An Extract from The Nice Guy and the Devil by Tom Trott

Back in January it was a privilege to help reveal the cover of The Nice Guy and the Devil by Tom Trott. Today, with the book’s publication day fast approaching, Tom has kindly allowed me to share an extract from The Nice Guy and the Devil with Linda’s Book Bag readers. In addition, Tom has provided some fabulous photographs that link to his writing.

Out on 5th May 2023, you can pre-order The Nice Guy and the Devil through the links here. If you’re quick, there are still a couple of days left to grab your copy for 99c or 77p depending on your location!

The Nice Guy and the Devil

Nice, France — Retired CIA agent, Cain, is living a quiet life, trying to stay out of trouble.

But he can’t turn off his old instincts like a lightswitch.

When an unsuspecting American woman becomes the target of criminals, he can’t sit back and do nothing.

What starts as one good deed puts Cain in the sights of highly-trained mercenaries, brings him to the attention of INTERPOL, and puts him on a collision course with evil personified.

With no one he can trust, in a land of double-crosses, Cain must rely on his wits to survive.

An Extract from The Nice Guy and the Devil

Chapter One

The breeze that caressed his face had formed in the dry heat of the Sahara, brushed its way across the Mediterranean, and combed through the trees up the hillside to reach him here, a hundred metres above the village of Gréolières. Ever since he was a boy, Cain found it impossible to get bored. He could sit in the same place for hours and always find something to hold his attention: the play of the light, the quivering of a leaf. He was a painter with his eyes, a hundred pictures a minute. He sat on a rock and lived in the view, never checking his watch to see how long it had been.

There was that man again. Cain had seen him whilst drinking an early morning espresso. Asking about his sister, that was it. He asked at the boulangerie, said he was supposed to meet her there, had the woman seen her? ‘She looks like Thelma & Louise,’ whatever that means. How can someone look like two people?

From up here by the Chapelle Saint Etienne he could see down into the village, see the man inspecting each of the cars parked just outside. What was he after? Cain wondered. He stopped at Cain’s old Citroën, stood there for a few seconds, dismissed it, and carried on. Then he climbed into a red convertible and drove away from the village, heading back down the hill, out of view.

Cain returned to the view. He could see another village on the opposite side of the gorge, and he decided he would drive there next. His latest hobby was black and white photography. He had bought an old seventies’ Olympus, with just a fixed 50mm lens, developing the film himself in his bathroom. That village would be a great place to get some long shadows down cobbled alleyways. What he loved about the film stock was that sometimes, just sometimes, the pictures were indistinguishable from those taken a hundred years ago. There were still parts of Nice that looked the same as back then, and the restaurant had even put a couple of his prints on the wall by the bar; but the villages were even older, far older than any camera, and if you could find an empty street, the pictures were timeless.

One of Cain’s photos featured above the bar in Phillipe’s restaurant in Nice’s old town

For lunch, he drove to Gourdon. He’d been living in Nice almost a year now, but he’d never got up there to visit the castle and the gardens. Designed by the same people as Versailles, they said. He found the castle was closed, but the village didn’t disappoint. Built on top of what should be called a mountain, he could see all the way down to the coast; to Nice, Cannes, and Antibes; and the shimmering Mediterranean beyond.

So here he was, waiting to order, trying to decide between steak tartare or the pâté. And here too was that man again. He was strolling up the street wearing the same faded blazer and slip-on shoes. He was mid-thirties, maybe just forty. He wasn’t a local, that much was obvious, wasn’t even French. Looked European though. Cain hadn’t paid any attention to his accent this morning.

He gave Cain the “ick”. He had an instinct he’d learned to trust over a long and dangerous career. He could just tell. Certain people gave him “the ick”, and these people always turned out to be bad.

The man stopped at the restaurant, put on a sheepish face. It was incredible how he did it, like he was applying makeup. Finally, the one waiter got itchy and asked him if he was looking for someone.

‘My sister,’ he said in French.

Cain could detect an accent, but he would only be able to identify it if the guy spoke some English.

‘I was supposed to meet her here, have you seen her?’

Cain put down his coffee, focussed in.

‘What does she look like?’ the waiter asked. Cain knew what was coming.

‘She’s my sort of age, red hair. Did you ever see that movie, Thelma & Louise? She looks like that.’

The waiter shook his head, he hadn’t seen her. It was a quiet morning in a quiet village, he probably hadn’t seen more than ten customers. He went back to putting out sugar sachets. The man thanked him and left, ambling down the street. As he walked away, he dropped the sheepish look like he was tossing an empty bottle.

Twice in one day? Here, where the villages have four roads and you couldn’t lose a penny. How could he lose a grown woman? The same stupid description. And the ick.

Cain left a five euro note under his coffee cup and strolled after the man. Round the corner the guy was sitting in his car, a red Saab convertible with the top down, engine idling. Cain stopped at the corner, pretending to fiddle with his camera whilst he memorised the licence plate. The guy pulled a map from his glove compartment, traced a route with his finger, then shoved it back. He looked over his shoulder to reverse out and Cain instinctively clicked the shutter.

Cain’s car was just outside the village, in the tourist car park. He jogged down there as fast as he could, jumped in, fired it up. He had to guess when he reached the roundabout, there were two roads north and one road south. Gréolières was north of here, so maybe the guy was working his way south, same as him.

He bombed it down the winding road, trying not to cook the brakes. The drops around here were beyond lethal. The barrier was just a foot-high stone wall; you’d roll a hundred times before you hit the bottom, your car a ball of tinfoil.

That warm Saharan breeze rushed through Cain’s hair. The roads were beautiful to drive, despite the danger. Gentle, winding curves, then sudden switchbacks. Brake, accelerate, brake, change down, gun it. The Citroën was a real car, you had to stand on the pedals, wrestle the wheel, biceps and shoulders straining. You could feel the road rushing underneath the tyres, feel every bump and dip through the tight springs.

The hillside opened up, he could see a ribbon of tarmac winding down the valley. There was a flash of red down there. He was catching up. He put his foot down, the old engine buzzing and pinging like a hornet trapped in a biscuit tin. A minute later he caught another glimpse. Closer. He was having great fun. It was like the old days, before he retired. Here he was, convertible against convertible in the Côte d’Azur hills, chasing… chasing what exactly?

He eased off on the accelerator. Intuition? Was that what he was chasing? The past. His past. Was it arrogance? Thinking he had to chase this guy, had to find out what he was up to. He was supposed to be having a lovely day. Saint Paul de Vence was next on his itinerary, to see the house where James Baldwin lived. To see the hotel where Sartre and Picasso stayed. He slowed to a gentle cruise, broke off the chase.

