Tell Me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson | Friends of Bookends Reviews

Tell Me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson | Friends of Bookends Reviews

“Personally, my favoured books always have strongly defined characters. Having read several Dorothy Koomson novels before, I was eager to read Tell Me Your Secret and experience the deeply thought-out characters I have come to know this author for. I was not disappointed.

Pieta has survived a harrowing experience with ‘The Blindfolder,’ a psychopath who kidnaps and tortures women for 48 hours then lets them go…So long as they keep their eyes closed the whole time. Oh, and he brands a number into their backs too. So far, so psycho. Jody is a Detective Inspector charged with finding the Blindfolder after Callie, another victim, comes forward publicly.

Without giving too much away, this book provides twists and turns that I definitely didn’t see coming. Koomson drip-feeds details of Pieta’s attack at just the right rate to ramp up the suspense and pressure. Frequently Pieta’s recollections of her ordeal snap sharply back to the present, creating a sense of menace and leaving the reader to wonder just who can be trusted. I feel like a also need to mention Kobi, Pieta’s son: So many authors are unable to write realistic children, Koomson does a stellar job here. This is quite some skill considering how well the psychopathic characters are written too!

I was so pleased with this book. I looked forward to reading it each day and gobbled it up in huge chunks! Existing fans of Dorothy Koomson will not be disappointed and new readers are sure to be delighted.”

Angie – Friends of Bookends reviewer

Get your copy of Tell Me Your Secret here

Her Last Promise by Kathryn Hughes

Her Last Promise by Kathryn Hughes

A mysterious letter from Spain. A surprising new beginning…

Fall in love this summer with Her Last Promise, a gripping, heartwrenching story of how hope can blossom in the ruins of tragedy and of the redeeming power of love. From No. 1 bestselling author Kathryn Hughes.

What real readers are saying about Her Last Promise

‘Hope rises from despair and new beginnings are forged in the most extraordinary and unexpected way. Kathryn Hughes delves deeply into the heart and soul of her characters, making them totally relatable…like friends you really care for. My addiction to this novel was total and uncompromising *****’

‘Wonderful! First book I have read by Kathryn Hughes and will now read her previous stories. I loved it *****’

‘Another great story from Kathryn Hughes *****’

‘As always, a lovely story by Kathryn Hughes *****’

‘I really enjoyed this book, especially the nostalgic 1970’s descriptions ****’

Tara Richards was just a girl when she lost her mother. Years later when Tara receives a letter from a London solicitor its contents shake her to the core. Someone has left her a key to a safe deposit box. In the box lies an object that will change everything Tara thought she knew and lead her on a journey to deepest Spain in search of the answers that have haunted her for forty years.

Violet Skye regrets her decision to travel abroad leaving her young daughter behind. As the sun dips below the mountains, she reminds herself she is doing this for their future. Tonight, 4th June 1978, will be the start of a new life for them. This night will indeed change Violet’s destiny, in the most unexpected of ways…

Buy your copy of Her Last Promise by Kathryn Hughes here

Tell Me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson

Tell Me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson

The new emotional thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Ice Cream GirlsMy Best Friend’s Girl and The Brighton Mermaid. Dorothy Koomson, ‘Queen of the big reveal’, is back with a gripping page-turner full of twists and turns.

Pieta has a secret.
Ten years ago, Pieta was kidnapped by a man calling himself The Blindfolder who said he wouldn’t kill her if she kept her eyes closed for 48 hours. She never told anyone what happened to her, vowing to move on with her life. But when The Blindfolder starts hunting down his past victims, Pieta realises she may finally be forced to tell her deepest secret to stay alive . . .

Jody has a secret.
Fifteen years ago, policewoman Jody made a terrible mistake that resulted in a serial killer known as The Blindfolder escaping justice. When Jody discovers journalist Pieta survived an attack by him, she realises she may finally have found a way to catch him. But that would mean endangering at least two innocent people . . .

They kept quiet to protect themselves.
Will telling all save or sacrifice each other?

Buy your copy of Tell Me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson here

Her Last Promise, the new book from Kathryn Hughes it out now!

Her Last Promise, the new book from Kathryn Hughes it out now!

