Wednesday, 22 September 2021

New Publication Spotlight with an Extract: A Kingswater Summer by Jo Lambert

A Kingswater Summer by Jo Lambert


Newly returned from backpacking around Europe, Kiera Merrick has landed a dream job - working for actress Stella Wynter, helping set up a memory room at Penmarra, her beautiful riverside home just outside Kingswater.

Jake Paterson is currently staying with Stella after filming the final series of his popular TV drama. He is trying to work out how to get his co-star and long-term girlfriend Rachel Tyler back after she walked out on him. But Jake soon finds himself drawn to Kiera, developing feelings for her that have no place in his life. He realises painful choices will eventually have to be made. And someone is going to get hurt.

Stella’s godson, hapless Tom Armytage is also staying at Penmarra along with girlfriend Chantal. He dreams of becoming a successful property developer and hopes Chantal’s dynamic presence will boost his ambitions. To impress her he boasts that he is heir to all of Stella’s wealth.

Chantal Porter is a woman used to getting her own way. Tom is her ideal partner; weak and easily manipulated. Listening to him talk about his inheritance, she likes the idea of being Penmarra’s next mistress. But Stella and Jake’s close relationship gives her cause for concern. Who is he? And could he be a threat to her future ambitions?

As Jake comes to a difficult decision and sets off for London to sort things out with Rachel, a heart broken Kiera is left to watch helplessly as Chantal puts in place a plan to secure Tom’s inheritance. One that will change Stella’s life for ever.

Set on the south coast of Cornwall, A Kingswater Summer is a story of love, deception, and family secrets…

Central character Kiera Merrick is now working at Penmarra, the home of retired actress Stella Wynter. She is helping put together a memory room to house all her memorabilia. A mystery bug has confined Stella to bed and Kiera has offered to take her dog, Erik, for a walk in the grounds.

It was the squirrel that ruined what should have been a peaceful walk. One small grey furry animal in the wrong place at the wrong time. Afterwards Kiera was convinced the animal had deliberately taunted Erik, high in the foliage, constantly chattering as it looked down at him. Erik had been watching it, moving easily like a seasoned circus performer in the trees above them. If only it had stayed there. Instead, when it thought it was far enough ahead, it shimmied down the tree trunk and landed on the ground. From there it danced back and forth, with lots of erratic tail twitching, immediately drawing attention to itself. Erik froze. Kiera knew she had to get the lead back on him otherwise there would be trouble. Unfortunately, just as she stepped forward to clip it onto his collar, he bolted.

‘Erik,’ she called after him. ‘Come back at once.’

But Erik wasn’t listening. The squirrel took refuge in a nearby tree, ran along the branch and sat, looking down at Erik, who peered up at him, growling.

Kiera slowed, sure one small rodent would soon tire of baiting its canine pursuer. She was right. Erik lost interest. He padded back to Kiera, but as she reached down to secure his lead, she heard a rustling above her head. She looked up. The squirrel was back, jumping effortlessly from branch to branch before it took off again. Erik growled again and set off in pursuit.

Once more Kiera found herself chasing the wayward dog, dodging fallen logs and tree roots and wrestling with bracken which grew waist high in large clusters. By now she was totally lost, having no idea where they were. Emerging from yet another patch of green undergrowth she heard a yelp up ahead and then everything went quiet.

‘Erik,’ she called out, moving cautiously forward into yet another thick patch of vegetation. ‘Erik.’

She heard a whine followed by a sharp bark, and then another. When he barked for a third time, she began to move quickly towards the sound, and then without warning the ground simply disappeared under her feet. She screamed as she dropped into a dank, dark world. She felt like Alice in Wonderland falling down the rabbit hole. With nothing to hold onto, she had an awful thought she might have found the entrance to some smugglers’ tunnel, and she would end up in the bowels of the earth with no way to get out. No sooner had the thought entered her mind than she was spewed out into the light again. She landed on her backside on a mixture of damp sand and gravel, Erik beside her, his back, doggy beard and eyebrows coated in a dusting of soot.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK                Amazon US 

Author Bio 

Jo Lambert lives on the eastern edge of the city of Bath. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. She has been writing since 2008. Her first five books, a set of linked romantic sagas following the lives of several families in rural West Somerset, were followed in 2015 by Summer Moved On, a contemporary romance set in South Devon. A sequel, Watercolours in the Rain was published 2017,

In June 2018 Jo signed to Choc Lit and her debut A Cornish Affair, set in North Cornwall was published in 2019 under their Ruby Fiction imprint.

Her latest novel A Kingswater Summer is the second of a three-book series. The first, Shadows on the Water, was published in 2020. Both books can be read as standalone stories.
When she isn't writing she reads and reviews. She also has an active blog. Jo loves travel, red wine and music and long as it has a great melody and lyrics. Oh, and she often takes the odd photograph or two…

Social Media Links 

Twitter: @jolambertwriter

Thursday, 16 September 2021

New Publication Spotlight: A Beautiful Spy by Rachel Hore

A Beautiful Spy by Rachel Hore

Minnie Gray is an ordinary young woman. She is also a spy for the British government.

It all began in the summer of 1928...

Minnie is supposed to find a nice man, get married and have children. The problem is it doesn’t appeal to her at all. She is working as a secretary, but longs to make a difference.

Then, one day, she gets her chance. She is recruited by the British government as a spy. Under strict instructions not to tell anyone, not even her family, she moves to London and begins her mission – to infiltrate the Communist movement.

Amazon UK                Amazon US 

A compelling historical novel about how a suburban typist from Edgbaston become a spy for MI5!

A Typist for the Automobile Association, Minnie Gray isn't like other young women her age. In a world where getting married and having children is the norm, she wants more from her life. So, when she meets Dolly Pyle at an event, the slightly older woman's mysterious description of her job intrigues her.

'It's not always exciting what I do, but it is useful and important.'

To Minnie's astonishment, when the two acquaintances meet again, Dolly suggests she should also work for the government. So with a promise, her details will pass on to the relevant contact, Minnie continues with her day to day life. As the weeks pass with no news, she accepts the opportunity has slipped, that's until an unexpected letter arrives, asking her to attend an interview – the beginnings of a double life.

'You'd be marvellous, I can tell. I've been watching you for a while. There's something about you they'd like, Minnie Gray.'

The author is new to me, so I jumped in feet first not knowing what to expect. As I turned the pages and details of Minnie covert work are exposed, Ms Hore's narrative highlights the intensity of the role the heroine undertook as well as her feelings for the people with whom she became associated. Specifically, the relationships she had with Percy Gladings, Max and Raymond. It emphasises Minnie's conflicting emotions and the mental pressures she endured whilst leading a double life...and the personal sacrifices she made.

Based on a true story, it's a point I was unaware of when I began A Beautiful Spy and therefore appreciate how the author has drawn our attention to the work Minnie (Olga) Gray did in the years before the breakout of WWII.

Overall, this is a thrilling and enlightening novel, which highlights the emotions of the times, not only from society but for the characters enveloped within it.

***Review copy received courtesy of Simon and Schuster UK via NetGalley***

Rachel Hore worked in London publishing for many years before moving with her family to Norwich, where she taught publishing and creative writing at the University of East Anglia until deciding to become a full-time writer. She is the Sunday Times (London) bestselling author of ten novels, including The Love Child. She is married to the writer D.J. Taylor and they have three sons. Visit her at and connect with her on Twitter @RachelHore.