The road dropped down into the valley, through the sprawl of towns that grew and spread across the valleys like mould. Cain couldn’t help his attention snapping to every flash of red, but they were just family hatchbacks and saloons, once an old Ferrari. Finally, beyond the sweeping curve of a gently climbing road, through the branches of a desiccated tree, he saw the bell tower standing like the bride on top of a wedding cake. The tier below, cream coloured houses. Below them, the fortress village wall. And below the wall, the steep green bank of the hill.

Saint Paul de Vence, from the road approaching

He found somewhere quiet to pull in by the side of the road and went looking for the Baldwin house. He didn’t have an address; he’d picked up a copy of Go Tell It on the Mountain at a market stall and there was a photo of the house on the dust jacket. He had it with him now, comparing each house to the photo, but as hard as he tried, he couldn’t make them match. All he could find were lavish villas beyond iron gates, the splashing of swimming pools over garden walls. At last, he found somewhere that from the shape and the road and the big tree behind it, had to be it. It didn’t look right though. There was a new gate, intercom, a row of mailboxes, and a billboard on the side. “Le Jardin des Arts luxury apartments”. Of course. He shook his head. What an insult. Sure, they’d made some effort at restoration, fresh render, newly pointed stone, but that was what ruined it. At least they couldn’t bulldoze the man’s books.

James Baldwin’s house in Saint Paul de Vence, as it is now

In a sulk, he climbed back into the Citroën, headed toward the old walled village on the hill. La Colombe d’Or hotel was frequented by both Picasso and Sartre, although Cain didn’t know if it had any impact on their work. He had never read any Sartre, not properly, but he had definitely seen Picasso’s paintings, the ones they had in Spain and France. He couldn’t remember a hotel in any of them.

He parked on the street and found his way to the garden terrace, his stomach eating itself. He regretted abandoning his lunch at Gourdon, and saw to his delight that they had a prawn dish they could bring out quickly. He ordered it to start, with a glass of Picpoul de Pinet.

The terrace at La Colombe d’Or, Saint Paul de Vence

Order taken care of, he could take a look at his surroundings. The garden terrace was quite secluded. His table was shaded, branches of a potted olive tree casting shadows over the surface of the parasol. Crisp linen tablecloth. Clean cutlery, square to the table. There were a few other diners, dotted across the terrace, glimpses of them visible between the awning poles.

There was a woman sitting alone at a table the other end of the terrace. She was in shade too, but a shaft of hot sunlight blazed across her flaming red hair. It glowed out of the darkness like molten iron out of a forge. She wore aviator sunglasses, and a handkerchief in her hair. Nakedly American, somewhere in her late forties, maybe early fifties. Her chin and nose were sharp, lips red. Thin fingers tapped the ash off a stubby, filtered cigarette. There was only one way to describe her: she looked like Thelma & Louise.


Thank you so much Tom for this fabulous piece. There are other images and video to go alongside this scene setting extract on your website I know. Readers can see them here.

About Tom Trott

Tom Trott is an author, film nerd, and proverbial Brighton rock. He lives in Brighton, UK, with his wife and their daughter.

He wrote a short comedy play that was performed at the Theatre Royal Brighton in May 2014 as part of the Brighton Festival, a television pilot for the local Brighton channel, and won the Empire Award (thriller category) in the 2015 New York Screenplay Contest.

He published his first novel, You Can’t Make Old Friends, in 2016. Since then he has written five more books. He writes film reviews and features for Frame Rated.

His inspirations as a writer come from a diverse range of storytellers including Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie, Joel & Ethan Coen, Daphne du Maurier, Alfred Hitchcock, Ira Levin, Quentin Tarantino, and many more books and films beside.

For further information, follow Tom on Twitter @tjtrott, visit his website or find him on Facebook and Instagram.

A Publication Day Extract from The Night She Met the Duke by Sarah Mallory

I can’t believe it’s six months to the day that Sarah Mallory featured here on Linda’s Book Bag with an excellent post on researching historical fiction to celebrate The Duke’s Family for Christmas and I’m still waiting to read that one! Today Sarah has another fabulous sounding book out – The Night She Met the Duke and it’s a privilege to share an extract with you.

Published by Mills & Boon Historical today, 27th April 2023, The Night She Met the Duke is available for purchase here.

The Night She Met the Duke

Who is her mysterious midnight visitor?

The Duke!

Hearing herself described as ‘a lady as dull as her name’ is the final straw in Prudence Clifford’s disastrous Season, so she decides to stay with her aunt in Bath. But Pru’s new life is anything but dull when one night she finds an uninvited, devastatingly handsome duke at her kitchen table! Pru knows she will never forget the emotional connection they shared. But it’s their unexpected reunion three months later which will prove truly unforgettable…

An Extract


The Night She Met the Duke

Setting: Pru had gone down to the kitchen to find the lamps burning and a stranger sitting at the table.

‘What is the meaning of this?’

At Pru’s outraged exclamation the stranger looked up. Her first thought had been that he was a friend of Nicholas, but she quickly changed her mind. A fashionable curly brimmed beaver hat lay beside him on the table and his dark coat was perfectly tailored to fit over his broad shoulders. His white silk waistcoat was exquisitely embroidered and as he raised his head, the candlelight glinted on the diamond nestling in the folds of his dishevelled neckcloth. Despite his craggy features and the dark stubble covering his face, this was no servant.

He did not get up, merely glowered at her from beneath his black brows.

‘The gate to your area steps was open.’

‘That may well be so, but it does not excuse your coming in here.’

‘I fell down the damned steps! Since the door was open, I thought I might as well come in this way, rather than go back up to the front door.’

‘But it is one o’clock in the morning!’ she retorted.

‘Aye. The night is still young.’

From the faint slurring of his words, she suspected he was not quite sober. She blew out her candle and placed it on the table.

She said coldly, ‘I would be obliged if you would leave the way you came. Immediately.’

‘Oh, I don’t think so. You see, I am in dire need of diversion.’

He pushed himself to his feet and Pru quickly stepped aside, keeping the full width of the kitchen table between them.

‘Go,’ she commanded. ‘Get out!’

‘Ah, you are thinking I have no money.’ He glanced down at his clothes. ‘I grant you I am a little dusty from the fall, but be assured, I can afford to pay for my pleasures.’ He threw a heavy purse upon the table. ‘There, does that make my presence more acceptable?’

