Fabulous multi-generational fashion themed family saga DRESSING THE DEARLOVES by Kelly Doust (@KellyDoust) #BookReview

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DRESSING THE DEARLOVES by Kelly Doust

Goodreads Description

One crumbling grand manor house, a family in decline, five generations of women, and an attic full of beautiful clothes with secrets and lies hidden in their folds. Kelly Doust, author of Precious Things, spins another warm, glamorous and romantic mystery of secrets, love, fashion, families – and how we have to trust in ourselves, even in our darkest of days. One for lovers of Kate Morton, Belinda Alexandra, Fiona McIntosh and Lucy Foley. Failed fashion designer Sylvie Dearlove is coming home to England – broke, ashamed and in disgrace – only to be told her parents are finally selling their once-grand, now crumbling country house, Bledesford, the ancestral home of the Dearlove family for countless generations. Sylvie has spent her whole life trying to escape being a Dearlove, and the pressure of belonging to a family of such headstrong, charismatic and successful women. Beset by self-doubt, she starts helping her parents prepare Bledesford for sale, when she finds in a forgotten attic a thrilling cache of old steamer trunks and tea chests full of elaborate dresses and accessories acquired from across the globe by five generations of fashionable Dearlove women. Sifting through the past, she also stumbles across a secret which has been hidden – in plain sight – for decades, a secret that will change the way she thinks about herself, her family, and her future.Romantic, warm, and glamorous, moving from Edwardian England to the London Blitz to present day London, Dressing the Dearloves is a story of corrosiveness of family secrets, the insecurities that can sabotage our best efforts, and the seductive power of dressing up. 

400 pages
Published August 20th 2018 by HarperCollins
ISBN 1460705645 (ISBN13: 9781460705643)
RRP $16.99 AU (Kindle) $26.99 AU (paperback)

My Review 

Fabulous multi-generational fashion themed family saga! DRESSING THE DEARLOVES the second fashion themed novel by Australian author Kelly Doust, and you can really tell that she has a great love for vintage fashion and the stories they hold.

Sylvie Dearlove failed spectacularly in the cut-throat New York fashion design world. With her company bankrupt and her reputation in tatters she has no choice but to return to her family’s upper crust ancestral home in the English countryside. She is shocked to discover that Bledesford is even more run down than she remembered, her grandmother and family matriarch, Lizzie, is terribly ill and her parents seem to have no choice but to sell up and make way for boring and generic sub-divisions.

While helping her parents clean out the overflowing attic with the help of her best uni girlfriends Sylvie discovers more than just the high fashion of  five generations of her enigmatic and successful female ancestors. She also stumbles across a shocking family secret that  changes the way she feels about her family, what it means to be a Dearlove, and will alter her future plans irrevocably.

I loved the way that Doust tied the stories of the Dearlove ladies in with their clothing. I think it’s so true that the clothes we wear for special occasions do hold onto our stories and the way Doust writes about vintage fashion with such love is a wonderful reminder of the power of dressing up. 5 stars!

About the Author 

 

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Kelly Doust, author of DRESSING THE DEARLOVES

 

Kelly Doust is author of the novels Dressing the Dearloves (September 2018) and Precious Things, both published by HarperCollinsAlso A Life in Frocks, vintage fashion bible Minxy Vintage: how to customise & wear vintage clothing and The Crafty Minx series of craft books.

With a background in book publishing and publicity, Kelly has worked in the UK, Hong Kong and Australia, and has freelanced for Vogue, Australian Women’s Weekly and Sunday Life Magazine. She lives in Sydney with her husband and daughter, and works as a Lifestyle Publisher for Murdoch Books.

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My Book Review of quirky love story THE RULES OF SEEING by Joe Heap @Joe_Heap_

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THE RULES OF SEEING by Joe Heap

Goodreads Description

The Rules of Seeing follows the lives of two women whose paths cross at a time when they need each other most. Nova, an interpreter for the Metropolitan police, has been blind from birth. When she undergoes surgery to restore her sight her journey is just beginning – she now has to face a world in full colour for the first time. Kate, a successful architect and wife to Tony, is in hospital after a blow to the head. There, she meets Nova and what starts as a beautiful friendship soon turns into something more.

