Middle Grade Fiction

Letters From The Lighthouse by Emma Carroll

I have to admit to being a big fan of Emma’s books. Her stories continue to delight and move me, and Letters from the Lighthouse does not disappoint at all.

It’s 1941 and the Second World War rages on longer than anyone anticipated. Reeling from the death of their father and the disappearance of their sister Sukie, Olive and her brother are evacuated to the coast of Devon. After discovering a strangely coded message that she’s certain has something to do with Sukie’s disappearance, Olive embarks on a dangerous adventure as she’s determined to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Emma Carroll has a wonderful takent for bringing historic events to life for today’s young readers and with Letters from the Lighthouse continues to create an enthralling, thrilling read, whilst introducing situations and characters that are still relevant in our world today. Olive is a wonderful protagonist. Being an evacuee she has an understanding of the prejudice that can come from lack of understanding. The thing that touched me most within this wonderful novel was the opportunity to hear the stories behind all those effected by war along with the refugees and the impact they had on the locals. War and hate has the ability to divide communities but Letters from the Lighthouse shows how much can be achieved when people work together.

A beautifully written story about bravery, compassion, understanding, and having the strength to fight for what you believe in.

Publication on 1st June 2017

Published by Faber & Faber

Review originally written for Lovereading.co.uk

Visit Emma’s website here.

Middle Grade Fiction

The Night Spinner by Abi Elphinstone

With this action packed third and final instalment to the series, Abi Elphinstone has secured her place in the imagination of young readers.

Dark magic threatens to shroud Moll and everything she holds dear in an eternal night, reducing the world around her to a place without hope. Never has she been further from home or felt more alone, her constant companion self-doubt as she tries to fight back against the last two Shadowmasks. Yet the darkness is hard to fight and it will take every ounce of courage she has to overcome them. Moll must face her deepest fears whilst she, Siddy and Gryff embark on an adventure that will see them face goblins, witches and giants in the northern wilderness. Can they fight the curse of the Night Spinner and find the Amulet of Truth to bring light back to the land, when so many have already fallen under its spell?
Abi Elphinstone is most certainly a writer to watch. You can feel her own sense of adventure and wonder for the world right within the heart of her stories and this is an amazing gift to share with the children who read them. Totally absorbing with just the right level of scary, the fears and feelings within are something that all children will relate to. Through Moll, Gryff and their friends we learn the importance of friendship and learning from your mistakes, whilst being true to who you are and finding courage even in the very darkest of moments. A new adventure is promised from Abi in 2018 but in the meantime this trilogy is certainly one that will be returned to again and again.

Published by Simon and Schuster Childrens Books
Publication Date: 23rd February 2017

Reviewed originally for Lovereading4kids.

Adult Fiction

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

Wow! This is a cracking psychological thriller. Told in first person from two different viewpoints it causes you to question the reliability of both women. Smart, sensitive, talented Bo, always mothering, always looking to save someone and Alice, young, damaged and a drifter. The two meet at a writers retreat and a spark sets off an unexpected chain of events that will change the lives of both women. Alice is in awe of the successful author and in turn something in Alice’s writing captures Bo’s attention. The two embark on an intense, complex relationship which soon becomes obsessive and destructive. I was completely swept up in the brilliance of Sarah’s carefully constructed plot that had me constantly questioning the outcome and eagerly turning the page. The beautifully atmospheric setting of the Lake District and bustling, bohemian Brighton echo the different characters at the heart of this story. It was a chilling read, expertly crafted and difficult to put down.

Published by Orenda Books
Publication Date: 1st June 2107