‘Not in the least,’ Pru retorted. ‘If you were a gentleman, you would go away this minute.’

‘Well, I’m not. I am a duke—’

She gave a scornful laugh. ‘Even worse!’

‘For heaven’s sake, ma’am, I have only come here to play.’

He took a step towards Pru and she snatched up the poker from the hearth behind her.

‘Stay away from me!’ she warned him. ‘Get out now, or, or I will call my manservant.’

The stranger scowled. His black hair had fallen across his brow and he pushed it back with an impatient hand.

‘Hell and damnation, woman, I have no designs upon your virtue! I want to play cards.’

‘Cards!’ Enlightenment dawned, but Pru did not lower the poker. ‘Then you have the wrong house.’

His dark eyes stared at her. ‘This is not Sally Triscombe’s house?’

‘It most certainly is not.’

‘I’ll be damned.’

She winced at his language but replied in chilling accents.‘Very likely, but not here. Now please, go away.’

He ignored her.

‘This is Kilve Street, is it not?’ He rubbed a hand across his eyes. ‘And Sal Triscombe has a house here. A widow lady,’ he added. ‘Very attractive and…accommodating, I am told.’

‘How dare you suggest I would know any such creature.’

‘Are you telling me you don’t?’

Pru bit her lip. She had heard rumours, of course, but no lady would discuss such matters with a strange man. He was looking at her, expecting an answer.

She said carefully, ‘I believe such a person might live in the house two doors along.’

He nodded, but the effort seemed to weaken him. He staggered.

‘I beg your pardon,’ he said, leaning on the table to support himself. ‘I am damnably drunk you know.’

‘I gathered that much.’ Good heavens, what was she doing, talking with this man?

‘I have been drinking with my friends since dawn.’

‘I have no wish to know about your celebrations.’

‘Oh, I wasn’t celebrating,’ he told her, his lip curling. ‘Drowning my sorrows. Although I didn’t tell my friends that.’

But Pru was no longer listening. His head was bowed and he was clearly struggling to stay on his feet.

‘When did you last eat?’ she demanded.

‘I cannot remember. Not today. We broke our fast with wine this morning…’

‘Good heavens.’ She waved him back towards the chair. ‘Sit down.’


‘You need sustenance before you go anywhere.’


‘Believe me you do,’ she told him. ‘I would not wager on you getting more than a few yards in your present state. You are far more likely to collapse and be set upon by footpads. Sit down and I will find something for you to eat.’

With an effort he raised his head and looked at her. ‘Why should you do that?’

‘Because I would not want your death on my conscience!’

With a shrug he lowered himself gingerly onto the chair and Pru bustled about, fetching various foods from the larder. She set before him a knife, fork and a plate upon which she had placed the remains of a game pie. She found bread, cheese and a few jars of pickles and put them on the table before going off to retrieve a ham from the larder.

‘Are you going to join me?’ he asked, as she began to carve the ham.


‘But you are going to watch me.’

‘I certainly do not intend to leave you alone here. Who knows what mischief you might make?’ She placed two thick slices of ham on his plate. ‘There. Make a start on that and I will fetch you a tankard of ale.’

‘What, no wine?’

‘I wish to make you sober, not more drunk.’

‘Then at least pour a drink for yourself.’

Pru was about to make some cutting reply, but she stopped, realising that she would indeed like something to fortify herself.

Five minutes later she was sitting opposite the stranger at the table, sipping at a glass of small beer while her companion feasted on the cold meats and pickles she had provided. How prosaic she was. How ordinary. The heroine of her novel would have fainted off to find an intruder in her house. She would not have fed him.

‘What do you find so amusing?’ Her companion’s voice cut through these wry thoughts. She looked up to find him watching her.

He waved a knife in her direction. ‘You were smiling.’

‘Not intentionally.’

‘Perhaps not.’ He studied her. ‘Ah, I see now. Your mouth curves up naturally at the corners.’

‘Yes.’ She looked away, saying with a faint sigh, ‘It is a fault.’

‘It is as if you are always on the edge of laughter. How can that be a bad thing?’

‘My mouth is too wide.’

‘I do not think so.’

Pru realised this was not a proper conversation to be having with a strange man and did not reply.

‘May I know to whom I am indebted for this supper?’ he asked her presently.

‘To my aunt, Mrs Clifford. This is her house.’

His eyes narrowed. ‘It is your name I wish to know.’

‘I am Miss Clifford.’

He raised his brows and Pru firmly closed her lips, determined not to tell him her first name. However, after a few moments curiosity got the better of her and she broke the silence.

‘And who are you, sir?’

‘Garrick Chauntry. Duke of Hartland.’


Oo. And now of course, I want to know what’s going to happen between them!

About Sarah Mallory

Sarah Malloryis an award-winning author of over 50 published books, including more than 30 historical romances for Harlequin/Mills & Boon, and she also writes sparkling adventure romances as Melinda Hammond.

Originally from the West Country, Sarah lived for many years high on the Yorkshire Pennines, but in 2018 she ran away to the Scottish Highlands and now lives by the sea, enjoying a whole new adventure.

You can follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMRomance. You can also visit her excellent website and find her on Instagram or Facebook.

Staying in with Miriam McGuirk

Lovely Miriam McGuirk has been such a supporter over the years and I’m delighted to welcome her to Linda’s Book Bag today as part of the blog tour organised by Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources. To celebrate her new book, Miriam has kindly agreed to stay in with me.

Let’s find out more:

Staying in with Miriam McGuirk

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Miriam and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

It is my pleasure to spend time with you, Linda.

Tell me, (as if I didn’t know!) which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

Surprise surprise, I have brought along my newly released novel, Second Chances. I am proud of this book and what an incredible journey bringing these characters and their world to life.

In the world today, community has never been more relevant. We all need a true sense of belonging and sharing.  Readers want to escape and get lost in heart-warming stories. Perhaps it helps them understand their personal experiences of life.

Oh I quite agree!

Second Chances is a feel-good novel, including community spirit, an emotive story, with secrets, and questions, love and family bonds at its heart.

It sounds lovely. What can we expect from an evening in with Second Chances?

I was delighted with this early review from UK Author Elly Redding:

‘Your writing is beautiful and at times poetic, conjuring up descriptions that transport the reader through time and place, into the world of your characters, so perfectly that I felt I was there, with them, on every step of their journey. What’s more, the visualisations remain with you, long after you read that final page. The knowledge and beauty of India was perfectly conveyed, and I fell in love with Boudie and her guest house – what a wonderful woman.’

That makes Second Chances sound so enticing.