Get your kindles ready, as Kathryn Hughes is back with an uplifting, gripping and heart wrenching story of how hope can blossom in the ruins of tragedy and of the redeeming power of love.

A mysterious letter from Spain. A surprising new beginning…

Tara Richards was just a girl when she lost her mother. Years later when Tara receives a letter from a London solicitor its contents shake her to the core. Someone has left her a key to a safe deposit box. In the box lies an object that will change everything Tara thought she knew and lead her on a journey to deepest Spain in search of the answers that have haunted her for forty years.

Violet Skye regrets her decision to travel abroad leaving her young daughter behind. As the sun dips below the mountains, she reminds herself she is doing this for their future. Tonight, 4th June 1978, will be the start of a new life for them. This night will indeed change Violet’s destiny, in the most unexpected of ways…

What real readers are saying about Her Last Promise

‘Hope rises from despair and new beginnings are forged in the most extraordinary and unexpected way. Kathryn Hughes delves deeply into the heart and soul of her characters, making them totally relatable…like friends you really care for. My addiction to this novel was total and uncompromising *****’

‘Wonderful! First book I have read by Kathryn Hughes and will now read her previous stories. I loved it *****’

‘Another great story from Kathryn Hughes *****’

‘As always, a lovely story by Kathryn Hughes *****’

‘I really enjoyed this book, especially the nostalgic 1970’s descriptions ****’

And for a limited time only, you can get Kathryn’s new book for just 99p on Kindle! Get your copy of Her Last Promise here.

Read an exclusive extract of Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls!

Read an exclusive extract of Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls!

Owen Nicholls’ Love, Unscripted follows film projectionist Nick as he tries to understand the difference between love on the silver screen and love in real life. Perfect for fans of romcoms, David Nicholls and Nick Hornby.

‘Sometimes a book comes along and it feels dusted with magic – Love, Unscripted is one of those books. Nostalgic, tender and achingly cool’ Josie Silver, author of One Day in December 

‘A complete delight for film lovers (and lovers of love)’ Holly Bourne

For film projectionist Nick, love should mirror what he sees on the big screen. And when he falls for Ellie on the eve of the 2008 presidential election, it finally does.

For four blissful years, Nick loved Ellie as much as he loved his job splicing film reels together in the local cinema. Life seemed… picture-perfect.

But now it’s 2012, Ellie has moved out and Nick’s trying to figure out where it all went wrong.

With Ellie gone and his life far from the happy ending he imagined, Nick wonders if their romance could ever again be as perfect as the night they met.

Can love really be as it is in the movies?

Click here to read the first two chapters of Love, Unscripted

Love, Unscripted is out in ebook on 1st June and in hardback on 22nd August. Get your copy here.

Our top choices for the bank holiday weekend!

Our top choices for the bank holiday weekend!

Here at Team Bookends, we’ve rounded up our top reading picks for the long May bank holiday weekend! What will you be reading?

Maybe This Time by Jill Mansell

‘This one has been on my to read pile all year and I can’t wait to finally have some free time this bank holiday weekend to fully immerse myself in the new Jill Mansell! The book follows Mimi as she encounters unexpected love…but is it meant to be?’
Ellie, Team Bookends

Buy Maybe This Time here!

FOUR by Andy Jones

‘My Bank Holiday pick is FOUR, the latest gripping novel from Andy Jones with a messy moral dilemma at its heart. The book follows three lifelong friends, Mike, Sally and Al – approaching their fortieth birthdays, each with their share of heartaches and regrets – who take a weekend trip to Brighton with Faye, Mike’s carefree, young girlfriend. A story of old loves, missed chances, and one reckless night with far-reaching consequences, this book will have you pining for a (hopefully less eventful!) getaway to the seaside this weekend.’
Amy, Team Bookends

Buy FOUR here!

Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts

‘There’s no better escapism than being swept up in this whirlwind of a novel and finding yourself in the land of Oz! Told from the perspective of the author L. Frank Baum’s intrepid wife Maud, this richly told story from Elizabeth Letts takes you backstage on one of the most famous movies ever made, and lifts the curtain on a tale of love, magic and one incredible woman. The perfect read to sweep you away this bank holiday!’
Hannah, Team Bookends

Buy Finding Dorothy here!

