Book Review: A Shadow Beyond by Emma-Nicole Lewis

As soon as I heard about this book, I knew I needed to read it. Ever since I heard the story of Eyam on a school trip it fascinated me and somewhere I always wanted to revisit. In 1666  the village locked itself down to prevent the plague reaching others, a place of sacrifice for the greater good. For an author to take a place I loved and blend it into a book advertised as a must for Barbara Erskine fans, an author I adore, it seemed a match in heaven.

Book Review: A Shadow Beyond by Emma-Nicole Lewis

A Shadow Beyond

A Shadow Beyond by Emma-Nicole Lewis

Title: A Shadow Beyond

Author:  Emma-Nicole Lewis

Publisher: Twilight Moon Publishing

Genre: Historical Suspense Ghost Story

Release date: 28th Feb 2019

Purchase: Amazon UK

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmmaNicoleLewis

Website: http://emmanicolelewis.co.uk/

Amazon Author Page

Blurb:

For fans of Kate Morton and Barbara Erskine, comes a thrilling and beautiful dual-time novel, set in the present and during 1665 – 1666, when plague broke out in the Peak District village of Eyam. A Shadow Beyond is a heart-rending and chilling tale of sacrifice, love, obsession and tragedy.

Lost in the folds of time, behind one village’s brave sacrifice, is the tragic and chilling secret of Thornycroft Hall….

Locked away in the top quarters of Thornycroft, a large house on the edge of the historic village of Eyam, is a centuries old secret.

Escaping the chaos of a complicated break up, Kate Saunders travels to the Peak District to stay with her Great Aunt Edie who has suffered a fall. Thornycroft is the perfect bolthole for Kate, peaceful and providing plenty of distance from her obsessive ex.

But when Kate stumbles across a diary and an ancient bogwood jewellery box in the top of the house, the tranquillity she had expected is shattered. She is shocked to discover that Edie has been tampering with the supernatural and as Kate reads the contents of the diary, the shadows of Thornycroft’s past begin to stir.

Kate becomes fascinated by the history of the house and the legacy of the villagers who made a brave yet devastating decision during the outbreak of plague. The more she discovers, the more she realises that, hidden behind Eyam’s tragic story, is a dreadful family secret.

Stalked by her ex and restless spirits who harbour a dark secret, Kate realises she’s in danger – not only from the living, but from the dead.

As the haunting intensifies and layers of time peel away, Kate starts to uncover a chilling truth that has remained buried for centuries…

My Thoughts

This book was everything I wanted it to be. With a tagline mentioning one of my favourite authors, Barbara Erskine, I had high expectations and it did not disappoint. Eyam captured my imagination as a child, so walking through its streets and landscape in the present and past was fascinating. Both timelines drew me in, unlike some dual timeline books where there is always one you prefer more. I did not want the book to end.

It is a novel of two halves. In the present, Kate is dealing with a nasty breakup with fears of its ramifications and returning to Eyam to care for an aunt seems to be the ideal solution. The supernatural incidents and ghosts add tension into her life but are not full on horror, which adds credence to the plot and gives it a sense of authenticity. The sense of menace lurking in the shadows was well written, sending shivers down my spine.  I loved the characters, especially Nick who has his own problems to cope with. The way the past and present collided was very much like Barbara Erskine’s style but the history was more accessible, allowing me to be immersed in both heroines lives easily.

I found Rachel’s story absorbing and though I figured out one twist from the start; I feel it was one to lead the reader deeper in to the plot to see if they were right. It brought the sad disturbing tale of Eyam and its experience with the plague to life with eerie parallels with our current pandemic with social distancing and isolation. It adds poignancy to Rachel’s tale and an urgency to her plight. The grief of the town was tangible, making it an emotional read.

Would I recommend?

Yes, I loved this book and the author’s style. The balance of a contemporary ghost story and historical fiction was perfect giving an emotional, spooky and disturbing read. This would be ideal to read in October when the evenings draw in. It is one for my Kindle forever shelf to reread in the future.

I am relieved Emma-Nicole Lewis has a back catalogue of novels I can add to my TBR.