What else have you brought along and why?

Hope you do not mind, I have brought a few of my characters from Second Chances with me. They have insisted on sharing food, drink, and music with us this evening.

That sounds great. Tell me more.

Indian spiced salmon and spinach Vol au Vents straight from Colonel Bryce Beckwith’s hot oven, and Tarte Tatin served with lashings of freshly whipped cream. (He is a wonderful cook!)

Colonel Bryce Beckwith can come again!

A bottle of champagne from Boudie’s Fridge (Florence’s sister who runs a boutique B&B in Little Shore).

Oh, there is a knock at the door. I spy through the letter box  Molly has gifted us a record from Peter Sarsted, Where Do You Go To My Lovely.  

Gosh, that’s a blast from my past. I love that song.

And later, my characters wish to dance to Come Fly with Me by old blue eyes—Frank Sinatra—not forgetting, Chattanooga Choo-Choo by Glen Miller.

Well I think you should put the music on and pour some champagne and you and your characters can get the party started whilst I tell readers a little bit more about Second Chances. Thanks so much for being here Miriam.

Second Chances

Second Chances is a touching tale that takes us on a journey from India to Kent, UK, following the intertwined lives of the residents who live on the same road.

At the heart of the story is Molly—kind-hearted, resilient, and determined to make a fresh start after her husband Rory leaves her and their son Jamie.

But when Jamie disappears on the day they were supposed to move to Kent, Molly’s new life takes an unexpected turn.

As Molly settles into her new community, she befriends her neighbours, Florence and Colonel Bryce Beckwith, who share their own stories of love, loss, and longing for second chances.

The three of them navigate their regrets and come to realise that it’s never too late to make a change.

Second Chances is a poignant, multigenerational tale of connections and community, showcasing the unbreakable human spirit and the hope that can come from taking a leap of faith.

Second Changes was published yesterday, 25th April 2023, is available for purchase through the links here.

About Miriam McGuirk

Born in Dublin, there has been a constant thread of writing and storytelling running through Miriam’s life. She proudly nurtures her ability to tell stories thanks to her Irish heritage.

Miriam lives in the historical town of Rye, East Sussex with her husband, Chris, spending time in her Writing Cave where only her characters join her.

When not writing, Miriam enjoys reading, cooking, sea swimming, and walking along the healing coast.

For further information visit Miriam’s website, find her on Facebook and Instagram or follow her on Twitter @Miriam_McGuirk.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

Staying in with Tim Sullivan

It’s a very exciting guest on Linda’s Book Bag today as I stay in with Tim Sullivan to find out all about his latest novel. My enormous thanks to Emma Finnigan for arranging this for us. Let’s immediately find out more:

Staying in with Time Sullivan

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Tim.

Thanks for asking me.

Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

No problem. Got to the age where I prefer a good night in to a moderate one out!

Oh me too! Anno domini and all that! Tell me, (although I rather think I know) which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

My latest, The Monk, featuring DS George Cross as it’s out tomorrow.

Happy publication day for tomorrow Tim. What can we expect from an evening in with George Cross?

Hopefully a good yarn but also sense of understanding someone like George. He’s on the autistic spectrum and so sometimes misunderstood. He can be literal, socially awkward and unintentionally rude. But his way of approaching his life is also his gift when it comes to solving crime, murder in particular. He’s a dogged follower of the evidence. He’s doesn’t have gut instincts about cases and won’t let things go until he’s got to the bottom of them. He simply can’t. He’s drawn to outsiders in cases because in many ways that is what he is himself. He actually fits into a tradition of detectives who we would now say are possibly on the spectrum, from Auguste Dupin, Sherlock Holmes to Poirot.

He sounds a brilliant character. I must catch up with the series. What do readers think about George?

This is what some readers have said –

‘I never review books, I’m a rater but not a reviewer but I just had to share that I love George!’

‘I love the character that is George Cross. Brilliant, socially awkward with a mind for puzzles second to none.’

‘DC Cross as a character is funny, irritating, clever and makes you really laugh at times with his black and white view of the world and how it results in interactions with his colleagues or people on the case. For all of his quirks, he is an excellent detective…’

‘George Cross is a wonderful character, an unusual detective, brilliant to read… Putting my finger on why I loved this book so much is difficult, it’s different to the norm, Cross is different, I really loved him.’

It seems that it really is all about George.

He sounds fabulous! So why have you chosen a monk as a victim in this book?

The Monk is set in Bristol where I went to school – in fact the book is dedicated to my English teacher there. It’s a city I know well and love. I decided on a monk being the victim in this particular book because it seemed so unlikely. Why would anyone want to kill a man who is secluded from normal life by choice and has devoted his to God. I myself was an altar boy at Farnborough Abbey as an adolescent and so have drawn on my experience of the place for the book.

I think all authors draw a little on what they know. As an ex-English teacher I love the dedication to your teacher Brian.

What else have you brought along and why have you brought it?

I’ve brought my wife along to tell me when my jokes aren’t as funny as I think they are.

I have a feeling many husbands might need to do that – mine included…

John Coltrane and Miles Davis for music and endless snacks so we don’t have to bother with a proper meal rounded off with some fantastically wicked ice cream. I’d love a couple of readers to come along as well as I’d be fascinated to hear what they have to say about the books.

From what I’ve been hearing about The Monk Tim I think they’d be saying very positive things indeed. I’m delighted to have The Monk on my TBR and can’t wait to read it. Now, you get the music on and dish up the ice cream and I’ll give readers a few more details.

The Monk

‘I am insanely in love with George Cross’ Stephen Fry

To find a murderer, you need a motive . . .

DS George Cross has always wondered why his mother left him when he was a child. Now she is back in his life, he suddenly has answers. But this unexpected reunion is not anything he’s used to dealing with. When a disturbing case lands on his desk, he is almost thankful for the return to normality.

The body of a monk is found savagely beaten to death in a woodland near Bristol. Nothing is known about Brother Dominic’s past, which makes investigating difficult. How can Cross unpick a crime when they don’t know anything about the victim? And why would someone want to harm a monk?

Discovering who Brother Dominic once was only makes the picture more puzzling. He was a much-loved and respected friend, brother, son – he had no enemies. Or, at least, none that are obvious. But looking into his past reveals that he was a very wealthy man, that he sacrificed it all for his faith. For a man who has nothing, it seems strange that greed could be the motive for his murder. But greed is a sin after all…

The Monk is part of the DS George Cross thriller series, which can be read in any order, is published tomorrow 27th April 2023 by Head of Zeus and is available for purchase here

About Tim Sullivan

Author image courtesy of Ivan Weiss

Tim Sullivan is a crime writer, screenwriter and director whose film credits include A Handful of Dust, Jack and Sarah and Cold Feet. Early in his career he directed Jeremy Brett’s iconic portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in ITV’s The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes¸ cementing his lifelong passion for crime fiction.