The Hideaway by Sheila O’Flanagan

‘The Hideaway is the PERFECT summer reading book – so why not start your summer this weekend? The Spanish location is truly escapist, as the novel sees Juno have a shocking and life-altering revelation. Juno might have run away from her secrets, but the past isn’t finished with her…’
Ellie, Team Bookends

Buy The Hideaway here!

The Lost Son by Prue Leith

‘Get inspired this weekend by Bake Off judge Prue Leith’s wonderful new novel The Lost Son. This story follows the Angelottis – a family of Italian cooks and restauranteurs, as they deal with the devastating consequences of the son given up for adoption during the war returning to the fold. Be enticed by the gorgeous foodie description, but stay for the heart warming family narrative. And with the long weekend at your fingertips, why not whip up a delicious Italian dish to work your way through as you devour the book!’
Hannah, Team Bookends

Buy The Lost Son here!

A Cure for Heartache by Mary Jane Grant

‘The other book I’ll be dipping into this Bank Holiday is A CURE FOR HEARTACHE, writer Mary Jane Grant’s uplifting book about moving forward and learning to live in the moment after her 25-year marriage came to an abrupt and painful end. From the bustling cafes of Camden and the pastel-coloured streets of Primrose Hill, to the sun soaked vineyards of the south of France, her journey leads her to rich new experiences that she could never have imagined in her old life. Beautifully told, this is a story about what happens when you embrace life, whatever it may bring, with surprising – and joyful – results. The perfect heartwarming read to get lost in this long weekend!’
Amy, Team Bookends

Buy A Cure for Heartache here!

Kelly Rimmer on writing in two genres: how writing my new contemporary romance series differed from writing my women’s fiction novels

Kelly Rimmer on writing in two genres: how writing my new contemporary romance series differed from writing my women’s fiction novels

If you’ve read any of my six previous novels, you probably know that I like to write emotional stories. They don’t always have the happiest of endings, although I do try to find something uplifting to land on over the last few pages! But the topics I have loved exploring over the last few years have been complex, difficult issues; things like domestic violence and forced adoption and drug addiction. My most recent book, The Things We Cannot Say, covers the joy and challenge of raising a child with autism, and tells the story of a young couple caught up in occupied Poland during World War Two! These books are incredibly research intensive and sometimes really difficult to write. I am putting my characters through hell, and some writing days for me literally are me sitting at the keyboard listening to emotional music while I type and sob. Even so, I love the way these books challenge me and make me think. I’ve learned so much about so many things as I wrote these books. My own opinions have been stretched and then changed and, although it might sound crazy to say, they forced me to empathise with people very different to me. Because of that, I feel like the way I love my fellow human beings has been deepened.

All that’s to say, I love my emotional fiction and I hope I’m lucky enough to write these kinds of books forever. But in 2016, I’d just written my book A Mother’s Confession (which is about domestic violence) and my book Before I Let You Go (which is about two sisters trying to navigate a complex legal situation after one is caught up in a drug addiction…while pregnant). I remember having coffee with a friend and she said to me something like ‘it must feel like you’ve been through both of these harrowing, life changing experiences at the same time’. Of course, fiction isn’t reality and I wasn’t quite that burnt out, but I suppose I was a little tired.

The problem is that I love writing. It’s my passion. My hobby. My favourite thing in the world to do (other than spending time with family and dogs, naturally). I felt like I needed a break from sitting at the keyboard sobbing, but I didn’t want to stop writing for any significant period of time.

I was pondering all of this when my friend shattered her ankle. It was an awful injury and she was trapped at home for months, basically immobile. I asked her what she was doing to fill her days and she told me she was reading romance novels. She was basically devouring them – dozens a week. Escaping into a world safe from the difficulties of her real life was saving her and I loved the idea that she’d found such solace in books. A few days later, I heard a podcast featuring romance novelist Kylie Scott. Kylie and I are both Australian and we happen to share our agent, and I was fascinated with her story. I bought one of her books…and by the end of the week, I’d read everything she’d ever written (except the zombie stuff. I’m terrified of zombies!).

