh writing unforgettable, heart-breaking timeslip novels. She has lived all over the UK from Liverpool to Cornwall, but currently resides in Somerset.

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Rachel Gilbey

Elena Collins

Boldwood Books



Book Review “Ascent” by Cathie Dunn



House of Normandy Book 1

length : 293

Publisher : Ocelot Press



A brutal Viking raid heralds the dawn of a new, powerful dynasty – the House of Normandy

Neustria, Kingdom of the West Franks
AD 890

Fourteen-year-old Poppa’s life changes when Northmen land near Bayeux. Count Bérengar, her father, submits to them, and she is handfasted to Hrólfr, the Northmen’s heathen leader, as part of their agreement.

To her relief, Hrólfr leaves immediately in search of further conquest, only returning to claim her years later. In the face of retaliating Franks, they flee to East Anglia, where she gives birth to their son and daughter.

When Hrólfr and Poppa return to reclaim Bayeux, his new campaign strikes at the heart of Frankish power, and King Charles of the West Franks offers him a pact he cannot refuse. In exchange for vast tracts of land in Neustria, Hrólfr must convert to Christianity and accept marriage to Gisela, the king’s illegitimate daughter.

Poppa’s world shatters. She remains in Bayeux, with her daughter, Adela. When Gisela arrives one day, demanding she hand over Adela, to be raised in Rouen, Poppa’s patience is at an end. But Gisela makes for a dangerous enemy, and only one woman will survive their confrontation high up on the cliffs.

Will Poppa live to witness the dawn of a new era?

ASCENT is the first in a new series about the early women of the House of Normandy – women whose stories have been forgotten through time.

Until now!

Readers of Viking and medieval fiction will enjoy ASCENT, a fictional account of the life of Poppa of Bayeux, handfasted wife of Rollo the Viking.

Trigger warning: Loss of a child. Some battle and fighting scenes.


I really love a great journey through an Historical Novel. My mind conjures up all sorts of imagery and drama and Ascent is one of those books that brings the history to life brilliantly.

This is a gripping tale of a young girl who finds herself bound to her fathers enemy and she hates it. However as time moves on she has two children and is fiercely protective of them. Her worst nightmare is about to begin when her husband becomes wed to another and Gisela wants Poppa’s daughter as her own. For Poppa the fight begins against her worst enemy. There is tension abounds throughout Ascent and the descriptive writing just draws you right in. The characters are superbly crafted and bring the Normandy era to life in such a way that you can almost hear them marauding through your living room.

An enchanting and enjoyable read that absolutely heralds a new era for Normandy and Poppa. You feel sucked right in to the adventure and I can not wait for the next instalment.

Author Bio –

Author Bio –

Cathie Dunn is an award-winning author of historical fiction, mystery, and romance. The focus of her historical fiction novels is on strong women through time.

Cathie has been writing for over twenty years. She studied Creative Writing online, with a focus on novel writing, which she also taught in the south of France. She loves researching for her novels, delving into history books, and visiting castles and historic sites. A voracious reader, primarily of historical fiction / romance, she often reviews books on her blog, Ruins & Reading.

Cathie is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Richard III Society, and the Alliance of Independent Authors.

After many years in Scotland, Cathie now lives in south of France with her husband, and rescued Charlie Cat and Ellie Dog. Discover more about Cathie at!

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With Thanks for the Advance copy to…………………….

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Cathie Dunn

Ocelot Press


Book Review “The Lumberjills” by M.W.Arnold


Saga, Romance, WW2

length; 343

New Series

Publisher : The Wild Rose Press


The Lumberjills

Berry Chambers and her co-workers have joined the Women’s Timber Corps—known as the Lumberjills—to do their bit for Britain. On their first day felling trees, they rescue an RAF pilot and become entangled in the loveless marriage of their new landlords.

Danger is never far away, be it an ill-timed axe swing or the occasional activity of the Luftwaffe overhead. Add a psychotic farm cat, a couple of young runaway evacuees, a spate of malicious packages, and the jealousy of the Land Girls next door, and life for Berry and her friends is never boring.

Can the girls find the balance between their vital war work and the natural pull of love?