Tim’s crime series, featuring the socially awkward but brilliantly persistent DS George Cross, has been widely acclaimed and topped the book charts. The Monk is the fifth in the series.

He lives in North London with his wife Rachel, the Emmy Award-winning producer of The Barefoot Contessa and Pioneer Woman.

To find out more about the author please visit Tim’s website, follow him on Twitter @TimJRSullivan find Tim on Instagram.

Crossing Over by Ann Morgan

My enormous thanks to Will Dady of Renard press for inviting me to participate in the blog tour for Crossing Over by Ann Morgan and for sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review. It’s my privilege to share my review today.

Published by Renard Press tomorrow, 26th April 2023, Crossing Over is available for purchase here.

Crossing Over

Edie finds the world around her increasingly difficult to comprehend. Words are no longer at her beck and call, old friends won’t mind their own business and workmen have appeared in the neighbouring fields, preparing to obliterate the landscape she has known all her life. Rattling around in an old farmhouse on the cliffs, she’s beginning to run out of excuses to stop do-gooders interfering when one day she finds an uninvited guest in the barn and is thrown back into the past.

Jonah has finally made it to England – where everything, he’s been told, will be better. But the journey was fraught with danger, and many of his fellow travellers didn’t make it. Sights firmly set on London, but unsure which way to turn, he is unprepared for what happens when he breaks into Edie’s barn.

Haunted by the prospect of being locked away and unable to trust anyone else, the elderly woman stubbornly battling dementia and the traumatised illegal immigrant find solace in an unlikely companionship that helps them make sense of their worlds even as they struggle to understand each other. Crossing Over is a delicately spun tale that celebrates compassion and considers the transcendent language of humanity.

My Review of Crossing Over

Edie and Jonah’s lives are about to collide.

Crossing Over was a complete surprise. I was rather expecting an easy read portraying the relationship between two unlikely companions, but instead what I got was an intelligent, thoughtful, profound and affecting multi-layered narrative that ought to be compulsory reading for every politician because it illustrates to perfection the lives of two people for whom convention and rules are unworkable and inappropriate. I thought Crossing Over was incredibly powerful. It’s descriptive, moving and beautifully written with a Dylan Thomas type of intensity in its language and a Shakespearean pathos that I found intriguing, mesmerising and far more emotional than I’d anticipated. 

There’s deep emotion and occasional dark humour mixed with uncomfortable themes of PTSD and dementia, refugee lives and family relationships, racism, war and corruption as well as small community dynamics so that Ann Morgan portrays life in all its nuances in Crossing Over. This is a book that makes the reader think and to ponder it long after the final page is read. 

I loved the way the chapter headings are random and confusing, just like the eddying memories and experiences swirling in both Edie and Jonah’s minds. I thought this was an inspired aspect of the text and the manner with which the two main characters’ stories blend and cross over is skilfully wrought so that echoes between their lives feel natural as well as surprising and entertaining. 

Both characters are richly depicted because Ann Morgan gets right inside their minds, presenting their innermost thoughts with all their flaws, feelings and obsessions with a kind of brutal tenderness that feels astonishing. Through their past lives we come to understand their present selves to perfection.

The plot of Crossing Over appears deceptively simple in that two people find themselves sharing the same house, but that belies the sensitive and layered way Ann Morgan illustrates how we become who we become. She shines a spotlight on the way our past affects us and how the expectations about us from other people, including their prejudices and mis-judgements, are often facets of life we simply can’t escape.

Crossing Over is a beautiful, sometimes stark, and disturbingly realistic exploration of otherness and similarity that blends two disparate cultures into one simple humanity in an affecting, sobering and compelling narrative. I thought it was an incredibly pertinent and sobering tale that deserves a wide audience. 

About Ann Morgan

Ann Morgan is an author, speaker and editor based in Folkestone. Ann’s writing has been published widely, including in the GuardianIndependent and Financial Times, and by the BBC. In 2012, she set herself the challenge of reading a book from every country in a year – a project that led to a TED talk and to the non-fiction book Reading the World: How I Read a Book from Every Country. Her debut novel, Beside Myself, has been translated into eight languages. Crossing Over, her latest novel, draws on her experience living just a few minutes from where many of the small boats crossing the Channel land. She is Literary Explorer in Residence of the Cheltenham Literature Festival for 2022 and 2023.

For more information, visit Ann’s website and follow her on Twitter @A_B_Morgan. You’ll also find Ann on Instagram.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

Discovering European Cities with Euro Spies Author Lindsay Littleson

I don’t know if you’ve discovered Cranachan children’s books yet but I love them and I couldn’t be happier than to support their latest release – Euro Spies by Lindsay Littleson. I’m thrilled that Lindsay has kindly provided a guest post today about her favourite five European cities to celebrate Euro Spies.

Euro Spies was published on 20th April 2023 and is available for purchase here.

Euro Spies


Samia is thrilled to win a sight-seeing holiday to Europe, but when shots are fired in the middle of the night on the Euro Metro, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary school trip…

Samia, and her fellow prize-winners, Ava and Frankie, are catapulted into a world of art, espionage, and terrible danger, as they discover the trip is being used as cover for a spying mission.

Can the children solve the fiendish clues hidden on famous European landmarks and avoid the scary strangers who are stalking their every move as they help Miss Watson from MI6?

Top Five European Cities

A Guest Post by Lindsay Littleson

Euro Spies is a love letter to all those magical cities in Europe I’ve visited in real-life and to those I haven’t visited YET.  My hope is that the novel will inspire young readers to want to see these places too. The characters in Euro Spies travel on the fabulous Euro Metro and zoom effortlessly between Paris,  Bern, Rome, Venice, Vienna, Brussels and Amsterdam. Giving a flavour of what each city has got to offer seemed a brilliant way to ignite children’s interest in European travel and certainly made the novel a joy to write.

Here is my own top five list of European cities!


I visited Venice with my partner a few years ago and completely fell in love with this stunning, romantic city.  Highlights of our trip included a visit to the island of Murano, St Mark’s Basilica and the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, but to be honest, the best part of visiting Venice is just enjoying wandering across the bridges and through the narrow lanes. The gorgeous buildings give the city a magical atmosphere, which I’ve tried to describe in Euro Spies.