Thanks to The Fiction Cafe for a copy to review and give my unbiased, and honest opinion. You have given me a new favourite author to follow.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

Katie signature pink

 

Book Review: The Firebird Inheritance by Steven Turner Bone

It is Indie Author Week here in the UK so I am pleased to share my review for The Firebird Inheritance by Steven Turner-Bone,  a local independent author in East Yorkshire. I have always been fascinated with  the fall of the Russian family and the controversy around Anastasia’s death so this blurb caught my attention. Scroll down to see my thoughts.

Book Review: The Firebird Inheritance by Steven Turner-Bone

Firebird Inheritance

The Firebird Inheritance by Steven Turner-Bone

Title: The Firebird Inheritance

Author:  Steven Turner-Bone

Publisher: Independent

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release date: 6th June 2019

Blurb

The Russian Revolution is over. Tsar Nichols II and his immediate family are dead. Stalin holds the Soviet Union in an iron grip.
Anna Moreau sits in her Paris flat reading an article in the newspaper about the death of another wealthy French businessman when there is a knock on the door. An old man gives her a plain package, with the instructions to read its contents carefully, and then to leave Paris and to go into hiding as soon as possible.
Shocked by what she discovers in the package, Anna remembers the words repeatedly given to her by her adopted mother before she died.
‘If you find yourself alone and in need of help, go to England, and seek the assistance of Jason Parva.’
Anna runs for her life to the one person of whom her mother had told her so much, the English fighter pilot, whom she had nursed back to health after he was shot down during the Great War. Anna and Jason have no option but to go on the run with the Russian Secret Police hot on their trail.

My Thoughts

I previously reviewed Farewell to a Friend from the Mathew Fletcher series last year. It was based in the English Civil war, but this novel is a standalone and completely different in topic and style. The jump to the 1920s, an era I am more familiar, helped me slip into the story with ease and enjoy this post First World War adventure with plenty of spies, charm and stunning British countryside.

Injured Jason Parva returned from Kenya to his home, a village in East Yorkshire. This location is one I know well and I can say the detailed descriptions are accurate and they made me feel like I had travelled back in time. As always, reading about a familiar setting adds an extra dimension and depth to the story.

The true adventure begins when Jason meets Anna and they need to protect the Russian jewel. The cast of characters, tension and plot reminded me of  Agatha Christie’s work. I enjoyed the thrill of their journey throughout Britain in fear of their lives and watch their relationship evolve.

The conclusion was dramatic and full at action.

Would I recommend?

This is a genre I rarely read, but I loved this espionage adventure and would recommend it for fans of historical adventures and mystery.

Author Biography:

Me with books (2)

Steven Turner-Bone

Steven was born in Hull many years ago, and always loved history and stories. After having successful career in catering and IT he met his wife, Sue and started a family. Sue’s career as a computer programmer blossomed and it very quickly led to him staying home to look after the children whilst she hit the jet-set life of flying around Europe on work-related matters. He took on short term jobs whilst the kids were at school.

The family were close, so when it came to finding a hobby for them all fate came knocking, and they joined a 17th century historical re-enactment group. It added enormously to his knowledge of history, as well as them all being able to visit castles, stately homes and historical sites free of charge. It even led to him appearing as an extra in many television programmes and one film.

After being made redundant from the Probation Service as an admin clerk, and reading a novel on the English Civil War, he happened to make a comment to Sue about how poor the story was in the book.

‘Then you write one,’ came the reply. So he did, and it sold, and it kept selling, so he wrote book two, and book three, and book four, and now he is currently writing book five. Steven believes he has found what he was destined to do with his life and he loves it.

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/surgeonsteve/

Website: https://steventurnerbone.co.uk

Thank you Steven Turner-Bone for a copy of your book so I could give my honest and unbiased review.

Love

Book Review: Farewell to a friend by Steven Turner-Bone

I hope the summer is treating you well. I have had a few visits to the sea which is always good.

Today, I am sharing a review for Farewell to a Friend by Steven Turner-Bone, a local writer. It is always uplifting to read a book with connections to places you know; the shared link helps immerse you into the story and bond with characters. The Mathew Fletcher novels began in Beverley, East Yorkshire which is one of my  local towns and now every time I visit I recall snippets of his life.

