The Root Of All Evil?: A Guest Post by Colette McCormick, Author of An Uncomplicated Man

An Uncomplicated Man

Recently I reviewed a book that’s been on my TBR for six years so I keep telling myself that I will eventually get to read something by Colette McCormick! All my blogger friends tell me her writing is wonderful and today we’re celebrating her latest release, An Uncomplicated Man with a smashing guest post by Colette.

Previously I’ve had chance on Linda’s Book Bag to ‘stay in’ with Colette to chat all about her novel Ribbons in Her Hair in a post you can read here as well as host a brilliant guest post here from Colette called What Happened Next when she explained all about her journey to publication for Things I Should Have Said And Done. Colette also let blog readers into the secret behind the title of her book What’s in A Name here!

Published yesterday 5th December 2019 by Headline Accent, An Uncomplicated Man is available for purchase here.

An Uncomplicated Man

An Uncomplicated Man

What if the man in your life isn’t who he says he is?

Daniel Laither is a mild-mannered and uncomplicated bank manager, but when his boss asks him for a favour, things begin to get tangled. Introduced to businessman Arthur Braithwaite, Daniel reluctantly agrees to a financial arrangement that will create an unbreakable link between them.

When Daniel meets Lucy, Braithwaite’s daughter, he becomes a man obsessed. From the steamy afternoons spent together in hotel rooms, to evenings out with Lucy in fancy restaurants, Daniel’s life moves a million miles from the one he’d had.

He finds himself lying to his friends, his colleagues and, most importantly, his wife. He borrows money from a loan shark to afford this double life, but when the debt demands to be paid, he contemplates stealing from the bank. When Lucy falls pregnant and Braithwaite insists upon a marriage, Daniel has to choose between his two lives…

The Root of All Evil?

A Guest Post by Colette McCormick

The bible says that ‘the love of money is the root of all evil,’ and while he didn’t ‘love’ money, his ‘need’ for money certainly had a large part to play in the life of the uncomplicated man that was Daniel Laither. It was the means to an end that he hoped would be his.

His downfall begins when he reluctantly engages in a financial arrangement with a very wealthy man. However, his real problems start after his head is turned by a pretty face, and not just any pretty face. Lucy is the daughter of the very wealthy man he is doing business with. When she sets her cap at Daniel, he is helpless and he cannot resist what she is offering. But all of her life Lucy has been used to the finer things in life – things that come at a price and it’s a price that Daniel will have to pay if he wants to keep her.

But Lucy has another suitor, one that can easily afford the things that she likes, so how is Daniel supposed to compete?

By spending money that he doesn’t have, that’s how.

In the 1980’s when credit was easy to get, living beyond our means was practically a national pastime. We were all borrowing money to buy the things that we wanted and look where that landed us. But this isn’t the 1980’s, it’s 1957 when ordinary people didn’t borrow money for frivolities. They didn’t need money to make them happy. They’d lived through the war, were thankful for what they had and counted their blessings. The first lesson that my Economics teacher taught us was that if expenditure is regularly greater than income (X > Y), it is a one-way ticket to disaster and that is something that Daniel learned to his cost.As a bank manager, you’d think that he would already know it, but when we’re not thinking straight, we all do stupid things.

In an attempt to not lose the woman that he has become obsessed with, Daniel drains the savings and spends money that he doesn’t have. When that is still not enough, what else can he do? How low is he prepared to sink? Are there any lengths to which he will not go?

The bible also says that no man can have two gods. Daniel didn’t have two gods, he had one and her name was Lucy.

(Now that has made me even more determined to push An Uncomplicated Man up to the top of my TBR! Thanks Colette.)

About Colette McCormick

Colette blue

Originally a city girl, Colette has made her home in a one of the many former mining villages in County Durham. When not working as a retail manager for a large children’s charity she will more than likely be writing, even if it’s only a shopping list. She also enjoys cooking, gardening and taking the dog on long walks in the countryside near her home. She has been married for almost forty years and has two grown up sons.

To find out more, follow Colette on Twitter @colettemcauthor, find her on Facebook and Instagram or visit her blog.

The Carer by Deborah Moggach

The Carer

It was lovely book publicist Georgina Moore who sent me a surprise copy of The Carer by Deborah Moggach many months ago and I have been desperate to read it ever since. Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review and would like to extend my grateful thanks to Georgina for the opportunity to read The Carer.