The gondolier, smart in his striped polo-shirt and straw boater, used the long oar to push through the sun-splashed green waters of the canal. On either side, ornate palazzos rose dream-like from the water.

Venice is such a special place, and if you haven’t visited, I’d highly recommend. There are downsides of course, and I mention them in Euro Spies. In summer, the city is overwhelmed by tourists and can become uncomfortably hot and crowded. But, I can only echo the words of  Charles Dickens. “I have never in my life been so struck by any place as by Venice. It is the wonder of the world. There is nowhere in the world quite like Venice!”


Paris holds a special place in my heart because it was my first visit to somewhere outside of the UK. Unusually for the early 70’s, the headteacher of the small village primary school I attended had ambitious ideas for school trips and decided the P7 pupils should go to Paris for four days. That trip was the highlight of my school days, which to be fair, isn’t saying a lot. But it WAS marvellous to be abroad for the first time in my life and I loved every moment. In Euro Spies, Samia feels that same sense of excitement.

As they headed up the stairs towards street level, and dropped off their luggage in the lockers, excitement started building in her chest. Caught in the crowds surging out of the exit, she scrambled to catch up with the others, and joined them on the pavement. 

Blinking in the sunlight, Samia gazed around at the tall elegant buildings with their wrought iron balconies, the shops with their colourful awnings, the cafes with their crowded outside tables. The city buzzed with movement and noise.

My Paris experience was a lot less dangerous and dramatic than the Euro Spies trip.  The highlight was when my best friend’s mum, who was with us as a parent helper, demonstrated how to remove her bra without taking off her jumper. It wasn’t information I needed at the time, but it has come in useful many times since!


Another city on my Top Five is the capital city of the Netherlands. I love its cheerful, relaxed atmosphere, the plethora of cyclists, the lovely little shops on the Nine Streets and the fabulous art galleries. Like all my favourite cities, there are lots of lovely cafes in Amsterdam, , or you could do what Samia and the other Euro Spies do, and have a picnic lunch in the Vondelpark.

After they’d finished the tour of Anne Frank’s house and the museum, they went for a half hour walk along Amsterdam’s cobbled streets and canal banks to the Museum Quarter, where they ate a picnic lunch, sitting on the grass in the Vondelpark. In the distance, jazz music was being played in the bandstand. The paths were busy with cyclists and skateboarders. Samia bit into her broodje, a delicious sandwich filled with smoked chicken breast, crispy bacon and lettuce and she wished that they could stay here all afternoon, chatting and laughing and enjoying the sunshine and the park’s lively atmosphere.

Of course, all my travel plans, like everybody else’s were put on hold during lockdown. My most recent visit to Amsterdam was in March 2020. At the end of our Friday visit to the magnificent Rijks Museum, the doors closed and didn’t reopen for a long time. The Anne Frank Museum shut that afternoon too, and we came home from our break early, concerned that flights were about to be cancelled. I’ve still got our unused tickets for the Anne Frank Museum and have promised myself I’ll be back very soon.


As a child, I loved reading stories about Roman and Greek Gods. I visited Athens in 2017 and have always been keen to visit Rome. Finally, I’ve managed to organise a trip there and can’t wait to see the Eternal City. During the 2021 lockdown, I went on quite a lot of virtual tours to various European cities, as part of my Euro Spies research, and am so looking forward to seeing the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and the Colliseum in real-life! I’m imagining my experience will be similar to Samia’s.

As they exited the Termini Train Station, Samia was hit in the face by a chaotic hubbub of noise, heat and movement. Scooters weaved crazily between buses, horns blasted and crowds of people surged along the pavements. Rome seemed like bedlam after Bern’s calm orderliness, and it was strangely thrilling.


The final city on my Top 5 list isn’t a Euro Spies location…but could well appear in Euro Spies 2! I first visited Seville in December 2019 and adored the fact I could walk around the beautiful Royal Alcazar Gardens without needing a jacket, despite it being mid-winter.

The Nativity market was enchanting and the Christmas decorations in the Plaza San Francisco were stunning. I would totally recommend a winter trip to this glorious city.


Those are fabulous cities Lindsay. Thanks so much for sharing your favourites with us. I can’t wait to revisit them all again when I read Euro Spies – and you will have to include Seville in book two!

About Lindsay Littleson

Lindsay Littleson is a bestselling, prize-winning author. She won the Kelpies Prize for her first children’s novel The Mixed-Up Summer of Lily McLean (Floris, 2014). Guardians of the Wild Unicorns (Floris, 2019) was nominated for the 2020 CILIP Carnegie Medal. Her best-selling The Titanic Detective Agency (Cranachan, 2019) regularly tops the Amazon charts in its category. The Rewilders (Cranachan, 2022) and Euro Spies (Cranachan 2023) are Lindsay’s seventh and eighth children’s novels respectively.

Lindsay lives with her partner Ian and their very noisy cat in a small village near Glasgow.

For further information, visit Lindsay’s website, follow her on Twitter @ljlittleson or find Lindsay on Instagram.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

Thirty Days in Paris by Veronica Henry

I love Veronica Henry’s writing and it’s such a pleasure to be part of the Random Things Tours blog tour for her latest book Thirty Days in Paris. My thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to participate. I’m delighted to share my review of Thirty Days in Paris today.

If you’re new to Veronica Henry’s writing, where have you been? You’ll find my review of The Impulse Purchase here, A Night on the Orient Express here and of A Wedding at the Beach Hut hereA Wedding at the Beach Hut was one of my books of the year in 2020.

Published by Orion on 13th April 2023, Thirty Days in Paris is available for purchase through the links here.

Thirty Days in Paris

Because Paris is always a good idea…

Years ago, Juliet left a little piece of her heart in Paris – and now, separated from her husband and with her children flying the nest, it’s time to get it back!

So she puts on her best red lipstick, books a cosy attic apartment near Notre-Dame and takes the next train out of London.

Arriving at the Gare du Nord, the memories come flooding back: bustling street cafés, cheap wine in candlelit bars and a handsome boy with glittering eyes.

But Juliet has also been keeping a secret for over two decades – and she begins to realise it’s impossible to move forwards without first looking back.

Something tells her that the next thirty days might just change everything…

My Review of Thirty Days in Paris

Juliet returns to Paris.

Thirty Days in Paris is, quite simply, glorious and I loved every word. Veronica Henry immerses her reader into the Parisian setting with such skill and atmosphere that it’s as if you’re sitting on the banks of the Seine reading it. Her descriptions of food, aromas and places are so evocative that reading Thirty Days in Paris made me desperate to head back there as soon as I can. There’s a magnificent authenticity to the way Paris is conveyed.