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Well what can I say? M.W. Arnold has done it again. This is a beautifully written Saga that is full of drama, wonderfully formed friendships and strong women. One of the things I always love about Arnold’s books is that they are so historically accurate and I always feel like I am learning something new. I knew the usual things that women did during the war but I did not know about Lumberjills. Arnold is absolutely the master of creating strong female characters that you totally believe it, fall in love with and wholly invest in.

Berry is a girl from a privileged background and finds herself needing to do something for the war effort. She is emotional yet strong and brings a lot to this book. Sheila, I found an infinity with in her unhappy marriage, she tries to just carry on and deal with her grumpy husband. All the girls bring their own little piece of something that binds these girls together. The Lumberjills is a heart-warming story with a huge sense of community and trust.

The synopsis tells you all you need to know about this excellent new series so I won’t waffle on about the ins and outs of the plot. It does however hold your intention throughout and is filled with laughter, danger, (I mean you are definitely going to find danger with all that axe swinging), war time drama, love, lose and the best female friendships you’ll ever come across. I highly recommend this fabulous story to all lovers of WW2 plots, camaraderie strong relationships. It’s a cracker of a book.

Author Bio –

Mick is a hopeless romantic who was born in England but spent fifteen years roaming around the world in the pay of the late HM Queen Elisabeth II in the Royal Air Force before putting down roots—and realizing how much he missed the travel. This he’s replaced somewhat with his writing, including reviewing books and supporting fellow saga and romance authors in promoting their novels.

He’s the proud keeper of two Romanian Werecats bent on world domination, is mad on the music of the Beach Boys, and enjoys the theatre and humoring his Manchester United-supporting wife.

Finally, and most importantly, Mick is a full member of the Romantic Novelists Association. The Lumberjills is the lead book in this new series from the author of the Broken Wings novels.

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With Thanks for The Advance Copy to …….

Rachel Gilbey


The Wild Rose Press

Book Review “Fatal Secrets” by Anita Waller


Mystery Series. Forrrester Detective Agency

Length : 295

Publisher : Boldwood


Nothing is more important than family . . .

Matt Forrester has followed in his dad’s footsteps, climbing the police ranks to become a DI. But when he receives an urgent call for help, Matt has to rethink his career. His dad has been murdered, and Matt’s not going to let this case go. It doesn’t help that his current boss is sleeping with his ex-wife.

Hermia Forrester didn’t follow her brother into the police force, instead she works in research at the university. But, she’s not going to let that stop her from helping her brother find out what happened to their dad.

But the siblings soon find themselves surrounded by more danger than they ever imagined. Can they both survive this case or will there be more of their family in the morgue?

The thrilling first instalment in the Forrester Detective Agency Mystery series.

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Anita is a new author to me and I am really impressed with how she creates the best plot with plenty of other asides yet never loses the way. There is plenty going on to keep your attention, from murder to romance. Lots of pizza and detectiviness (is that a word?) you know what I mean though 🙂

Fatal Secrets is a gripping story that revolves around Matt and Hermia Forrester and the untimely death of their father. Matt is a DI in the police force and wants to bring to justice the killer or killers who took their father away. There are some very nasty gangland characters that made me shrink back with their brutality. Every character is created with a level of reality that brings you into the story wholly. Matt, Hermia and Steve bounce off each superbly and keep the story bonded all the way through.

However in amongst all the gritty drama there is another side involved that makes it feel warm and cosy. The strong relationship that Hermia has with her brother is heart-warming and then Steve, Matt’s best friend is equally strong and they all support each other.

This is a excellent start to a brand new Mystery Detective series and I for one will be looking out for the next instalment.

Author Bio –

Anita Waller is the author of many bestselling psychological thrillers and the Kat and Mouse crime series. She lives in Sheffield, which continues to be the setting of many of her thrillers, and was first published by Bloodhound at the age of sixty-nine. Her first book for Boldwood will be published in August 2022.

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Rachel Gilbey

Anita Waller

Boldwood Books

Book Review “A Date to Die For” by E.V.Hunter


Cosy Crime

Book 1 of The Hopgood Hall Murder Mysteries

Length : 268 pages

Publisher : Boldwood Books


A Date To Die For

The start of brand-new Cozy Crime series! Welcome to Hopgood Hall.