Published by Headline imprint Tinder Press, The Carer is available for purchase through the links here.

The Carer

The Carer

From the bestselling author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Tulip Fevera deliciously funny, poignant and wry novel, full of surprising twists and turns:

James is getting on a bit and needs full-time help. So Phoebe and Robert, his middle-aged offspring, employ Mandy, who seems willing to take him off their hands. But as James regales his family with tales of Mandy’s virtues, their shopping trips and the shared pleasure of their journeys to garden centres, Phoebe and Robert sense something is amiss.

Then something extraordinary happens which throws everything into new relief, changing all the stories of their childhood – and the father – that they thought they knew so well.

My Review of The Carer

Phoebe and Robert might get more than they bargain for when they hire Mandy to look after their father, James.

My goodness I loved The Carer. It’s years since I read a Deborah Moggach book and The Carer illustrates just what I’ve been missing. Her style is so fluid, perceptive, drily homorous and empathetic it’s as if she has looked into the soul of humanity and recreated it on the page. The conversational style of The Carer makes it feel as if the author is recounting the events face to face, making for an intimate reading experience.

Deborah Moggach’s characters are simply wonderful. Her depiction of the parent child relationship between Phoebe, Robert and James illustrates with piercing accuracy the dynamics of everyday life. Both struggling with their own identities, Phoebe and Robert hardly pause to think about their parents, and James in particular, making them both realistic individuals. In The Carer, the reader is shown with unnerving accuracy how petty, commonplace life shapes a person just as much as life changing events do. I thought this aspect of the novel was stunning and Mandy’s character in particular was so well drawn. I’m not entirely sure I really warmed to any of the people I found between the pages of The Carer and I wouldn’t have any of them as friends, but Deborah Moggach still made me care about them all to the extent that I even shed a tear. This is masterful writing.

Whilst The Carer is very much a character driven story, the plot is a cracker too. I simply didn’t expect the many of the events and, although I can’t say more for fear of spoiling the read, I so enjoyed the way the narrative unfolded.

Thematically, The Carer raises far more than just the exploration of how we care for our parents as they age. The true nature of love, family, guilt, rivalry, success and failure all weave in and out of the story so that, despite being a relatively short read, this book has marvellous depth and texture.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Carer – so much so that I devoured it in one sitting. The Carer is a book that helps us understand what it is to be a parent or a child, whatever our age, and Deborah Moggach teachers us to understand ourselves just as much as her characters. I thought it was wonderful.

About Deborah Moggach

deborah moggach

Deborah Moggach is the author of nineteen successful novels including the bestselling Tulip Fever. In 2012, her novel These Foolish Things was adapted for the screen under the title The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and starred Judi Dench, Dev Patel, Bill Nighy and Maggie Smith.

An award-winning screenwriter, she won a Writers’ Guild Award for her adaptation of Anne Fine’s Goggle-Eyes and her screenplay for the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice was nominated for a BAFTA.

Her television screenwriting credits include the acclaimed adaptations of her own novels Close Relations and Final Demand, as well as Nancy Mitford’s Love in a Cold Climate and The Diary of Anne Frank.

Deborah has been Chairman of the Society of Authors and worked for PEN’s Executive Committee. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, she was appointed an OBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List for services to literature and drama.

You can find out more on her website. You’ll also find Deborah on Facebook.

Gone by Leona Deakin


Way back in July a surprise packet arrived in the post and I was thrilled to find a copy of Gone by Leona Deakin inside.


Finally having got around to reading Gone, I can now see the significance of the materials that arrived! My enormous thanks to Hayley Barnes for inviting me to play the game on my first birthday – and you’ll have to read the book to see what I mean!

Published by Transworld/Penguin imprint Black Swan, Gone is available for purchase through these links.



Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read:


The police aren’t worried – it’s just a game. But the families are frantic. As psychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something that binds them all.

And that something makes them very dangerous indeed.

As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the missing people.

But what if, this time, they are the ones she should fear?

My Review of Gone

A dangerous game is being played.