This is the third book in the series and the main character, Mathew Fletcher, a surgeon has moved down the country to Shrewsbury.

Book Review: Farewell to a Friend by Steven Turner-Bone

farewell to a friend cover

Farewell to a Friend

Title: Farewell to a Friend

Author: Steven Turner-Bone

Publisher: Independent

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release date: 3rd July 2018

Blurb:

King Charles has raised his standard at Nottingham declaring war against his parliament and consequently his own people. Mathew and his friends are caught up in the middle of it all. Mathew refuses to give up his search for the last of the murderers of his beloved Elizabeth and so they must all follow the King as he crosses the country enlarging his army.
The road Mathew now travels leads him to Shrewsbury and his showdown with John Franks, but whoever it was that said ‘vengeance is sweet’ had never tried to kill anyone, let alone a ruthless murderer.
Changes take place within Mathew’s group of friends as they learn Shrewsbury is not to be their final destination and that the Earl of Essex, with a large parliamentarian army, is in close pursuit.
Torn between returning home and following his career as surgeon to the King, Mathew has to make decisions that will inevitably change his own life and affect the outcome of the civil war in England.

My Thoughts

It has been a while since I read the first novel, Friends and Enemies so I was grateful for the recap in the first couple of chapters. Set in 1642 amidst the English Civil war between the Royalists and Parliamentarians, fiction is blended with real events leading to a plot which is in places stranger than any author can believably invent.

In the first book, Mathew Fletcher finds himself moving away from his hometown, Beverley in East Yorkshire to hunt for three men who slain the love of his life. The need for revenge led him to be a spy and work as a surgeon for the military. This book follows him as he moves down the country where he finds himself pulled in different directions by his ambition, revenge, political pressure and desire to go home for a quiet life. I enjoyed reading the twists of his life as the consequences of his initial decision to take revenge unfold and how it develops his character.

As with many historical novels, there are many personalities in the background driving the story forward. They are crucial because a decision made from the King or leader of the opposition can have a big impact on the plot so there is a complex web of people to remember. There were times I became confused by which side people were on but I believe this is more to do with brain fog and unfamiliarity with history than anything else. Once I reconnected with Mathew and his sister-in-law Mary, this did not matter. I wanted to know what happened next. Mary is one of the most fascinating characters and it is always good to catch up with her.

One thing I love about historical fiction is the ability to close the book with more knowledge than you started with. This book is no exception, Steven Turner-Bone’s passion and knowledge of the era shines through especially when it involves the medical side of Mathew’s life. This adds credence to his character, actions and story.

Would I recommend?

Yes, though I suggest you start at the beginning of the series so you are aware of the characters’ full back story. It is ideal for those interested in the local history of East Yorkshire, Shrewsbury, Warwick and the Civil War.

Steven has just released a standalone novel The Firebird Inheritance which I am eager to read after listening to several extracts. The premise surrounds a package with links to  the last Russian Tsar. Why not check it out here?

Author Biography

Me with books (2)

Steven Turner-Bone

Steven was born in Hull many years ago, and always loved history and stories. After having successful career in catering and IT he met his wife, Sue and started a family. Sue’s career as a computer programmer blossomed and it very quickly led to him staying home to look after the children whilst she hit the jet-set life of flying around Europe on work-related matters. He took on short term jobs whilst the kids were at school.

The family were close, so when it came to finding a hobby for them all fate came knocking, and they joined a 17th century historical re-enactment group. It added enormously to his knowledge of history, as well as them all being able to visit castles, stately homes and historical sites free of charge. It even led to him appearing as an extra in many television programmes and one film.

After being made redundant from the Probation Service as an admin clerk, and reading a novel on the English Civil War, he happened to make a comment to Sue about how poor the story was in the book.

‘Then you write one,’ came the reply. So he did, and it sold, and it kept selling, so he wrote book two, and book three, and book four, and now he is currently writing book five. Steven believes he has found what he was destined to do with his life and he loves it.

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/surgeonsteve/

Website: https://steventurnerbone.co.uk

Thank you Steven Turner-Bone for a copy of your book so I could give my honest and unbiased review.

Love