An unlikely duo…

When investigative journalist, Alexi Ellis, falls victim to cutbacks, she and Cosmo, her anti-social feral cat, head for beautiful Hopgood Hall, where they plan to lick their wounds in the boutique hotel run by her old friends, Cheryl and Drew Hopgood.

A missing woman…

But when she arrives Alexi discovers Cheryl and Drew both distraught. Their close friend, Natalie Parker, who recently settled in the area, has gone missing. Alexi’s sure the woman has just taken a trip somewhere, but she still has a nose for a story and agrees to look into it.

A case to solve!So too does ex-Met Police detective turned private eye, Jack Maddox. Natalie Parker had been using his sister’s online dating agency and Jack needs to find her before his sister’s business is ruined.

Reluctantly, Alexi, Jack – and Cosmo! – join forces to find out what happened to Natalie. But soon they discover secrets that someone desperately wants to make sure are never revealed!

Perfect for fans of Faith Martin, Frances Evesham and Emma Davies.

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If you want to dip your toe into the cosy crime genre then this is the book for you! It is incredible. I loved every word and Cosmo the cat is just hilarious. I need a crime busting cat buddy.

E.V.Hunter has created a perfectly formed book full of exceptional characters that are completely believable. The plot is set at just the right pace to keep your interest. It is a complex story that just took my breathe away.

Alexi is a strong willed woman just out of a disastrous event at work and her relationship has gone. She just wants breathing space and then finds herself drawn into her Friend Cheryl’s friends disappearance. No one has heard from Natalie and everyone begins to fear the worst. Now Alexi finds herself working alongside a devilishly handsome Private Investigator, Jack, even Cosmo likes him and he is more than happy to make his feelings known if dislikes anyone.

The descriptive style of writing creates a beautiful feel for the countryside, horsey set and money. Everything just blends together well and totally draws you in.

Will Natalie be found? What on earth has happened to her? How close will Alexi and Jack get? Will this mystery ever be solved?

I urge anyone to grab a copy of this. It promises to be the start of an magnificent new series.

Author Bio –

Author Bio –

Evie Hunter has written a great many successful regency romances as Wendy Soliman and is now redirecting her talents to produce dark gritty thrillers and cozy crime for BoldwoodFor the past twenty years she has lived the life of a nomad, roaming the world on interesting forms of transport, but has now settled back in the UK. 

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Boldwood Books


“Escape to Futtingbrook Farm” by Nicola May #ETFF

A book not to be missed. A romance to brighten up your day and a wonderful cat called #PrinceHarry. A brilliant book out today. A highly recommended 5 star romance.

Escape to Futtingbrook Farm

Jilted by her soap opera fiancé, crime writer August Saunders decides to return to her roots in rural Wiltshire. Determined to reignite her writing mojo, she rents a desk in a shared workspace in local Futtingbrook Farm.

The converted barn comes with a motley array of fellow users, including a matchmaker, a TikToker with a dodgy nocturnal side-line and an ethical clothes designer – causing August to realise she doesn’t have far to look for real-life plot fuel!

There’s also a real-life mystery for her to solve. Why is Max Ronson, the handsome but volatile owner, so evasive about his past? And who or what is he hiding on the premises?

As August begins to unravel the shadowy secrets of Futtingbrook Farm, will her curiosity snuff out the spark of romance – or ignite it?

Nicola May uses her inimitable style to convey love, grief, and happiness, making Futtingbrook Farm as beloved a location as Ferry Lane Market or Cockleberry Bay.

Perfect for fans of Milly Johnson, Sarah Morgan, Jill Mansell, and Cathy Bramley.

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Author Bio –

Nicola May is a rom-com superstar. She is the author of sixteen romantic comedies, all of which have appeared in the Kindle bestseller charts. The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay became the best-selling Kindle book in the UK, across all genres, in January 2019, and was Amazon’s third-bestselling novel in that year. It spawned three sequels, followed by the hit Ferry Lane Market trilogy.

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