Initially I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy Gone. There seemed to be so much going on and such a wide cast of characters that it took me a while to attune myself to the narrative, but once I had, I was gripped and simply had to know what was happening and how the story might be resolved. I would say that the reader almost has to become part of the story, weeding out red herrings from truth, trying to guess ahead, anticipate and predict the plot and I thoroughly enjoyed this element.

Indeed, Gone is a cleverly constructed narrative that twists and turns. It’s fast paced, surprising and devious – not unlike many of the characters playing the game!

I loved the word play on Seraphina and Augusta’s names. They couldn’t be more cleverly and appropriately named for their characters but it’s too much of a spoiler to explain more. Augusta Bloom’s back story is so interesting that I can’t wait to read more about her in future books. I have a feeling we haven’t seen the end of all the other characters in Gone either so the potential to discover more is tantalising.

The concept of what makes a psychopath and the nature versus nurture debate that underpins the story is compelling and quite disturbing. Leona Deakin’s research is exemplary so that these aspects of the book are authentic and so too is the exploration of identity. Reading Gone has unsettled my equilibrium, making me question how much I truly know about friends and family and quite how I might behave if I found myself caught up in similar circumstances.

I enjoyed Gone. It’s part detective book, part psychological thriller and although it took me a while to get into, I appreciated the fact that it made me think hard about modern society whilst making my heart beat just that little bit faster than is comfortable.  I suggest you read Gone for yourself to uncover what I’ve been hinting at! Let me just say that I’ll be scrutinising my birthday cards very carefully next April – and I won’t be doing any more online quizzes either!

About Leona Deakin

leona deakin

Leona Deakin started her career as a psychologist with the West Yorkshire Police. She is now an occupational psychologist and lives with her family in Leeds.

You can follow Leona on Twitter @LeonaDeakin1.

Spotlighting Single All The Way by Elaine Spires

Single All The Way Cover

I have to begin this blog post with an apology. I bought Single All The Way by lovely Elaine Spires four years ago tomorrow on 4th December 2015 and the book has been languishing on my TBR ever since. I’m so sorry I haven’t got round to reading it yet Elaine!

Single All The Way

When Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources invited me to participate in this blog blitz for Single All The Way, I knew I could atone a little for still not having read the book by at least telling others a bit about it, especially as I’ve met Elaine in real life too and she’s such a lovely person. What makes me feel even worse is that Elaine kindly provided a guest post for me when I first began blogging on writing whet you know. You can read that post here.

Single All The Way is available for purchase on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Single All The Way

Single All The Way Cover

Travel Together Tour Manager Eve Mitchell is planning a quiet Christmas at home to rest and relax before a special New Year.

But she soon, very unexpectedly, finds herself in the depths of the Essex countryside looking after a singles’ group which contains some old, familiar faces and some pleasant – and not so pleasant – new ones.

With its country walks, quizzes, disco and black-tie ball, the Christmas and Twixmas Break passes quickly, but just as they think it’s all over the plot takes a twist and we learn some dark secrets…

Don’t you think that sounds just perfect for this time of year?

About Elaine Spires

Single Author Pic

Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine’s keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels. Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles SeriesSingles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea.  Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series.

Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building was staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019.  Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019!  Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.

You can follow Elaine on Twitter @ElaineSWriter and find her on Facebook and Instagram. There’s more information on Elaine’s website too.

An Extract from Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies by Hayley Nolan

anne boleyn

I love a bit of history and if there’s intrigue involved all the better! Today I’m delighted to share the opening of a book waiting for me on my TBR pile – Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies by Hayley Nolan. My enormous thanks to Martina Ticic at Midas PR for sending me a copy of the book that I hope to review very soon and for inviting me to participate in this blog tour.

Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies is available for purchase in all the usual places including here.

Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies

anne boleyn

A bold new analysis of one of history’s most misrepresented women.

History has lied.

Anne Boleyn has been sold to us as a dark figure, a scheming seductress who bewitched Henry VIII into divorcing his queen and his church in an unprecedented display of passion. Quite the tragic love story, right?


In this electrifying exposé, Hayley Nolan explores for the first time the full, uncensored evidence of Anne Boleyn’s life and relationship with Henry VIII, revealing the shocking suppression of a powerful woman.

So leave all notions of outdated and romanticised folklore at the door and forget what you think you know about one of the Tudors’ most notorious queens. She may have been silenced for centuries, but this urgent book ensures Anne Boleyn’s voice is being heard now.