I loved the plotting and the structure of the book. It’s fascinating how Juliet’s first person ‘Ingenue’ sections are gradually uncovered with a hint of mystery that leads Judith to her current third person narrative. As a result, Judith is a multi-layered, compelling character who is utterly convincing. I adored meeting her. I thoroughly appreciated the lack of drama in her separation from Stuart because it felt so plausible and real. Not all marriages end in bitter drama. 

The story is just wonderful as Juliet lays to rest the demons of her past. I found Thirty Days in Paris emotionally mature, intelligent and appealing so that Veronica Henry moved me to tears with her ability to convey Juliet’s inner thoughts and feelings so effectively. Despite the fact that Thirty Days in Paris is uplifting and liberating with love at its core, it tugs at the heart strings too with its vibrating, melancholic sense of missed opportunities and what might have been. At the same time, this is a story of hope and encouragement. Forget youth. Forget life beginning at forty. What Veronica Henry shows you is that life begins at whatever point an individual decides and all that is needed is to be a tiny bit brave. I thought this message was outstanding. 

I loved meeting Olivier, Natalie and the Beaubois family too. Corrine adds a poignancy to the story that is a catalyst for Juliet’s life but the lightness of touch in Veronica Henry’s writing of this element is just perfect. 

Indeed, I thought Thirty Days in Paris was perfect all round. Whether it’s because Juliet is older than the thirty-something protagonists of so many novels, or whether it’s the author’s skilful use of the senses to create place, or perhaps the quality of emotion running through the story I’m not sure. Thirty Days in Paris has a je ne sais quoi that makes it a truly fabulous read. I absolutely loved every moment of reading it and it is one of my favourite books this year. 

About Veronica Henry

Veronica Henry has worked as a scriptwriter for The Archers, Heartbeat and Holby City amongst many others, before turning to fiction. She won the 2014 RNA Novel of the Year Award for A Night on the Orient Express and is a Sunday Times bestselling author of over twenty books. Veronica lives with her family in a village in north Devon and can often be found cooking up the perfect seaside feast.

Find out more by visiting Veronica’s website or following her on Instagram or Twitter @veronica_henry. You’ll also find her on Facebook.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

Pets and their People by Jess French

It’s a little over a year ago that I reviewed It’s a Wonderful World by Jess French and today I’m very pleased to feature another of her books for children – Pets and their People. My huge thanks to Natasha Finn at DK for sending me a copy in return for an honest review.

Pets and their People was published by DK on 6th April 2023 and is available for purchase through the links here.

Pets and their People

Learn everything there is to know in this heartwarming guide about pets of all kinds, and the many different ways to take care of them and give them the happiest life possible.

In this ultimate guide to pets, whether you’ve got them or not, children will enjoy learning lots about the different animals that we might think of as pets, including their history, behaviour, and body language. Discover practical things to do with pets, such as how to treat them kindly, look after their everyday needs, and give them the best life possible.

With author and vet Dr Jess French, delve deeper into the world of pets than you ever have before! The best thing is, you don’t even need a pet to enjoy them. Pets and Their People provides inspiration for kids aged 7-9 who can’t own pets, showing them that we can care for animals in lots of other ways – from volunteering at animal shelters to leaving food for them out in the wild. From old favourites such as playful puppies and cuddly cats, to more unusual pets such as lizards and snakes, to bugs and hedgehogs in parks and gardens, there are many fascinating animals to meet.

Inside the pages of this adorable book about pets, you’ll find:

– Age-appropriate, exciting and varied information for 7-9 year olds, with a visual guide showing how a newborn kitten grows into a cat and what it needs at each stage, a guide to encouraging good pet behaviour, poorly pets and how vets help them, playing with and grooming pets, pet history, fun facts, mythbusters, and much more.
– A broad range of pets, including dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, other rodents, horses, rabbits, a range of reptiles, birds and more!
– High-quality photography to give children an accurate understanding of how healthy pets look and behave, plus beautiful illustrations created from well-researched sources that are authentic and trustworthy.

From fluffy and friendly to scaly and shy, our pets are all wonderfully unique, so let’s find out how to take good care of them so they feel just like part of the family! Have you ever wondered why cats meow at us but not at each other? When will a dog wag its tail at you? What should you feed a pet snake? And how can you provide a happy home for animals in the wild? Find out all these things and much, much more as you turn the fact-filled pages of this educational animal book.

My Review of Pets and their People

Everything a child might want to know about pets!

It’s actually really tricky to review Pets and their People as reading the blurb says it all. This is a super book for children aged 7-9 that gives them real insight into the world of animals at just the right level of language and information, so that they can understand both the pleasures and the responsibilities of pet ownership.

As ever with a DK book, the physical quality of Pets and their People means it will endure robust handling in schools and the home. Thick, strong covers hold vibrant illustrations and photographs to support the text and it’s so pleasing to realise the book is produced through sustainable sources. Indeed, the balance of text and image means that there is plenty to engage emergent or reluctant readers and I thoroughly appreciated the use of different ethnic characters in the images so that Pets and their People feels inclusive. The glossary at the end of the book helps children understand and acquire new vocabulary and the index is great for  developing research skills rather than just a reliance on Google for finding information.

The range of animals means there is something to appeal to all children and the book is packed with interesting facts. I had no idea a ferret could be an electrician! However, what works so well in Pets and their People is the way in which pets are put first in the title and the way in which children are encouraged to engage with animals even if they are not able to have a pet at home. Jess French encourages children to understand and protect the natural world with ideas any child can adopt. I’d love to see a home or primary school project making bug hotels for example.

I think Pets and their People is a book to educate, inspire and fire the imagination and a love of animals far beyond the conventional dog or cat as a pet for young children. It’s great.

About Jess French

Jess French is a nature lover, TV presenter, author, and qualified vet. She is known for her show on CBeebies, called ‘Minibeast Adventure with Jess’, which encourages children to explore the outdoors and get to know the bugs around them. She has written two other books for DK, What a Waste, which tackles the subject of sustainability for children, and The Book of Brilliant Bugs, which explores the world of minibeasts. Jess is a keen conservationist and has a passion for oceans and the animal world.

For further information, follow Jess on Twitter @Zoologist_Jess or find her on Instagram.