My Review 

“What you see depends on what you’re looking for”

I’m finding it hard to categorise THE RULES OF SEEING by debut UK author Joe Heap. It’s part quirky love story between two women with a lot going on in their lives, part thriller, and 100% a great read.

Nova works as a police interpreter, can speak five languages and has been blind her entire life until her brother convinces her to undergo and operation that will help her see the world for the first time.

While she is recovering from her operation she meets Kate who is an architect married to Tony, a police detective that Nova works with occasionally. Nova and Kate’s friendship could develop into something more if it was up to Nova, but they each have their own issues to deal with, including Nova’s difficulties with learning how to see and Kate and Tony’s relationship issues.

THE RULES OF SEEING is a fantastic debut novel and Joe Heap has done a brilliant job of covering a range of sensitive topics, including female romantic relationships, mental health, abuse, and  disability. A great debut and full of unexpected surprises. 4 stars!

 

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Joe Heap: author of THE RULES OF SEEING

 

Joe Heap was born in 1986 to a biology teacher and a drama teacher, and grew up in a house that was 70% books, 25% bags of unmarked homework, 18% underpants drying on radiators, and 3% scattered Lego bricks.

He is very bad at maths.

In 2004 Joe won the Foyle Young Poet award, and his poetry has been published in several periodicals. He studied for a BA in English Literature at Stirling University and a Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University, during which time he ate a deep-fried Mars Bar. It was okay.

Joe is now a full-time writer, but previously worked as an editor of books for kids and young adults. He has also been a subtitler for BBC News, a face painter at a safari park and a removal man for a dental convention. Before smartphones were invented, he manned a text service where people could ‘ask any question’, but he has since forgotten most of the answers.

He lives in London with his long-suffering girlfriend, short-suffering son, and much-aggrieved tabby cat.

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My #BookReview of the atmospheric psychological suspense novel THE BOY AT THE DOOR by Alex Dahl @alexdahlauthor

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THE BOY AT THE DOOR by Alex Dahl

Goodreads Description

This riveting psychological suspense debut by Alex Dahl asks the question, “how far would you go to hold on to what you have?”

Cecilia Wilborg has it all–a loving husband, two beautiful daughters, and a gorgeous home in an affluent Norwegian suburb. And she works hard to keep it all together. Too hard…

There is no room for mistakes in her life. Even taking home a little boy whose parents forgot to pick him up at the pool can put a crimp in Cecilia’s carefully planned schedule. Especially when she arrives at the address she was given
and finds an empty, abandoned house…

There’s nothing for Cecilia to do but to take the boy home with her, never realizing that soon his quiet presence and knowing eyes will trigger unwelcome memories from her past–and unravel her meticulously crafted life…

My Review 

“What would you do for the perfect life? Would you lie? Cheat? Or…kill?”

THE BOY AT THE DOOR by debut author Alex Dahl is full of atmospheric Nordic suspense that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

Cecilia Wilborg has the perfect life with her handsome husband and two gorgeous daughters in the picturesque Norwegian town of Sandefjord. When the tiny and abandoned 8 year old Tobias needs a place to stay Cecilia’s perfect life slowly begins to unravel before her very eyes.

THE BOY AT THE DOOR is a brilliantly twisty and turny debut from half-American, half-Norwegian Dahl. There were a couple of times that I did need to suspend disbelief, such as the explanation for how Tobias came to stay in the Wilborg home for such an extended period, but once I decided to go with it I was too caught up with the mystery and suspense to worry about it.

I loved the first person narrative style, particularly from Cecilia’s perspective. She really did begin the novel as the perfect rich bitchy Mummy type and brilliantly descended further into madness as the novel progressed. I particularly loved the scene where she threw a champagne bottle at some of her frenemies!

A delightfully suspenseful debut and I’ll be looking forward to reading more from Alex Dahl.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a review copy.

About the Author

 

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Alex Dahl

Half American, half Norwegian, Alex Dahl was born in Oslo. She graduated with a BA in Russian and German Linguistics with International studies and went on to complete an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, followed by an MSc in Business Management at Bath University. Alex has published short stories in the UK and the US as well as a novel, Before I Leave You, in Norway in 2013. Alexandra is a serious Francophile and currently lives between London and Sandefjord.

Sandefjord is the setting of Alex’s new novel, The Boy at the Door, a brilliant psychological thriller which has already attracted worldwide interest and book deals in UK, USA, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Czech Republic and Sweden.