An Extract from Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies


The Part They Don’t Tell You

For most people, Anne Boleyn simply appeared at the Tudor court one day, an ice-hearted villain, ready to smarm and smirk her way into history. Yet there is an incredibly valid reason writers tend to brush over Anne’s early life, and that’s because it contradicts and spectacularly ruins the whole ‘scheming seductress’ image we’ve been repeatedly fed.

However, these aren’t just the revelations that have come to light in recent decades of a strict upbringing at the hands of several pious, powerhouse European monarchs – although this was indeed a long overdue, truthful counterargument to sixteenth-century propaganda that had Anne practically raised as a courtesan in the sex-driven boudoirs of the French courts. Not that even this admission of virtue would cause modern historians to stop and question how such an honourable upbringing could produce a depraved schemer who would soon stalk the halls of the Tudor court. In fact, it only served to add a delicious new element to their juicy story: that of the good girl gone bad.

But no, as it turns out, Anne’s childhood was more monumental than the mere fact that she was nurtured in the royal courts of the Low Countries and France; for she grew up in the pulsating heart of the religious Reformation. This meant that far from simply attending a finishing school that churned out well-bred young ladies brought up to honour and obey, Anne was taught instead to fight back against the questionable authority of Rome by the very activists who kick-started the Reformation.

This ‘fierce intelligence’ Anne was later said to possess was not used to outwit and bring down petty rivals at the royal court, but to join a war that was brewing across the whole of Europe. This was the rousing religious climate in which Anne thrived and became a passionate fighter for those who had not been afforded the same privileges in life as she; those who had not yet understood that they were being suppressed by what many saw as the all-dominating authority of the Church.

It’s only when we delve into Anne’s world during the vital years in which she entered adulthood – the people she grew up with, the court influences and hot topics debated daily – that we can truly grasp how laughable it is to say that she returned to England an unscrupulous temptress whose sole aim in life was to be flirty, frivolous and to frolic with kings.

Of course, even when taking her story back to the innocent years of her childhood, we have to wade through an onslaught of eye-roll-inducing lies. The obvious one we should get out of the way first is that Anne was banished abroad as punishment in adulthood. Contrary to what has been depicted in recent novels and movies, she was in fact sent on a prestigious placement as a child.

However, it would appear this lie wasn’t plucked entirely out of thin air and was inspired by sixteenth-century propagandist Nicholas Sander. One of his stories is that Anne was sent away to France after her father caught her in bed with both the family butler and chaplain at her childhood home of Hever Castle in Kent. Anne was only fifteen years old when this illicit debauchery was meant to have taken place, following which we’re supposed to believe that her father sent his disgraced daughter to one of the most distinguished courts in Europe, that of Archduchess Margaret of Austria, which Thomas Boleyn frequented as a special envoy representing the king of England.

Of course.

It makes perfect sense to risk Anne continuing her alleged sexual exploits in the legendary imperial court, where she could bring shame on not just the Boleyn family and the English monarchy, but her new mistress, Archduchess Margaret, daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, governess of the Low Countries, who was charged with overseeing the education of her nephew, the future King Charles V of Spain.[i]

Need I really point out the improbability of this claim? Not likely. Particularly as we’d have to also overlook the fact that Anne had been living in France for two years by the time this scandal was meant to have taken place back in England. Ah.

[i] Elizabeth Norton, The Anne Boleyn Papers, Intro, p.9.

Now isn’t that intriguing? I’m very much looking forward to reading this book!

About Haley Nolan

hayley nolan

Hayley Nolan is the historical researcher, writer and presenter of hit social media mini-series The History Review, which reached 3 million viewers in its first year. She also produces and fronts the spin-off iTunes podcast of the same name.

Hayley’s work has led her to partner with some of the country’s most respected historical organisations, including the Houses of Parliament for the 2017 General Election, the National Archives of the UK Government, Historic Royal Palaces including the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace, Royal Museums Greenwich, the English Heritage site of Henry VIII’s home, Eltham Palace, and Anne Boleyn’s childhood homes of Hever Castle and the Château Royal de Blois.

A graduate of London’s prestigious Royal Court Theatre Young Writers Programme, Hayley further trained in scriptwriting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

Hayley was born on the edge of England’s Peak District, and at the age of twelve moved to France, where she grew up in Bordeaux and Chamonix. She now lives in London.