From Far Around They Saw Us Burn by Alice Jolly

It’s an absolute pleasure to begin the blog tour for From Far Around They Saw Us Burn by Alice Jolly. My enormous thanks to Alice for sending me a copy of the book and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for subsequently inviting me to join the tour today by sharing my review, which I’m delighted to do.

Previously I have reviewed Alice’s A Saint in Swindon here, Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile here, and Dead Babies and Seaside Towns here where I also interviewed Alice about this last book.

From Far Around They Saw Us Burn was published by Unbound on 30th March 2023 and is available for purchase here.

From Far Around They Saw Us Burn

Words begin to lose their meanings, flaking off into air like moths. Friendships cultivated over a lifetime fall apart in testing circumstances. What does the stranger with yellow eyes really want?

From Far Around They Saw Us Burn is the eagerly awaited first short story collection from Alice Jolly, one of the most exciting and accomplished voices in British fiction today.

The extraordinary range of work gathered here is united by a fascination with how everyday interactions can transform our lives in unpredictable ways. These are stories of lonely people, outcasts and misfits, and the ghosts that inhabit our intimate spaces. The result is a compelling, arresting and, at times, devastating collection – not least in the title story, which was inspired by the tragic true events of the 1943 Cavan orphanage fire.

Written with an exemplary eye for detail and an intimate understanding of the complexities of human nature, Jolly’s collection builds up towards the ultimate question: what is revealed of us when we peel away the surfaces, and is it enough?

My Review of From Far Around They Saw Us Burn

A collection of fifteen short stories. 

Having read and loved longer books by Alice Jolly I’m not sure why I thought I’d be hardened to the absolute beauty of her writing by now, but yet again the exquisite quality of her prose hit me like a physical blow. It’s as if Alice Jolly has the ability to seep beneath the skin and flesh of her readers into their very souls. I absolutely adored From Far Around They Saw Us Burn.

The descriptive aspects are pared down to the essence of what is needed to create vivid and affecting settings and appearances. The depiction of the area around Spalding and Boston in The Last House on the Marsh, for example, is pitch perfect. I know, because it’s where I live! Through the use of the senses, From Far Around They Saw Us Burn is a complete masterclass of writing as well as an immersive, moving and enthralling read. Many sentences are truncated and speech marks are absent so that the layers of meaning aren’t immediately obvious, making for a truly engaging read as what isn’t said becomes as important as what is clearly presented. This means that the reader can bring their own experiences to From Far Around They Saw Us Burn and that it will be a different book for each individual. 

Obviously it’s tricky to say too much about plot with short stories for fear of giving too much away, but each of these is crafted with authorial skill and precision. However, more important than the events themselves are the themes and the humanity found within the narratives. These stories vibrate with longing and loneliness and the basic need for human connection.

Alice Jolly explores relationships at every level. There’s marriage and family, parenthood and friendship and emotions of every kind from despair to hatred, swirled through with dystopian futurism and prosaic ordinariness in a fascinating blend of style that I found mesmerising. From Far Around They Saw Us Burn is utterly compelling because, more often than not, it gives a voice to the outsider, the dispossessed and the vulnerable.

I adored this collection. It is as if all life is present in From Far Around They Saw Us Burn. I found parts of it almost unknowable and unbearable whilst other elements spoke to me as if they had been extracted from my own mind and turned into fiction. Alice Jolly is a magnificent writer. She deserves greater exposure and absolute critical acclaim. You’ll find it hard to find another author who produces such finely wrought prose and From Far Around They Saw Us Burn is both blisteringly beautiful and brutal. Try her writing for yourself and don’t let From Far Around They Saw Us Burn be a quiet book that too many miss.

About Alice Jolly

Alice Jolly is a novelist and playwright. She won the 2014 V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize with one of her short stories, ‘Ray the Rottweiler’, and her memoir Dead Babies and Seaside Towns won the 2016 PEN Ackerley Prize. She has published two novels with Simon & Schuster – What the Eye Doesn’t See and If Only You Knew – and four of her plays have been produced by the professional company of the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham. Her novel Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile, published by Unbound in 2018, was longlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize and shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize. Her latest novel, Between the Regions of Kindness, was published by Unbound in 2019. In 2021, Jolly was awarded an O. Henry Prize for her short story From Far Around They Saw Us Burn. She lives in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

Find out more about Alice on her website or by following her on Twitter @JollyAlice. You can also find her on Instagram and Facebook.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

Cover Reveal: A Beautiful Rival by Gill Paul

It’s always a pleasure being part of a book’s new life and I’m thrilled to participate in the cover reveal for Gill Paul’s latest novel, A Beautiful Rival.

I adore Gill’s writing and she has featured on Linda’s Book Bag several times. Most recently I reviewed The Manhattan Girls here.

I reviewed Gill’s The Collector’s Daughter for My Weekly’s online magazine in a post you’ll find here.

Previously Gill featured on Linda’s Book Bag when I reviewed The Lost Daughter here, and Gill wrote a superb guest post here. I reviewed The Second Marriage here too.

So you can see why I’m so excited about A Beautiful Rival. Let’s find out more:

A Beautiful Rival

The world is at war, but on the gilded streets of Fifth Avenue, New York, a battle of a different kind is brewing…

New York, 1915.
Elizabeth Arden has been New York’s golden girl since her beauty salon opened its famous red door five years prior. Against all odds, she’s built an empire.

Enter Helena Rubinstein: ruthless, revolutionary – and the rival Elizabeth didn’t bargain for.

With both women determined to succeed – no matter the personal cost – a battle of beauty is born. And as the stakes increase, so do the methods: poaching employees, planting spies, copying products, hiring ex-husbands.

But as each woman climbs higher, so too does what she stands to lose.

Because the greater the height, the harder the fall…

In this stunning new novel, internationally bestselling author Gill Paul reveals the unknown history of cosmetic titans Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein and their infamous rivalry that spanned not only decades, but also broken marriages, personal tragedies, and a world that was changing dramatically for women – perfect for fans of Fiona Davis, Dinah Jefferies and Karen Swan.


Doesn’t that sound fabulous?

Published by Harper Collins on August 31st in the UK, Australia and NZ, and September 5th in the US, A Beautiful Rival is available for pre-order as follows in these links: US, UK, Australia and NZ.

About Gill Paul

Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in the twentieth century and often writing about the lives of real women. Her novels have topped bestseller lists in the US and Canada as well as the UK and have been translated into twenty languages. The Secret Wife has sold over half a million copies and is a book-club favourite worldwide.

You can follow Gill on Twitter @GillPaulAUTHOR, visit her website and find her on Instagram and Facebook for more information.