It felt a bit like the answer to my ‘what to do now’ question had landed in my lap. A few years earlier, I had two characters pop into my mind, and I knew they didn’t belong in one of my women’s fiction stories. I decided I’d take Abby and Marcus, lifelong best friends, and try to give them a happy-ever-after. Their story absolutely poured out of me, and by the time I was halfway done, I’d already come up with ideas for their friends Paul and Isabel, and Jessica and Jake. The Start Up In the City series had been born.

It would be an understatement to say I loved writing these books. They are very different to my earlier novels – very modern, a bit steamy, and quite light-hearted. That’s not to say I don’t put these characters through hell, because sometimes I do. But these books will always end with our hero and heroine figuring it all out and finding a way to be together.

My women’s fiction novels are intended to entertain, but also to challenge and education and inspire. My contemporary romance novels will hopefully do all of that too, but they are intended to be a delicious escape from the challenges of the real world, and a reminder that in the end, love is everything we have.

Get your copy of The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer here!

Exclusive sneak-peek preview of My Lemon Grove Summer by Jo Thomas

Exclusive sneak-peek preview of My Lemon Grove Summer by Jo Thomas

We have an exclusive sneak-peek extract of the stunning new novel from award-winning author, Jo Thomas. Set in the sunny lemon groves of Sicily, My Lemon Grove Summer follows Zelda as she tries to find a second-chance.

Zelda’s impulsive nature has got her precisely nowhere up until now. A fresh start in a beautiful hilltop town in Sicily looking for new residents, together with her best friend Lennie, could be just what she needs. And who better to settle down with than the person who knows her best?

But the sun-filled skies and sparkling seas can’t hide the shadow hanging over Citta d’Ora, which means not everyone is pleased to see their arrival. The dreams Zelda and her fellow new residents had of setting up a new life might be slipping away. But a friendship with restauranteur Luca could be about to unlock the possibilities that lie in the local lemon groves. And there’s a wedding on the horizon that might be just what the town needs to turn it around…

Could a summer in Sicily help Zelda learn to trust her instinct and follow her heart?

Click here to read the first chapter of My Lemon Grove Summer

Click here to buy My Lemon Grove Summer

My Lemon Grove Summer

My Lemon Grove Summer is out in ebook on 6th June 2019 and in paperback and audio 11th July 2019

The best 99p ebook deals this May!

The best 99p ebook deals this May!

Team Bookends have got the eBook bargain for you this May. From a classic by Jill Mansell to Celia Imrie‘s autobiography, there’s something for everyone!

Staying at Daisy’s by Jill Mansell

The perfect read for those long summer days, from Jill Mansell, Sunday Times bestselling author of MAYBE THIS TIME. Not to be missed if you love the novels of Katie Fforde and Milly Johnson.

Daisy MacLean runs the country house hotel owned by her flamboyant father, Hector. When she hears who’s about to get married there, she isn’t worried at all – her friend Tara absolutely promises there won’t be any trouble between her and ex-boyfriend Dominic, whom she hasn’t seen for years. But Dominic has other ideas…

Meanwhile, Hector’s getting up to all sorts with…well, that’s the village’s best kept secret.

And then Barney turns up, with a little something belonging to the husband Daisy’s been doing her best to forget.

That’s the thing about hotels, you never know who you’re going to meet. Or whether they’re going to stay…

The Oceans Between Us by Gill Thompson

Inspired by heartrending true events, a mother fights to find her son and a child battles for survival in this riveting debut novel.

‘A warm-hearted tale of love, loss and indefatigable human spirit’ Kathryn Hughes

For readers of Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, The Letter by Kathryn Hughes, and Remember Me by Lesley Pearse.

A woman is found wandering injured in London after an air raid. She remembers nothing of who she is. Only that she has lost something very precious.

As the little boy waits in the orphanage, he hopes his mother will return. But then he finds himself on board a ship bound for Australia, the promise of a golden life ahead, and wonders: how will she find him in a land across the oceans?

In Perth, a lonely wife takes in the orphaned child. But then she discovers the secret of his past. Should she keep quiet? Or tell the truth and risk losing the boy who has become her life?

This magnificent, moving novel, set in London and Australia, is testament to the strength of the human spirit and the enduring power of love.

The Happy Hoofer by Celia Imrie

One of our best-loved actresses, Celia Imrie has become one of our finest and funniest performers, on stage, TV and screen – adored for her roles in Acorn Antiques and Dinnerladies, as well as films including Calendar Girls and Nanny McPhee.