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#BookReview THE LOST FLOWERS OF ALICE HART by Holly Ringland @hollyringland @HarperCollinsAU

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THE LOST FLOWERS OF ALICE HART by Holly Ringland

Goodreads Blurb

The most enchanting debut novel of 2018, this is an irresistible, deeply moving and romantic story of a young girl, daughter of an abusive father, who has to learn the hard way that she can break the patterns of the past, live on her own terms and find her own strength.

After her family suffers a tragedy when she is nine years old, Alice Hart is forced to leave her idyllic seaside home. She is taken in by her estranged grandmother, June, a flower farmer who raises Alice on the language of Australian native flowers, a way to say the things that are too hard to speak. But Alice also learns that there are secrets within secrets about her past. Under the watchful eye of June and The Flowers, women who run the farm, Alice grows up. But an unexpected betrayal sends her reeling, and she flees to the dramatically beautiful central Australian desert. Alice thinks she has found solace, until she falls in love with Dylan, a charismatic and ultimately dangerous man.

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a story about stories: those we inherit, those we select to define us, and those we decide to hide. It is a novel about the secrets we keep and how they haunt us, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive. Spanning twenty years, set between the lush sugar cane fields by the sea, a native Australian flower farm, and a celestial crater in the central desert, Alice must go on a journey to discover that the most powerful story she will ever possess is her own.

My Review 

THE LOST FLOWERS OF ALICE HART is a haunting tale of family secrets, betrayal, and how the stories of the past impact the future.

Alice Hart grows up with an abusive father and downtrodden mother who still does her best to protect her daughter and teach her the language of native Australian flowers that she had learned from her mother in law. When tragedy strikes Alice is taken in by her grandmother, June. June is a flower farmer who takes in women doing it tough and caretaker of the language of flowers created by her ancestors and their family history. When Alice takes of to the Australian desert where she discovers that she is doomed to repeat the tragic history of her past unless she is able to come to terms with her own story.

I loved the language of Australian native flowers that Ringland created to tell this story. Each chapter begins with a description of a different native flower and what it means in the language created by Alice’s family. THE LOST FLOWERS OF ALICE HART is a brilliantly crafted debut novel that will definitely appeal to a wide audience.

*Thank you HarperCollins Publishers for sending me a copy to review.

About the Author

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Holly Ringland

HOLLY RINGLAND grew up barefoot and wild in her mother’s tropical garden on the east coast of Australia. Her interest in cultures and stories was sparked by a two-year journey her family took in North America when she was nine years old, living in a camper van and travelling from one national park to another. In her twenties, Holly worked for four years in a remote Indigenous community in the central Australian desert. Moving to England in 2009, Holly obtained her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. Her essays and short fiction have been published in various anthologies and literary journals. She now lives between the UK and Australia. To any question ever asked of Holly about growing up, writing has always been the answer.

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book launch at Dymocks 234 Melbourne

I had the most amazing time at the Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event hosted by Dymocks 234 Collins Street. Thank you very much to all of the wonderful people at Dymocks who hosted such a fun, beautifully organised, and well planned, event in one of the most beautiful book stores in Melbourne!

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event at Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne

Didn’t the team at HarperCollins Publishers Australia did an amazing job on the cover and display artwork of Beautiful Messy Love!

 

 

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event at Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne

Here is another lovely set-up by Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne, as well as a very full basket of donations for Share the Dignity!

 

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event at Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne

I have to admit I felt a little bit nervous being on the stage, but Tess is amazing in front of an audience and we chatted about all sorts of interesting things, including romance, love, feminism, writing, books, and Australian Rules Football. I will update how Tess went with her footy tips for this weekend on Monday! I particularly loved that there were lots of questions from the amazing audience. Thank you so much to everybody who attended, it was so lovely to meet all you.

 

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event at Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne. Jade St Clair and Tess Woods.

 

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event at Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne. Jade St Clair and Wes.

Tess and I were exhausted by the end of the night but we had a ball! Thank you again to every single person who came and worked together to put on such a fantastic bookish evening. And a very special thank you to Tess for having me last night and for writing two of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a long time. I can’t wait to read your next one!

 

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event at Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne. Jade St Clair and Tess Woods.