You can follow Hayley on Twitter @thehayleynolan and visit her website for more information. You’ll find The History Review on Facebook too.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

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Staying in with A. J Griffiths-Jones


Sadly I just can’t fit in reviews of every book I’d like to read, but I am very pleased to welcome A.J Griffiths-Jones to Linda’s Book Bag today to tell me about a book I know I’d love if only I could get to it!

Staying in with A. J Griffiths-Jones

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, A.J. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me. Which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it? 


I’ve brought along my brand new release Isobel. I’ve chosen it as I feel that it really reflects how I’ve grown as a writer and how I’ve learned character development over the years. I’m very excited about this book as it’s the first in a series of six and I think readers will warm to the detectives as they grow throughout the journey.

How exciting to have a brand new series. I have to say, I think that cover is stunning!

 So tell me, what can we expect from an evening in with Isobel.

You can expect a journey to the French countryside, with lavender fields & warm baguettes. However, you’ll find a myriad of secrets too and characters who have relatable issues, things that anyone might have experienced in their life. My readers tell me that I know how to get right under my character’s skin and I think that’s what anyone new to my work will take away with them.

Sounds wonderful. What else have you brought along and why? 


I’ve brought a bottle of deep French Merlot, some soft crusty bread and melted Camembert cheese and photos of my holidays in Bordeaux which hold great memories of picking grapes, laughing around a campfire and friends from around the globe.

I love baked Camembert A.J. I can’t drink red wine as it makes me ill, so you can have that and I’ll just have slightly more than my fair share of the bread and cheese!

Thanks so much for telling me about Isobel A.J. Let’s give blog readers the details:



As the sleepy French village of Saint Margaux eagerly awaits its new resident, in the form of professional pastry chef Isobel Gilyard, tongues are already wagging.

A few days later, when local vineyard owner Cecile Vidal is brutally murdered, fingers naturally point towards the newly arrived Englishwoman.

Suspicion is not without foundation, as Isobel was seen near the murder scene, and holds some deadly secrets of her own.

As Inspector Max Mallery tackles his first case for Bordeaux police, he’s thrown a curveball in the form of Yorkshire detective Jack Hobbs who joins the team with enthusiasm and English wit.

As investigators untangle a tightly woven web of clues, Isobel finds herself trapped on the wrong side of the law.

Isobel is available for purchase here.

About A. J Griffiths-Jones

a j griffiths

A. J Griffiths-Jones was born near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK. She has travelled extensively throughout her career and has recently returned to England after ten years working as Language Training Manager for a bank in Shanghai. A.J. has studied genealogy for many years and has a special interest in Victorian crime.

You can follow A.J. on Twitter @authoraj66., or visit her website for more information. You’ll also find her on Facebook.

#HeatstrokeBook Cover Reveal: Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth


When I first heard about Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth I knew it would be just my kind of read and I’m absolutely delighted to be helping reveal the details about it today. My enormous thanks to Jo Liddiard for inviting  me to participate.

Heatstroke will be published by Headline Review on 28th May 2020 and is available for pre-order here.



The summer burns with secrets…

It is too hot to sleep. To work. To be questioned time and again by the police.

At the beginning of a stifling, sultry summer, everything shifts irrevocably when Lily doesn’t come home one afternoon.

Rachel is Lily’s teacher. Her daughter Mia is Lily’s best friend. The girls are fifteen – almost women, still children.

As Rachel becomes increasingly fixated on Lily’s absence, she finds herself breaking fragile trusts and confronting impossible choices she never thought she’d face.

It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.

Intoxicating and compulsive, Heatstroke is a darkly gripping, thought-provoking novel of crossed boundaries, power and betrayal, that plays with expectations at every turn.

Now doesn’t that sound intense and intriguing? I cannot wait to read Heatstroke. I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy it immensely.

About Hazel Barkworth

Hazel Barkworth

Hazel Barkworth is a graduate of both the Oxford University MSt in Creative Writing and the Curtis Brown Creative Novel-Writing Course. She lives in London with her partner, and works as a cultural consultant. Her debut novel Heatstroke will be published by Headline in 2020.

You can find Hazel on Instagram and Twitter @BarkworthHazel.