In her hugely entertaining autobiography Celia Imrie recounts a life hurtling (not always intentionally) into adventures both on stage and off. Whether it’s finding herself on stage with half the scenery stuck to her cardigan, or being kidnapped on her way to location, somehow she emerges from the chaos unscathed.

Acting, she admits, is a mad, chaotic profession and it is her refreshing honesty, sense of mischief, fun and almost unruffled determination in the face of it all that makes this autobiography a never-ending delight.

One Small Act of Kindness by Lucy Dillon

What can you do to make the world a better place?

Libby and her husband Jason have moved back to his hometown to turn the family B&B into a boutique hotel. They have left London behind and all the memories – good and bad – that went with it.

The injured woman Libby finds lying in the remote country road has lost her memory. She doesn’t know why she came to be there, and no one seems to be looking for her.

When Libby offers to take her in, this one small act of kindness sets in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of all of them…

Gifts for Our Time by Anna Jacobs

Germany 1939, and Christa Sommer boards the Kindertransport, unsure that she’ll ever see her beloved mother and father again.

Once in England she is taken in by elderly Mrs Pelling, who grows to love Christa as the daughter she never had.

But in 1945 Mrs Pelling dies.  While her will cannot be found, her money-grabbing niece appears out of the blue to claim her inheritance and turfs Christa out, with only a suitcase to her name. The prejudice against Germans still runs high in England, and Christa is unable to secure a job or a place to stay.

Luck comes her way when she saves a lady from a mugging, and is taken to Rivenshaw to start a new life. There Christa is welcomed with open arms and she soon develops a love for the place, the people, and the handsome Daniel. But is Rivenshaw the trouble-free sanctuary she first thinks?

The Mother in law by Sally Hepworth

From the bestselling author of The Family Next Door comes a new domestic page-turner about that trickiest of relationships and what happens when it all goes wrong.

She has never approved of you. But it’s when her body is found the secrets really start to come out…

From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. 

Now, Diana has been found dead, a suicide note near her body.  Diana claims that she no longer wanted to live because of a battle with cancer. But the autopsy finds no cancer. The autopsy does find traces of poison and suffocation.

Everyone in the family is hiding something. But what? And where will the secrets stop?

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

‘Honest and poignant’ Elle

When Sarah falls for Matthew, she falls hard.

So it doesn’t matter that he’s twenty years older. That he sees her only in secret. That, slowly but surely, she’s sacrificing everything else in her life to be with him.

Sarah’s friends are worried. Her father can’t understand how she could allow herself to be used like this. And she’s on the verge of losing her job.

But Sarah can’t help it. She is addicted to being desired by Matthew.

And love is supposed to hurt.

Isn’t it?

Believe Me by JP Delaney

Claire Wright likes to play other people.

A British drama student, in New York without a green card, Claire takes the only job she can get: working for a firm of divorce lawyers, posing as an easy pick-up in hotel bars to entrap straying husbands.

When one of her targets becomes the subject of a murder investigation, the police ask Claire to use her acting skills to help lure their suspect into a confession. And that’s when Claire realises she’s playing the deadliest role of her life . . .

‘Imaginative, unusual, clever and fun’ – Sunday Times

Exclusive sneak-peek of The First Time I Saw You by Emma Cooper

Exclusive sneak-peek of The First Time I Saw You by Emma Cooper

The First Time I Saw You is the new novel by Emma Cooper, out in ebook on 1st July and in paperback on 19th September

Lost:
Six-foot-two Irish man who answers to the name Samuel McLaughlin. 
Has weak shins and enjoys show tunes.
If found, please return to Sophie Williams.

Before Sophie met Samuel she saw the world in grey. 
Before Samuel met Sophie, he never believed in love at first sight.

When they first meet, something tells them they are meant to be. 
But fate has other ideas.

Now they have lost each other and can’t see a way back. 
But they’ve already changed each other’s lives in more ways 
than they ever expected…

Download a super-exclusive sneak-peek of the new book by Emma Cooper, author of The Songs of Us.

Click here to read!

Click here to get your copy of The First Time I Saw You!