 

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Love at First Flight and Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Launch: ‘The First Year’ by Genevieve Gannon @Gen_Gannon

About the Book

‘Genevieve Gannon writes with a fresh and funny narrative voice … chick lit at its very, very best’ Tess Woods, author of Love at First Flight

The first year of marriage is hard no matter what. Throw in jealous exes, high-pressure careers and two wildly different families, and the degree of difficulty goes up a few more notches. Determined to beat the odds, one couple comes up with a plan to keep their romance alive – but life has other ideas.

Saskia is an up-and-coming jewellery designer, waiting tables at a trendy cafe to keep her fledgling company afloat. Andrew is a corporate lawyer who wants to be known for more than his family’s money. They’re passionate about their work and each other, but with Andy’s job in jeopardy and Saskia’s jewellery label taking off, the pressure is taking its toll.

As life pulls them in different directions, the two of them are forced to decide: Just how important is their marriage? And how hard are they willing to work to protect it?

‘A clever and entertaining read-into-the-wee-hours-of-morning story about love, creativity and the things that make us tick. Genevieve Gannon writes with passion and wit in a story you’ll relate to whether you’ve struggled through love, art or the wrath of public transport ticket inspectors.’ Claire Varley, author of The Bit in Between

Details

Title: The First Year 

Author: Genevieve Gannon

ISBN: 9781460708460

Published: April 24th 2017 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia

Genre: Chick Lit, Romance, Romantic Comedy

I’m looking forward to reading this one with a nice coffee or two!!

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An Interview with Tess Woods – Australian Romance Author

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It’s a very exciting day on the blog today because I am joined by the absolutely brilliant (and all-round beautiful person) Australian romance author, Tess Woods!

Tess Woods is a physiotherapist who lives in Perth, Australia with one husband, two children, one dog and one cat who rules over all of them. Her first novel, Love at First Flight, released by HarperCollins in April 2015, received worldwide critical acclaim, hit the best-seller charts in Australia and was voted Book of the Year in the AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Awards 2015 where Tess was also top ten nominated as Best New Author. Love at First Flight was the first HarperCollins Australia digital book to be given a print release in August 2016.  Tess’s short story, Destiny in a Day,  released in the anthologyHot Stuff: Surfing Love is set in beautiful Cornwall, where she dreams of living one day and Tess is currently working on her second full-length novel, Beautiful Messy Love. When she isn’t working or being a personal assistant to her kids, Tess enjoys reading and all kinds of grannyish pleasures like knitting, baking, drinking tea, watching Downton Abbey and tending to the veggie patch.

If you haven’t already heard me raving about how much I enjoyed Love at First Flight you can check out my glowing 5 star review. 

Thank you so much for joining me on the blog today, Tess. It looks like you had an amazing time at the print launch of Love at First Flight! Can you give us the run-down on how you celebrated?

After eleven re-writes and a total of twenty-seven rejections and after waiting more than seven years for this book to go to print – there was no way I was launching small!

We celebrated at the gorgeous Sportsman’s Observation Bar which has great views of Scarborough where the book was set. We spent two days decorating the venue until it was a sea of red and white to complement Mel’s dress on the cover of Love at First Flight and the whole evening was Flight themed.

We had a twelve-person flight crew – including eight cabin crew serving food on silver trolleys, four cabin crew checking ‘boarding pass’ invitations and a pilot and co-pilot greeting guests after they walked along our ‘runway’ themed entrance carpet to come into the ‘departure lounge’ just like the first chapter of Love at First Flight.

The band and even our booksellers from Dymocks dressed up as cabin crew too – and that wasn’t even requested by me, it was a surprise!

When guests arrived they enjoyed drinks at the departure lounge bar and entrees of hot and cold food served by our gorgeous cabin crew girls (my mum, best friend Sarah and I had cooked for days beforehand.)

Then a pre-recorded boarding call from the captain was played and everyone prepared for the flight to take off by gathering around and listening to the lovely MC, Serenity Press publisher Karen McDermott, introduce Monique Mulligan and I for our ‘Stories on Stage’ interview. It was great fun doing my first live interview with Monique.

After the interview, I signed books for well over an hour while the on board band, the amazing girl group Velvet Amps, hit the stage and the dance floor quickly filled up while our truckload of gourmet pizzas arrived (it had to be delivered in two lots!) to feed our two hundred passengers.

We had a birthday surprise mud cake for one special passenger that we all shared for dessert and then the band and disco kicked on until we ‘landed in Melbourne’ at midnight.

People kept telling me that I was missing my own party because of how long I spent sitting there signing books but what they didn’t understand was that that WAS my ultimate party – meeting so many of my readers for the first time was heavenly for me.

I loved having a mix of family, friends, my children’s teachers, authors, press and readers all together under the one roof.

It truly was one of the best nights of my life! Here are some pics :).

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Thank you for sharing such wonderful launch photos with us! It’s lovely to hear that you had such a fantastic night and very well-deserved.

Love at First Flight was originally published as an e-book. What was the process like to get ready for the print launch?

It was an awful lot of hard work from a village of people but so worth it in the end. The eBook version went through a big structural edit followed by a proof read, all of which I was heavily involved in.

The cover design team came up with that STUNNING cover (I’m still able to stare it as the minutes tick by).

The sales team worked super hard to get the book widespread exposure by convincing all the booksellers just how much they needed my book at the front of their stores.

The marketing and promotions team arranged great competitions and other promotional activities such as scoring me a stand at all WH Smith airport shops as August’s Fresh New Talent.

The digital design team made all my digitally shareable images and logos, my cover images for social media and they made sure they Tweeted all my news.

My tireless publicist worked her fingers to the bone making sure the book landed in all the right hands (like Marian Keyes if you don’t mind) and organising my intense six week book tour – liaising with print, radio and online press, booksellers, libraries, photographers and book bloggers on my behalf.

And my publisher oversaw the whole process and  fielded daily spam emails from me with a bazillion questions.

Quite a monumental effort for all concerned!

I actually wrote a blog about this process, outlining what happens in a publishing house for a book to get to print that I thought aspiring authors who are submitting to publishers might like to read. Here’s the link –

http://www.tesswoods.com.au/getting-published.html

It’s fascinating to hear about all of the work that went into getting launch ready and how all the different teams work together. And I have to agree, it is a beautiful cover!

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I really loved the settings of Perth and Melbourne in Love at First Flight. I thought the sunny beaches of Perth were the perfect backdrop for Mel’s ‘dream’ life while angsty old Melbourne was the obvious setting for a torrid and emotional love affair. Since you clearly know both cities so well, what is your number one thing to do in Melbourne and in Perth?

Well you said it for Perth, I don’t think you can beat our coastline.

We pulled our kids out of school for three months a few years ago and travelled around the Australian coast. Admittedly we cut through Alice Springs so we didn’t see the coast in Darwin but we have seen the rest of the coast and nothing compares to WA’s white caster sugar sandy beaches and aqua waters of the Indian Ocean.

For me, you can’t beat the beauty and vibe of Scarborough Beach in Perth which is stunning beach day and comes alive every night with its pub and café culture.

My number one thing to do in Melbourne is exactly what Mel and Sarah went to Melbourne for in Love at First Flight – shop! The shopping is AMAZING – it leaves Perth for dead in that area. My favourite place to shop in Melbourne is Bridge Road, Richmond. I do love me a good bargain and I love being outside street shopping more than enclosed shopping centres.

I think Perth’s beaches definitely have the edge over Melbourne. Especially at the moment, I almost got blown away the last time I went for a walk on the beach!

And finally, I’m dying to know if you have been working on anything new lately?

I’ve actually finished the loose sequel to Love at First Flight, called Beautiful Messy Love – it’s about Mel’s children who are teenagers in Love at First Flight but who are now in their twenties.

Nick is Australia’s highest paid AFL player with a notorious reputation whose world is turned upside down when he has a chance meeting with Anna, a Muslim refugee with a tragic past. And Lily is a student doctor who finds herself falling deeply in love with Toby, the husband of her dying cancer patient.

Love at First Flight was told from Mel and Matt’s perspective – I’ve doubled that this time! Beautiful Messy Love is told from Nick’s, Anna’s, Lily’s and Nick’s perspectives.

I’m crazy in love with this book – I like it so much more than I liked Love at First Flight and I can’t wait to share it with my readers although I’m sure it’s going to cause an outrage among certain groups of people when it’s released. It makes Love at First Flight seem like a Little Golden Book by comparison….stay tuned!

Well, you have just officially made my day! I can not wait to get Beautiful Messy Love in my hands. Thank you so much for joining me on the blog today xx